Thursday, July 31, 2008

Timewasting - part 58

Found some "fun" writing tips in an old magazine yesterday. One was to pick some books off your shelves at random and copy out a sentence from each one, until you have an "amusing" passage to play with (matron.) Like that party game where everyone adds a sentence to a story until it all goes pear-shaped and someone starts crying.

Ooh, I thought. I've got nothing to do today apart from working, shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, dog-walking, lawn-mowing, preparing the house for a family visit this weekend (including the redecoration of an entire bedroom ), shave my legs, wax my 'tache, lose ten pounds, negotiate the lowering of fuel prices with the Prime Minister before supper and - oh yes...do some writing - so I think I'll give it a go. Never let it be said I haven't got my priorities in order. Not within earshot, at least.

Anyway, this was the result:-

"It seemed to have completely escaped Mick Farley's notice that it was Harold Farley, his father, who had died.
'Who is that gentleman on horseback?' said she as they proceeded - speaking more to assist Mr Weston in keeping his secret, than with any other view.
He thought of the big man he and Stonewall had found, hung like a donkey, skin so white, dead like his attributes.
'Nicking some kindling,' he called. 'Don't want to freeze tonight, do we?'
When I think about it now, I think that our eagerness to assimilate the horrors and our desire to make everyone else aware of them was in fact repulsive.
In the hallway, someone's being sick and Dorothy, also ravaged by drink by now but still immensely practical, gets the vacuum cleaner out and starts hoovering up the vomit.
'I'd like one of those,' I told him."

Hmmm. So was it a useful exercise? Well, seeing me frowning busily surrounded by books the Teens have mowed the lawn and done some housework for me, so in a word, yes!

I was going to turn this into a Meme, but came to my senses in the nick of time. I am offering a million pounds though, to anyone who can tell me which books those lines came from...

21 comments:

Yvonne said...

You got me - I have no idea where that passage comes from. Nice idea, I can never have enough timewasting tips! (Loved the 'matron' ;)

Annie Bright said...

Please, please tell me title of the one about Dorothy vacuuming up the vomit!! :-)

Dumdad said...

Haven't got a clue!

HelenMH said...

That's priceless! And if it got you out of the housework it was well worth it!

TOM FOOLERY said...

"He thought of the big man he and Stonewall had found, hung like a donkey....

OMG! Dare I ask what book this passage is from? Ding Dong ;-) Tommox

Ernest de Cugnac said...

Your money is safe with me karen. I have to say the ambiguity of "hung like a donkey" escaped me until tom foolery picked it up (hmm, nice bit of unconscious double attendre there).

How language changes. This was in HG Wells' "Ann Veronica" I think, and was completely innocent at the time:

"Her husband followed her from the room, ejaculating".

KAREN said...

yvonne - Too much timewasting goes on in these quarters. I need to take control, immediately!

annie bright - Oh alright then. It's from Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson, and it made me want to read the book again :o)

dumdad - Nor should you. It was quite an eclectic mix, but I did put away the Enid Blyton book.

helenmh - My sentiments exactly!

tommo - Tut. Trust you to notice that one. It was actually from a Frances Fyfield novel, Perfectly Pure and Good believe it or not. I can't even remember reading that one.

ernest - Lol. Dearie, dearie me. You couldn't get away that these days - not in an innocent way.

SpiralSkies said...

Oh, hoovering up vomit conjures up an awful but great image! I must read more Kate Atkinson - I'd forgotten how good she is. Am feeling a little weak at Ernest's comment. Ejaculation before breakfast. Only on this blog ;0)

X

Honeysuckle said...

This would be a great exercise to try with the recalcitrant teenage learners - some of them love the idea of writing stories even tho' their literacy skills aren't great. As long as I include a few books with a smattering of ejaculation and vomit, they'll be right at home. Thanks for an entertaining lesson plan!

Fionnuala said...

What a fab blog! I'm going to do this but I fear I wont have the intersteing books that you have to hand! Fx

Lane said...

You mean hoovering vomit isn't normal?

Now I spent ages working out where these passages came from, thinking I was going to win a million pounds and now you've told the answers. How's a girl supposed to procrastinate properly nowadays?:-)

Denise said...

There was me thinking I was a procrastination expert and you go and find an entirely new way for me to waste my life! I fear I'm not at your level yet, must try harder, or perhaps not in this case??? Very confused now.

So did you get the fuel prices sorted?

Debs said...

I haven't got an earthly clue, which is a shame because I could do with a million dollars right now.

It did make me laugh though. I'm sure if I did this, my two would simply enjoy the peace and it wouldn't occur to anyone to mow the lawn.

Cait O'Connor said...

Haven't a clue about any of those lines but what a great idea!
Great blogs Karen (I have just been catching up).

Tam said...

Is it a million in cash, Karen? I'll be a multi-millionaire before I know it as a nice man from Nigeria emailed me telling me he had a million dollars for me the other day. I thought it was very good of him to let me know, a less honest person would have just pocketed it.

PatP said...

Great post, Karen
Gave me such a lol the sheep came to see what was up!

Fiona said...

You have teens who'll mow the lawn? I am beside myself with jealousy.

I'm with Tom Foolery on this one ...

KAREN said...

mrs c - feel a bit queasy m'self...

honeysuckle - It is quite a good idea actually - could lead to something interesting!

fionnuala - I must confess I bypassed the classics :o)

lane - I've never tried it - and probably won't!

I thought I'd better give the answers in case someone actually DID know them - although I think the last line could have come from anywhere!

denise - I shall be better known for my procrastinating than my writing at this rate! Fuel prices did come down a couple of pee, I hope you noticed....

debs - Mowing the lawn is a novelty at the moment - big petrol mower etc. I'm sure it'll wear off, but I'm not complaining in the meantime!

Thanks, Cait! I'll be popping over to yours as soon as get a minute :o)

tam - Ooh, I've had a few of those kinds of emails! Makes a change from the pretend bank ones telling me I need to 'update my information online.'

patp - We have sheep in a nearby field and I CAN'T BELIEVE how noisy they are!

fiona - They usually ask if I'll pay them afterwards, though! Even though they know the answer...

wordtryst said...

Didn't have a clue, but I must say your to-do list had me in stitches. It looks so much like mine!

A lovely company in Spain e-mailed me last week about my e-mail address winning some sort of Lotto for 2.5 million euros, then two days later I won more millions in a Microsoft lottery.

Isn't that great luck? Now all I need to do is e-mail them back a bit of personal info...

womagwriter said...

These lines all came from Karen Clarke's books.

Can I have my million quid now, please?

KAREN said...

wordtryst - Yes I keep winning millions as well, which is why I was trying to give some away :o)

womagwriter - Gulp. Technically you're right. I'd better get m'self down the bank...

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