As our our post-title implies, this entry will be an “exquisite corpse”.
The Wiki-Wik has a pretty good take on this process:
Exquisite corpse (also known as exquisite cadaver or rotating corpse) is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g. “The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun“) or by being allowed to see the end of what the previous person contributed.
The technique was invented by Surrealists and is similar to an old parlour game called Consequences in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal part of the writing, and then pass it to the next player for a further contribution. Surrealism principal founder André Breton reported that it started in fun, but became playful and eventually enriching. Breton said the diversion started about 1925, but Pierre Reverdy wrote that it started much earlier, at least before 1918.
About a week ago, two of my co-conspirators – Melinda Ann Baker (Writer/Femme Fatale) and Duncan McDaniel (Painter/Junior Werewolf) stopped by my Parisian flat as they are wont to do when the sky goes dark and their lips are parched for lack of alcohol and refined conversation. We welcome plenty of both at this, the House of Dreams.
I’m not sure how it all got started, but I will give Melinda the credit as I believe she was the one to first mention the desire to “play a game”. I nearly busted out the Crowley Tarot before she spoke the unspeakable name of the corpse.
What has developed since then is an ongoing-good-time as well as an ambitious, evolving, long-term-plan to create a number of writings to eventually be compiled in what we hope will be a published volume. However, even a Surrealist prospers from a few guidelines.
This is a good recipe for a corpse – exquisite or otherwise:
1. Open your third eye and seek out a nearby text. Any book, magazine, flyer, poster, website – perhaps this luminous scroll? – will do.
2. Find a random passage and copy a found sentence onto a piece of paper.
3. Pass the paper from comrade to comrade in any way that seems to fit the mood.
4. Each person generally writes one sentence. Feel free to write sentence fragments, letting your co-conspirators finish your thoughts.
5. Before you pass to the next writer, fold the paper back so that the only part of the text they can see is your most recent contribution. The sentence you responded to is hidden from the next writer who is only allowed to see what you have just written.
6. Write quickly. Don’t think too much. This is an exercise in the irrational. Attempt to be perfectly imperfect, Grasshopper.
For your enjoyment, here is one of our latest greatest corpses:
“This is a very powerful misconception – that American fashion is just blue jeans and sportswear and not creative,” said Valerie, director of The House of Gauche: a French fashion firm that specialized in the violent and the shocking. “The House”, as the local benefactors called it, had a back room. In it was a tiny record player and a chaise lounge – their seat of overindulgence and – sometimes – missionary sex. In Ancient Rome, during the Festival of Pan, the women wore flowers in their fur. In those days women were easy to talk into almost anything a man could imagine. Ahhhh…I look back on them with utter disgust; women have no business suckin’ my junk…unless I’m harder than a chiseled obelisk. In Ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh took his leave as the slaves on the plateau raised the question, “Am I God?”.