Thursday, October 26, 2006

And Why Am I Doing This?

A pattern has emerged. Twice this week, in the early hours of the morning, during the weird state between sleep and wakefulness, I have found myself trying to create sentences that don't contain the letter e. I have no idea why this is happening. I'm not perturbed with any of the people I know whose names begin with the letter e (my sister Erin, my nephew Eric). It's such a truly odd event that it really makes me contemplate how our brains work and why they sometimes don't seem to, or seem to have a mind of their own. Really. Of all the things to do before begrudgingly getting out of bed and getting ready for work, why craft sentences that ban one letter? I should point out that I never get very far in these sentences before I hit a point where the only word that will suffice is one that contains the dreaded letter. Then I get frustrated and start again.

There was a writer, George Perec, who wrote an entire novel A Void that does not contain the letter e. Perec believed in art as a sort of game. He would create arbitrary and difficult rules for his work, thinking that the true creative act came from working within the confines of these rules. After completing A Void, Perec did the only thing a true smart ass could: he wrote an entire short story in which the only vowel used is e. That's right: a coherent (thought that word didn't appear) short story without the letters a, i, o, or u.

Is it difficult to do?

To fashion a thought that says what you want to say but not tripping up on your individual ban of an important, if not mandatory, bit of information -- this is not child's play. If it wasn't difficult, I would float through many additional hours in my own land of nod during past mornings. But no. A task that cuts through sloppy thoughts, its origin in play, soon slips into compulsion and the gifts of your night's forty winks quickly vanish as said compulsion is paramount. So I'll stop now, a happy solution that acquits your's truly of this limiting task and may spawn much calm...until my alarm clock rings.

5 comments:

Bob Fingerman said...

You so crazy.

Carol said...

You are one of the most intelligent, articulate, well-read, funny and weird people I have ever had the pleasure to call a friend.

the hanged man said...

Bob - hopefully that's where the similarity between myself and Martin Lawrence ends.

Carol - Aw...thank you, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm rubber and you're glue, etc. etc.

Everyone notice that Bob is online at 4:14 in the morning?

Iva said...

Oh, John, you do have an original mind! Although I do have bizarre thoughts that frequently wake me up out of a sound sleep, or what I think is a sound sleep. When I become fully conscious of the thought, my immediate reaction is: "Where the hell did that come from?" Maybe it has something to do with the Gael in us. I think sometimes that Irish minds are just wired differently!
Mom

erin said...

Perhaps subconsciously your way of relaxing is to work on a task to make you feel productive . . . oh, my God . . . You're Mom!!!

Besides, I hope it's not that you are perturbed with any people whose names begin with E. Cause we E people are pretty cool.