While the readers — and writers — on this site are no strangers to a good time, even the heartiest of partiers can find themselves stranded in a rut caused by lack of novelty. We’ve all known the soul-crushing boredom that results from having the same conversation with the same people in the same place again. It can transform one’s imbibing from recreational to medicinal. We can all use a shake-up every now and then, and it often seems that the best way forward can be found by reaching back.
The next time your good times are more boring than blaring, why not introduce an Exquisite Corpse?
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.
Here are the ground rules my tong has adopted for our diabolical creations:
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.
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