Drooling on the Pillow

Friday, March 10, 2006

Why Not? 

I think I was in the ninth grade when I bet a friend I could write one hundred pages about opening a door. I don't know why I did that or what would have been demonstrated by winning my bet, but I gave up after, I think, twenty-two pages. Of course the fool never set a time limit so that five bucks is still out there waiting for me.

I've been watching the first season of The Wire recently and came upon a scene I'm almost certain is the result of a bar bet. It's where Jimmy McNulty and his partner Bunk are reinvestigating a crime scene that may enable them to connect a murder weapon to Avon Barksdale. The way I see it, David Simon bet Ed Burns he could write a scene with extensive dialogue in which every single word is f**k or a version of the word f**k.

He succeeded brilliantly. It's a great scene, though the gag does kind of get in the way. It's funny, then you get it and it's even funnier, then you start counting the variations on the word and you lose track of the scene, which, from an action point of view, is really terrific.

For the ultimate in trick writing, here's a link at which you can read the whole book, Gadsby, a novel of 50,000 words that does not once use the letter "e". In the Introduction, the author, Ernest Vincent Wright, amusingly relates the problems his task presented and the sometimes hostile reactions he has received, but never discusses what most people would like to know.

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