In this week’s episode, I interview the verse novelist Holly Thompson,
Plus Laryssa Wirstiuk writes about how Jonathan Saffron Foer’s Eating Animals changed her life.
Check out Functionally Literate Radio, which on the latest episode features my essay, “I Heart Smokey and the Bandit.”
From the Facebook page of Bob Lamb (episode 40), in regard to his informal “Worst First Sentence of a Bad Novel Contest”:
Okay, final verdict is in. First place–John King, although one of the judges worried that it was so funny that it could be used as the first sentence of a comic masterpiece rather than a bad novel. Yet, its originality, the sudden twists and turns of inspired lunacy, and the supermarket imagery cleverly woven into a surreal scene so impressed the judges that it really was no contest. Second place went to Steve Edwards–his economy, precision, and repetition of really bad metaphors obviously made his entry a powerful one, and the final metaphor of the peach pit as a tiny wooden brain had a certain je ne sais quois that evoked a peal of delightful revulsion. Third place went to Bob Lamb–although an unoriginal mockery of standard noir detective fiction a la Hammett, the judges felt that it’s his goddamned contest and he ought to get some sort of a prize, especially given his fragile psyche and penchant for violence. The judges also awarded a distinguished parody prize to Eric Link for his brilliant satire of Hemingway writing a zombie novel. Although not technically a bad first sentence of a bad novel, and even though the judges could see this turning into a great parody of Hemingway and zombie fiction, they felt it was more appropriate for the old “Bad Hemingway” contest that used to run annually. Another entry, by Elizabeth Stuckey-French, was simply way too interesting and good to fit a bad first sentence contest. This often occurs when a real writer tries to write a bad sentence–their talent turns it into a sentence with potential. The judges found themselves wanting to read more, which is always a sign that your first sentence is not truly bad. The gutless wonder award goes to Mike Cocchiarale, who caused Bob Lamb to write concluding sentences to his bad novel, and then did not even participate. The judges felt that although Mr. Cocchiarale is an avid sports fan from Cleveland, and thus hopelessly trapped in a world of pain and confusion, he should have at least tried and failed, not unlike his beloved Browns. Lou Hickman and Tim Reynolds have been disqualified for cheating, and have received a five-year ban from participating in the contest. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Kip Robisch, for his disruptive actions on this thread, and we expect to have him in custody shortly. We are working with law enforcement and immigration to have him deported.
And here was my winning entry:
When the were-pigs, gibbering in their porcine poetry and slapping the ground with their by-now clawed hooves, overran the supermarket, heaving their fleshy forms over the aisles of Cel-Ray sodas and bread and chick-peas, Clem knew that he better put down his inventory forms and drag the crossbow out of the safe again, but an icy sliver of revulsion, fear, and longing penetrated his spine, and he stood in front of the office window, watching the sounder below careen over the black and white tiles, demolishing the glass doors of the frozen food aisles, before their leader jumped onto the conveyor belt of check out line #7, and stared directly at him with wolf-like eyes, as if the giant porker was preparing to speak.