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How Life Works: Sandwiched by Spam

December 10, 2011

Over at Life in Scribbletown, Freshhell has invented a new genre, one that I wanted to try–writing with spam comments intervening between thoughts.

If you’re already a blogger, all you’ve got to do to join is retrieve the last dozen or so comments from your spam filter, cut them and arrange them in an order you like, and then write things that go with them.  Usually I don’t put my own “creative writing” on this blog, but I decided to share it–partly because I liked the way it came out, and partly so you could see how it’s done and maybe have a chance to try writing one of your own.

I wanted to try this from the first time I saw Freshhell do it, but yesterday’s post gave me a title: How Life Works.  And here it is:

How Life Works: Sandwiched by Spam
Writing is an adventure.

My father once made an entire series of postcards that he pretended had been mutilated by animals before they reached me. One was so realistic, the Post Office put it in a special damage envelope (it had been “clawed by a tiger”).

Let’s all crowdsource a strange play about the week that Jeffrey Eugenides & David Foster Wallace spent together in Italy.

When I’m in a crowd and can see over everyone’s heads, I think of my father, who was sometimes called the “shorter grandfather” of my two children, telling me what it was like to be a tall American soldier when in Japan during the American occupation after World War II. I have a teapot he brought back, and a pearl necklace, and I can still touch these things even though he is gone.

such as you learn my mind! You seem to grasp so much approximately this

My father was my calmer parent– the one we went to if there was blood, the croquet partner who would merely look dreamily towards the mulberry tree if you missed a shot.

This is pointless, why am I even reading it and not enjoying ? I should learn to spend my time better.

My mother and I spent the penultimate night of my father’s life talking and listening to his breaths. I was afraid that the sound would cease in the dark, so I got up before dawn and tried to run home.

It’s the best time to make a few plans for the long run and it is time to be happy

We stayed at the Watergate Hotel, sat in the back at the Kennedy Center, heard about the men’s room at the Barbicon, saw plays at the Eugene O’Neill, had the all-you-can-eat-tea at the Savoy, posed with sculptures outside the Hirschhorn, and spilled champagne on the floor at the Ritz.

you will NOT get the traffic

The way my father taught me to change a tire: get out of the car in your suit and tie and find a phone to call Triple A. Then stand by the side of the road and chat about what you’ve read while the guy who came out changes the tire. Thank him profusely.

out of pocket expenses

I never paid for anything when I went anywhere with my dad. He once spent a whole morning in London on the telephone making arrangements for theater tickets while the rest of us took the children to a museum.

silly mind control techniques

Sometimes my father would say he’d had a premonition, and tell us all what it was, but then he’d laugh and say they never came true. It was almost like a guarantee of blue skies, to hear he’d dreamed of black clouds.

all white hat

I had a brass bowl with a peacock on it sitting on the dresser in my bedroom. My father would sneak in occasionally and put a quarter in it, telling me that the bowl made them. He would run errands for my grandmother, and when she tried to pay him back for the things he’d purchased, he’d say airily, “oh, it was free today.”

Get this stuff. It really works

My father taught me to save cardboard boxes, how to do hand lettering, and why it was good to accumulate jewels for my crown in heaven.

Okay post, but not the best Ive seen exactly. You should step it up or glutenfri gulrotkake will eat your position

I have the rest of my life to try to get on the professional Rage circuit. I have faith that there is one.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2011 8:51 am

    And let me just add: my spam was cut and pasted verbatim. Each post contained one spam message in it’s entirety as written. I edited nothing. Which is not to say one can’t get creative with it but….I like how the randomness works somehow.

    • December 10, 2011 9:48 am

      I didn’t paste verbatim mostly because of the long come-on message from google something which promised more traffic and all white hat software. It’s better cut.

      • freshhell permalink
        December 10, 2011 12:52 pm

        I trust your judgment. Mine fortunately didn’t have anything I needed to cut which is why I liked them so much. 🙂

  2. December 10, 2011 9:07 am

    That’s lovely, Jeanne. And an excellent genre! Your father sounds like such a wonderful person. Can I ask how he managed to make the postcard look like a tiger had mauled it? What sort of tools did he use?

    • December 10, 2011 9:50 am

      He used scissors and then tore it.

      • December 11, 2011 9:44 am

        Out smarting the post office sounds like one of his many fine achievements.

        • December 11, 2011 10:04 pm

          The outsmarting was inadvertent, in that case. But yes, he enjoyed doing things with us like facing the back of the elevator, to freak people out.

  3. December 10, 2011 9:14 pm

    Oh this was wonderful … a touching tribute to your father (amazing how much I was able to learn about him) and then the spam fit in a a wonderfully weird and fitting way. I’m going to have to try this! Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. December 11, 2011 2:52 pm

    I love your father’s tire-changing methodology! Sounds like my kind of guy.

  5. December 12, 2011 2:41 pm

    I have to say your dad sounds like an amazing man. I’m glad to have read about him —

    • December 13, 2011 7:36 am

      As I’ve recently noted, that’s one of the right things to say!

  6. December 14, 2011 12:17 pm

    This is great! And you purposely dwindled the quantity of spam words, yes?

    I can’t even bear to open my spam filter – utterly disgusting. if I was at a job I could be fired for what gets caught in that trap. It saddens me.

  7. December 14, 2011 1:47 pm

    The spam words were all there; I just cut some of the ad. Mostly I did that because I figured everyone gets the same kinds of ads, about how to “increase traffic to your site” and whatnot.

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