Conversing about Corpses

by nike, January 22, 2015

Collaborative artwork (exquisite corpse?) by Mica Angela Hendricks and her four-year-old daughter, Myla.

This month, I was invited to participate in an online version of the Exquisite Cadaver parlour game, being hosted/published over at The Conversation.

I was #7 in a series of ten writers who participated. We each received an email with the preceding entries, and were given about 24 hours to write our 300 word contribution. At that stage, I had no idea who else was playing, or whose writing belonged to who: this was only revealed to us (and our readers) when the pieces were published.

As we (Dallas Baker, Jen Webb and I) discuss in our post-mortem:

This is a Surrealist’s game, remember, linearity and realistic storytelling were not of any interest to [the inventors of the game].

Still, it was an odd experience to receive the first few instalments, contribute my own and read the resulting full text. I don’t love it (at all, actually!) and this is partly because I’m a great fan, it turns out, of linearity and realism. Also, I’m personally not a big fan of war stories, about men, with references to classical male literature in them. Lovely young men going off to war while quoting/reading about Troy and Achilles, quoting Yeats. It’s not a story I can imagine myself choosing to write. But that’s part of the game: you get (and respond to/build on) what you get.

It’s no surprise to me that my own contribution brings us back to sunny Queensland.

And those last two instalments? (The ones I would subtitle, perhaps, ‘It was all a writing assignment’) … I have mixed feelings.

What do you think? 

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