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?