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Sigma Tau Delta's "Exquisite Corpse"

Sigma Tau Delta Celebrates National Novel Writing MonthOn Tuesday, November 12th,  Sigma Tau Delta celebrated National Novel Writing Month by inviting students and faculty to help them write a novel “in a day.”   National Novel Writing Month is an annual event that encourages everyone to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.  Sigma Tau Delta gave UTK students and faculty the opportunity to participate in this challenge by writing a novel via an “exquisite corpse”– a parlor game popular with the Surrealists, where each writer adds a line to the communally created work.  The rules of the game prohibit a writer from reading any line other than the one immediately preceding his/her own.  Additional photos of the event are available on the Department’s Flickr page. The following is the novel created by this event :

Sigma Tau Delta Exquisite Corpse November, 2013

“Imagine us together in Paris riding a tandem bike, wearing berets, sharing a baguette, staring at French art…” thought Elijah. A man with a silver-handled cane and old-fashioned sideburns was standing next to him on the bridge. Contemplating his life and what it is worth. It is through self-evaluation and personal validation that he came to find himself chanting, “Pugna Vestri Everto,” or “Fight off your demons.” Dreams of Le Conte buffeting winds like sandpaper upon virgin skin. He didn’t want to be there, but there’s no escape.

The peaks reached into the ionosphere, he could feel himself battered by radio waves. The radio waves changed to radioactive particles. The particles dispersed in the air and settled in the pores of all who stood there. The Earth began to shake beneath their feet, sending them crashing to the ground.

And then the monsters came—gnashing their teeth in hunger and fury. The gnashing rose in timbre and Helen rose from the ash heaps by the road—rose from the primordial decay of past death and hints of future death—and slew them with her screams. They echoed out over the hills outside her townhouse and were silently buried underneath the snow. But not before they screamed in anguish, calling out for help to no one.

“Give no chance to a man or irrelevance. For he is irrelevant,” Cecil said.

“Huh?! Whatever!”

“No, seriously—the easiest way to sleep at night is to call on believing that I do not exist #YOLO!”

Which is defined as, “You only lack originality.”

“I don’t lack originality, I’ve got it coming out of my…  ying yang.”

The panda I adopted last summer—I was forced to leave him in a small bamboo thicket north of Shanghai, but I can’t forget him. But I digress. I was hearing the voices and screaming again, and it was driving me mad. And then he turns and quotes Rhett Butler, saying, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

She had never seen the film and was frankly astonished by his use of language. Growing up in a southern port city, she had heard all the curse words under the sun and not hearing one every other word was strange. So to create a balance to the stark difference, she muttered one simple word under her breath: “shit.”

Then she ran.

Then she tripped.

Her body hit the hard ground as her balance failed underneath her. She slid for a few feet and came to an abrupt stop in a puddle. Covered in mud from head to toe, she began crying her eyes out. Her ankle hurt and she was sure it was broken. She wondered why she got hurt before the World Cup. So she went to the doctor to have her ankle examined. And was left in the waiting room for 3 hours.

The room was so cold, that frost webs crawled over the tiles and her breath froze in her nostrils. As her breath also began to freeze in her throat, she struggled for breath, and slowly began blacking out—but just as she saw the walls closing down on her, squeezing out light and life, she remembered the insulated cup of hot Starbucks coffee in her backpack; she reached for her bag, now desperate for the salvific hot liquid…. Unfortunately, all the coffee had spilled out of the cup in her backpack, ruining her school things and leaving her desperate. This was but the first in a long line of first-world tragedies that would afflict her over the course of the school day. This semester had been just as bad. For example, every class with a Jim had been in a gym, and with a Paul was appalling, and all the cute people of a certain gender had been eaten by aliens. But we learned to love those who were ‘ugly’ and we began the war against the aliens.

The President saw it on the news and looked down solemnly.

“It’s spooky outside,” she whispered.

“But isn’t it spooky to hide in here?” I asked. She glared at me, and then laughed. We kissed instead. However, we were interrupted by the Cthulu sashaying through the window. We called for help, but no one came—we were left to defend ourselves. Using only the supplies we had on hand, we fashioned weapons to fight our enemy. The blacksmith proved to be most useful, despite the others’ doubts. Have faith in specialists; they are titled that for a reason.

She smiled, swallowing the desire to laugh at the idea that she seek the council of authority figures. I loved and lost, but my love for you will never die.

It was cold. But their emotions were keeping them warm from the ice-cold blizzard in Antarctica where they hid from ice dragons. They emerged as beautiful unicorns adorned with all of the Peruvian gold they could carry. And then one of them fell off their horse and when he hit the ground his hair turned a majestic color of purple. The purple hue of his hair acted as a beacon for the townspeople of Magesmania, who rose up and charged into the battle of their fathers. The townspeople of Magesmania fought with all their might and sadly lost the 12-year war against their fathers.

Although they lost the 12-year war against their fathers, they still had faith to fight for the upcoming year when they would be able to grow stronger with more recruits.

It was going to be a long winter.

However, why not? It is what is needed—a time of rest, a time to lie down, and time to just be. Without the incubation process, I’d never be able to move forward. But move forward I finally did, without even a backward glance. Today is the day I’ll make my change. As the cold winter wind blows upon my face, I feel the change is for the better. The days of autumn and my former self came to pass. Winter is here and I’m ready for spring.

Dashing through the snow, over the hills we go. And breaking through the ice of the pond she fell—and Helen—oh Helen of ashes, rise!—and the water swallowed her body and her breath was crushed beneath the interminable weight of freezing darkness; but there was a glimmer on the surface. That glimmer held her there, suspended in the water, her mind frozen—no other thoughts, just the feeling of that glimmer pulling. Taking into a state of pure subconscious, completely bare and numb.

The bear huddled deeper into his cave, trying to find what little warmth he could. A deer and a rabbit then entered the cave and helped the bear build a fire. To warm their fur coats from falling into the cold pond, they also grabbed their earmuffs and killed all of the city’s local kitties. Then they turned the kitty fur into more earmuffs and sold them to raise money for the local animal shelter. PETA was still pissed, however, due to the mass genocide of lovable household pets.

“I don’t approve of genocide,” said John. He looked outside and wished people were nicer to animals—and other people—as a few men ran down the street in the pouring rain; it was a miserable day. He stopped in front of a sandwich shop, next to a man smoking under an over-sized umbrella. He asked if he could have a cig and asked his name.

“My name is Gertrude,” she replied, “and I only smoke cigars.”

“Well, then,” he said with a noxious smirk, “you must try one of my Montecristos.”

And once I remembered a girl named Shelley who muttered and mumbled strangely rapid phrases. She stole my heart and it all began in Paris…

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