Tuesday, December 02, 2008

#7 Bad Idea: Nonemto

A man wakes up one day in a world almost exactly the same as ours - but all the n's and m's are reversed. In this world, Dicken's most famous book is about cutlery, Mamma Mia is totally ruined, and 'anemone' is routinely mispronounced so that most people actually say the word correctly. It drives him mad. Which is to say, nad. As a final insult, the doctors pronounce hin imsame amd innure hin im a nadhouse.

In order to stave off the creeping despair at being stuck in an asylun in what is plainly the most ridiculous of all possible worlds, he begins to compile a dictionary of mn-less words. From that dictionary he embarks on a memoir (which he can confidently call an autobiography) that he secretly hopes will build a door back into the world he knew. He works on it for months, scribbling away into the night, carefully avoiding every alphabetically offensive word. Finally he reaches the end, but on the very last page he screws up and writes "THE EMD" in huge caps. "Danmit!" he shouts, but his book becomes a bestselling fantasy novel after the publisher puts a picture of a woman in a metal bikini on the cover.


You can call me, 'Sir' said...

You mind is a frightening landscape of short-story fodder. You should either seek shock-therapy or start writing novels.

Black Hockey Jesus said...

That was sweet.

Do you know Perec's novel without the "E"? Awesome.

palinode said...

'sir' - My mind is certainly a frightening landscape, I'll give you that.

bhjesus - Un Disparition. The English translation was called A Void. I've wanted to read it but have never seen a copy, and it strikes as the kind of thing that you find all serendipitious-like. Ordering it would kill the magic.

Perec also wrote a novel called Les Revenents, in which the only vowel used was 'e'.

There's an issue of Granta Magazine on food which features Perec's summary of everything he ever ate in his life. The last entry is 'n coffees'.

Chris said...

You are to writing what M. C. Escher was to art.

Black Hockey Jesus said...

I started reading it but it was maddening because you couldn't help but search for an e. So you're all conscious at the letter level and then you had to re-build the words and it was kindergarten all over again. But I remember the protagonist had an uneasy sense that something was missing. Yeah. The fucking E, Sherlock!

Perec also smoked too much. Don't smoke, Palinode.

palinode said...

bhjesus - Me smoke? I quit the smoking business in August 2000.

Friday said...

Perec! Do you know how bloody long I searched for that Granta piece online the other month so that I could remember the author's name? So long, I can't even remember why it was important to me at the time! I loved that piece.

I do wish you knew the difference (beef-erance) between a short story and a bad idea. If I could write fiction like you, I'd be submitting my stuff to publishers stat.

Anonymous said...

I like netal bikimis