A long story/novella about an early protohuman tribe that invents spoken language. The language is viewed primarily as a device akin to a kind of post-singularity technology. Language arises only after it is demonstrated that using language empowers the user. The first protohuman to use it rises quickly to power. The few people that make it are making it up as they go along. The very presence of apparent order is enough to make them feared, even though there are wild inconsistencies in the sounds they make.
An autobiography of an ordinary citizen is presented in a ten year history of their YouTube comments, likes, favorites, dates of subscription and watch history. It starts at age 15 where the comments are highly volitile and reactionary through the college years of psuedointellectualism to the maturing mid 20s when the subject gets married and starts favoriting cute baby videos and talking about how the kid is reminiscent of theirs.
The writer of #001 writes a prefatory dedication page to all the people he wishes to thank. The dedication’s range from people who will never read the book to close personal friends. They include inside jokes, personal notes and humor borne out of the writer’s sheer honesty.
To Nathaniel Hawthorne, who decided to go out and make something of himself and was so successful that I ended up with his name.
To my parents, there is sex in this book. And locker room humor. And characters who voted for Obama. It’s still pretty good though. Probably.
To Jeff. Is now a bad time to ask if I can be the godfather?
To Robert Zimmerman, here is your throat back. Thanks for the loan.
To my sister, who doesn’t like “stories that are sad,” I nevertheless dedicate this to you.
A writer is told to revisit old text message conversations. One is with a former S.O. The other is a fellow writer. The third is with a parent or sibling. The author must annotate all his conversations with the exformation.
Exformation can include nearly anything that is not mentioned. For every winky face, emoticon and exclamation mark he sent to his former S.O. he must explicate the intentions behind it as specifically as possible. When he speaks vaguely to his writer friend about “it” he must explain “it” is a book and detail what the book is about as well as the apprehensive mood of the writer friend and what circumstances lead to the writer friend being so apprehensive as to not even mention the book by title. When he speaks to his parent or sibling (provided he has one) he must explain why the punctuation is much more correct than his other two, and why all the communication sounds like a dry business conversation. The annotations are collected and presented in a series of lectures/open readings and presentations. At the end of the presentation, the writer takes questions.
An author records an audiobook of his and then feeds it into a Siri-like voice recognition software. The result is read by another author with a different accent and is fed into the same voice recognition software. The result is published as a free e-book.
Novels. An American calque on Tacitus’ Histories and Annals. The books correspond with the years in which Tacitus recorded (14-68 A.D.). The “Annals" begins at the start of WWI in 1914 to the heights of the Apollo program and Vietnam War in 1968. The Histories (69-96) volume would then take place from the Moon landing through the second election of Bill Clinton as President, arguably the “height” of the American Empire, having come out of the Cold War and in the midst of an economic boom. The supposed “writing” of the book takes place in the year 2016 ff. The novel often mythologizes or mixes facts about major twentieth century figures and events.
Ex. A biased Kennedy Assassination theory. The “author” chooses one of the theories behind Kennedy’s assassination without presenting the alternatives in any kind of major detail. Only a whimsical judgment on the Warren Report.
Ex. Mythology of Al Capone. The “author” clearly lampoons the movie The Untouchables to be completely historically accurate. He paints an intimate rivalry between Elliot Ness and Al Capone, though the two men likely barely met and provides a court “transcript” that is really a verbatim portion of the movie script.
Ex. Myth that Ronald Reagan never raised taxes. The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 was, at the time, the largest peacetime tax increase in U.S. history.
A TV station runs promos advertising a new miniseries based on Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. One promo is two tramps waiting at a bus stop. When the bus arrives they do not get on. Another shows the two tramps at a shoe store unable to decide who should try on a pair of boots first. A third depicts the two tramps backstage at a talkshow broadcast on the same network. A show runner comes in and tells the two men they’ve been bumped. The tagline in every promo is, “Coming Soon to [network].” The show never airs. The promos run continuously for years.
At random, pages of the Bible are ripped out and reorganized in blackout poetry. The resulting poetry retells the creation story, the beginning of the Bible, in slightly different phrasing and in a totally new geometry.
A writer is told to rewrite five scenes from his earliest novel from memory. A starting point and an endpoint is given. The writer must be at least twenty years removed from said novel. The results are then compared to the originals. The writer’s voice has changed, is slightly more reserved and economical, but lacks a certain passionate vulnerability.
Short Film. Two minutes of a fixed shot on a coffee shop. There are two baristas working and twelve patrons. They sit and chat with each other, on their phones, give their orders, flick their iPads all the while some music plays overhead. The sound is undiffentiated and it is hard to isolate voices for more than a half-second. Each patron is then revisited in the two minute span that just passed. A group of college students discusses midterms. The baristas discuss shift changes while taking and making orders. A man talks on the phone with his ex-wife while in line. Film is complete once all characters have been visited.