Boston Book Festival: Our Exquisite Corpse

Thanks to everyone who braved the rain, wind and mini-tornadoes that hit Copley Plaza today for the Boston Book Festival.  A full write up will follow soon–but for now, below is the Exquisite Corpse that we made, with the help of many friendly Bostonians who contributed nouns, adjectives, and other wild words.

It was a dark and rainy Saturday at the Boston Book Festival and I was feeling ambivalent about my meeting with Cornel West. Suddenly, out of nowhere a tall dark stranger approached and said, “Please, I really need your help…just for one minute…well, maybe for more than a minute, maybe for you to help me access 1.2 million that was left in a bank account by my husband when he was imprisoned in Nigeria.” He was a scam artist but he was really good so I decided to pull out my neon-colored Sharpie to sketch his tiny wings, which I had somehow missed during our week-long pilates binge–and suddenly, there was a flash of light in the corner of my eye–it was super Cinderella in her polka dot raincoat! She was abducted by aliens…and probed! I felt a pit in my throat…was it anticipation of what they would think? Just then, a walrus fell out of the sky and expressed his severe displeasure with the outcome of his skydiving honeymoon, but  even more dissatisfied with his wife’s poor luck. And the children looked from below in awe. Friendship is priceless. Do not take them for granted. “Cherish” them like there is no tomorrow. Life is like an untouched rose petal never knowing where or when the petal may fall. Veins of courage and roots of wisdom are the answers to our questions or most of them all. “I’m here to see John Hodgman,” the walrus said, and then supercinderella said, “Me too! Let’s get married!” But then there was another blast of light and they ran to the tent to get out of the thunder and lightning, and found themselves under a rainbow. “Oh, what pretty colors!” they both exclaimed. The walrus gazed at Cinderella under the many colors of the rainbow and the setting sun. I walk away thinkin’, thinkin’, thinkin’…I think we need a pet! I’m here because I believe the pen is mightier than the sword! In my last life I could fly. I liked to squash blueberries with my large flipper feet. Sometimes, it got lonely, being the only flying human. But with stones in my pockets andwings glued to my sides I left the freedom of the skies behind to join a convent. There was no room at the convent, however, since Louise Erdrich had already populated it with her characters. These characters were angry nuns. Of course they were angry, being from outerspace and all…But they were definitely primed to mold impressionable minds. A vast vacuum with no air can do that to a person–make them devote their lives to either a bearded, bloody Jesus or a life of teaching. But their anger was a mere facade. One nun turned to the other and said, “We are most similar to the pig.” The other nun said, “Everyone is a cat.” The nun’s friend said, “We’re more closer to a cow.” And then we ate steamed sesame pastries and enjoyed the city in the rain. And then–because this is fiction–the rain stopped for the rest of the day. And we lived happily ever after–until Sahalini Pater exclaimed, “Why is All the King’s Horses such timely crap!?” Then W.T. tried a typewriter for the first time and said, “Where’s Nessie?” Then Pei-Ling arrived in her One Story T-Shirt and said, “It’s a good day to do what has to be done by me and live up to my One Story!” And somehow this solved the twenty-year mystery of what was so magical about my grandfather’s bathroom–that scent–of course–it was mildew all along. You see, it only takes one word, one sentence, one attempt. But it’s got to be good, and include purple and run like a salmon upstream. “I’d rather go to a candy store and get some Three Musketeers and a Milky Way.” The cat sat on the window sill, looking out into the ocean for the walrus to jump high in the sky over the moon, and the cradle rocked behind him. Suddenly, a big bang and from the invisible speakers they started playing “Dancing Queen” by ABBA and it seemed like everyone would live happly ever after. But then the music travelled across the ocean to Sweden and the South Africa, and we partied the night away like rockstars straight out of Hollywood!! But afterward, we remembered our debt at home and felt responsible. So we packed up our caravan and reluctantly began the long journey back. As we walked along one of us kicked a bottle and a poof of smoke arose. And what should appear but…a hamster! And he said, “I’ve been running for hours in this wheel and if I stop the lights of Timbuktu will go out! All of a sudden, the hamster collapsed, its little legs up in the air, its eyes blank. On cue, all of the lights went out. But I didn’t mind because I was tired and went to sleep. When I closed my eyes, I fell into a deep sleep and started to dream. The sound of ocean waves crashing filled the air.

2 thoughts on “Boston Book Festival: Our Exquisite Corpse

  1. Pingback: Boston Book Festival 2009 in Pictures « One Story blog

  2. Oh. Now I see. Right. The waves, not the walrus. OK. Uh-huh.

    Boston is a weird town.

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