Okay. Gotta do this. No backing down now. Normal wisdom says it won’t work. A blog post, missing … um … with this proviso, could I still do this? Can I post a thousand words in a blog without any shortcuts, any configurations, only applying diction with a non-consonant missing? Tough. Mighty tough. But I will try.
In fact, you try it. Say six words, without that D-to-F cravat in your diction. It trips you up. Your words lack conjugation and flow, zigzagging around, if you must, to avoid saying it. Now try a thousand words. That’s right – I said a thousand words.
Typing my post this way is not only difficult, I also must guard my craft into normalcy, without sounding clunky.
It’s visiting Wunsapana Farm and you bring straw and hay to big Martini and Miss Chip and Tank, and that’s it.
It’s watching a UFC fight with my blog buddy Mr. Marshall and watching Mirko Cro Cop and Tito Ortiz in Octagon-bound action. And that’s it.
With this proviso, Amanda Talar could visit Saratoga in August, but couldn’t ask a famous author of an HBO-bound TV drama for an autograph.
Kristi Gustafson could do a “Caption This” post, but again that’s a stifling limit to a tricky grammatic gymnastic post such as this.
So my proposal stands. A thousand words. It’s a task for a grammatical champion. Or possibly a man with too much ambition and no limit of chutzpah.
Lipograms consist of grammatical limitations – try this out. “Mary had a pygmy lamb…” or “Twas twlight of Christmas, and all through my room, stars sat a-twinkling, no sound of dark gloom…”
My old typing skills might now sound as such: “Your quick brown fox jumps my lazy dog.” Distinct, not colloquial – and kinda salacious, too.
A thousand words is tough. Try writing a long story. That was so – in 1929, with “Gadsby,” a fictional work missing that non-consonant you can’t find in today’s blog post. A similar work, “A Void,” is a lipogrammic story similar to what you scan now – but in Français. Wow.
If works from famous plays got lipogrammatical – such a actor’s soliloquy could sound as: “Am I, or am I not, that’s a big conundrum.” Or… “Buds, Romans, folks, dig what I’m saying, brah…”
If “To Kill a Mockingbird” was a lipogram… “Tom Robinson ain’t guilty, Atticus shot a dog.”
God, what would a lipogram do to song lyrics? What would a Lady Gaga song morph into? “Can’t play my – can’t play my – You can not play Canasta or Whist…”
An optimal band for a lipogram? Lynyrd Skynyrd. (long guitar solo) “If I go in a day now (guitar solo) would you still think of us two?”
I know a foamy alcoholic drink from long ago with a catchy song… in a lipogrammic world, that drink might not drown a thirst as cool as Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. And you can’t go for any gusto.
Want lunch? A tasty sandwich at Subway or Quizno’s would hit that spot. Yum. You could nosh on poultry at K-Fry or at Chic-fil-A (but not on Sunday). A Big Mac at McDonald’s would pack on a ton of pounds, but a lipogrammic Big Mac would consist of only onions on a bun – and just a plain bun at that.
I got to my halfway point. Halfway to a thousand words.
I thought about posting a status of “What’s missing from this status? Find out on my blog tomorrow.” But I think any soul spotting that status link might think what’s truly missing from my status is my sanity.
Our blog boss is probably scanning this post right now, looking for that topsy-turvy schwa. “I know you snuck it in, Chuck.” Sorry, boss. Four non-consonants, that’s it. And don’t count “Y”.
I could turn on my radio for an inning or two, and grin, knowing that audiophonic pollution of “It is high, It is far, it is – ” Sorry, John. Actually, I’m not sorry. Guy sounds about as painful as a contralto with laryngitis. And that’s if I had to pick against him or Suzyn Waldman, who’s just as harsh.
I could grab my photography tools and go out for a photo shoot, using my Nikon D700 for a quick snapshot around Albany. My Nikkormat FTn still has about six shots to go, I could pop off a batch of snapshots and ship that roll off to Kansas. Fifty days to go, and on January 1 that film will just sit on my display as a nicknack. So I gotta haul butt on that front. Who knows – a photo from this roll could win at Altamont. I want a big frilly ribbon at Altamont – although I own four ribbons from my prior photo shoots – star trails and polar panoramas and split film tricks – I’m still a nasty oh-for-all at Altamont. And that’s not fair.
I got up this morning. Logging in, starting a QRANK trivia match, got almost all of my picks right, missing only two. Including not knowing that San Francisco Giants star Brian Wilson – no, not a vocalist who sang “409” and “Good Vibrations” – wants immortality in a crossword. As a “down,” not as an “across.” Did not know that. If it works for him, okay. It didn’t work for your man Chuck.
I’m almost within my goal. I should call Rocky Mountain Film Lab and ask about my missing roll of C-22. Yo, Albany City School District – thanks for cowardly shutting down my high school. Lipograms don’t stop my rants on old blog topics.
So what did this blog post accomplish? Think about it. If nothing, I built a morning topic without typing that solitary button. I hit “D” and “W” and “R” to surround it. Anybody out in Blogland want to try this? Anybody?
Or skip an “A” or a “T” and you might pull it off. You might accomplish this linguistic gymnastic without losing your mind or your sanity. And who knows? You could pass.
As I just did now. Victory!
Similar to playing trivia without Chuck around…it’s a thing you do not miss.
Aw Dan… a lipogram post to my lipogram blog. Much appreciation.
Pursuits of such proportions can bring many days and nights with wanting only to find a rusty razor till blood flows from your wrists. 😉
What a fantastic blog!!! How long did you work on this?? It’s taking soooo long just thinking of what to say for this short lipogrammic post!
Doctor DiNapoli –
It was tough, I’ll say with truth.
Vry clvr. I could nvr pull this off. Nat. Mik
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