Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Elephant Words

There are some great fiction websites floating around in the ether, if you can only find them.  While Warren Ellis's ENGINE was running, I was lucky enough to find one - in fact, was there at the beginning and eventually got a chance to contribute.  The brainchild of Nicolas Papaconstantinou, based on the parable of the blind men and the elephant wherein a group of blind men try to discern what the elephant is like by touching it and describing it.  But they each touch a different part of the elephant - the tusk, the ear, the tail - and find themselves in complete disagreement as to what is in the room with them.  The lesson being that reality can be different depending upon one's perspective, putting fallacy to the idea of "absolute truth."  WMDs anyone?

Anyway, I'll allow Nick to describe (as can be found on the website) his site:

The premise of the site is simple: Every Sunday, one writer will post a picture, and every day for the next six days, they and five other writers will interpret it for your entertainment.  [The writing schedule rotates so that Writer 1 - who, in that first week, would need to contribute a piece within 24 hours of the image going up - contributes a piece on Monday, Writer 2 Tuesday, and so on.  The following week, everyone rotates up a space, so that Writer 1 now goes to Saturday, Writer 2 up to Monday, Writer 3 to Tuesday, and so on.  It keeps things fair, obviously, while sparking inspiration, especially for that writer with the week's 24 hour window.]

The writers can be as literal or as “out there” with how much they allow the image to inspire them, and their brief is to write whatever they want, as long as they do it interestingly and on time, so you as a reader may get to enjoy prose, poetry, maybe the odd cartoon, in genres ranging across the board, from fiction to anecdotal autobiography, science-fiction to period drama… Really, the possibilities are only limited by our contributors’ imaginations. I want the creators here to have as much fun as the readers, and stretch their wings a little, so we can’t guarantee that you will always get to read what you expect, but then, who would want to?

What we can gurantee is that daily, from Monday to Saturday, we will do our best to entertain you, and also to show you writing that is fresh and engaging. Check back regularly, or subscribe to us in using the RSS feed, and we don’t think you will be disappointed!

It's really an interesting concept and Nick has managed to keep it going without a break for over a year and a half now with writers moving in and out and a completely new lineup for this calendar year with a number of female voices added to the mix, which is always a good thing.  

When I saw Nick's call for auditions back in July of 2007, I immediately took up the task and offered my own interpretation of that initial image.  I'll post that up here next time and talk a little more about the site too, but for now, please feel free to hit the links and pop over to ELEPHANT WORDS and check out some of the fiction there.  You won't be disappointed.


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