Tuesday, July 10, 2012


That is the beginning of the first line of a novel by William Bulwer-Lytton.  It has long since been deemed about the worst first line in the history of literature.

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest was formed to "celebrate" the worst extremes in this style. The contest, sponsored by the English Department of San Jose State University, recognizes the worst examples of "dark and stormy night" writing, some examples of which I have posted in the humor section of this blog.  Now the other day I started to read an article in my local paper, the San Jose Mercury, about buying a mattress, written by Angela Hill.  This is the first sentence:

A few years ago -- or more like a week if you add up the hours of good sleep I've had since then -- I embarked on a quest to locate a tender nighttime transport, a charitable chariot to convey me consistently to the land of Nod, where Mr. Sandman has corralled those cute little numbered sheep on the TV mattress commercials.

At that point I didn’t know whether to gag or laugh.  Do you think that qualifies for the contest?

Now compare that to this contest winner:

As his small boat scudded before a brisk breeze under a sapphire sky dappled with cerulean clouds with indigo bases, through cobalt seas that deepened to navy nearer the boat and faded to azure at the horizon, Ian was at a loss as to why he felt blue. — Mike Pedersen, North Berwick, ME

If you are not laughing by now, you still have one more small chance to demonstrate that you are breathing --

Funny headlines --

WOW!  I didn't know that!

My, my!
What a surprise!What were they expecting,
Kentucky Fried Chicken?

No comments:

Post a Comment