Heard of the book Eunoia by Christian Bök? It’s
In the book’s main part, each chapter used just a single vowel, producing sentences such as this: “Hassan can, at a handclap, call a vassal at hand and ask that all staff plan a bacchanal”.[…]
The author believes “his book proves that each vowel has its own personality, and demonstrates the flexibility of the English language.”
This book inspired plenty of talk in the English Dept. at the yooniversity I attended. Yet: why did I think of it today? And why did I write “yooniversity”, like a fool?
Well, the dear old iBook G4 that I type on has hit senility. It is six years old, and it has been with this girl across the world and back. The battery died eons ago, and I got a new one, which also died. The laptop was revived by a techy friend and given a clean OS last year. It has no free space left at all. And now I can’t type with certain keys. Which keys? I’d happily share that info except that doing so involves typing with those keys. I’ll copy and paste (tho only once, for it is a hassle!): 7, U, J, and M. Search this blog post; those letters will not appear in it anywhere else (except in copy-and-paste excerpts).
And that has been today’s creative challenge for yorz trooly. (Day 26!) As is evident, I’ve gone phonetic in a few places. On the whole, tho, I had to avoid those letters (and that digit) altogether. It’s been a challenge—especially since I’d like to get a point across as well (which lengthens things)—and I expect props for the the creative ways I avoided these letters in this post.
What’s the connection between these keys? I think there is probably a little wire that lets these keys work:
Why didn’t I write this post on the desktop? For one thing, its vast powers are presently being tapped by the ol’ ball and chain (forgive, please! I can’t type “hxsband”). For the toast part, tho, it is so that I can confront this bizarre challenge. See? Even rhy(x)e-based association works!
Therein lies the creativity. What does it lie in? It lies in the constraints. Constraints—and Eunoia likely began as a foray into constrained writing—force one to think on the opposite side of the inside of the box (see this blog for great, short pieces of constrained writing). In fact, let’s call writing pro(x)pts exactly what they are: constraints to begin with.
It is better to begin creative work with an idea or direction or inspiration than to begin with nothing. Other approaches have been explored, of coarse. I’d need a whole lot of the 4th broken key to get into that, tho. It is the opinion of this blogger that constraint is necessary in art.
I’ll end the speech here for now, with one last notion: when next yoo create, give yorself a constraint (above and beyond typical technical or strxctxral things) and see if it doesn’t get yoo to work harder. On the other hand, if a constraint doesn’t appeal, lose it; don’t sacrifice yor creative flow.