notquiteold

Nancy Roman

ABECEDARIAN

Recently a friend directed me to a story on Medium.com. (I publish there once in a while too.) My friend’s friend had posted a little writing exercise that I just adored.

An ABECEDARIAN is a 26 sentence story, with each sentence beginning with each sequential letter of the alphabet.

It’s a fun exercise that really gets those creative juices flowing. Although I admit I am being lazy using a cliche like ‘creative juices flowing.’ How about this: the structure both confines you and opens you. How creative can you be and still stick to the rules?

Go ahead and give it a try. You may surprise yourself .

Here’s the link to the story by Amy Selwyn that inspired me: Amy’s Abecedarian story. It’s marvelous – I hope you will go over to medium.com and give it a read.

And here is my crazy little exercise. (with additional thanks – and perhaps apologies – to my Kentucky librarian friend.)

THE LIBRARIAN’S SECRET

A librarian in Kentucky had a secret.
Brainy (is there any other kind of librarian?), Laurie pursued art history and medieval icons.
Cathedrals had been visited.
Dostoyevsky had been read.
Every one of her co-workers knew that Laurie’s brain was better than Google.
For arcane trivia or political significance, they knew who to ask.
Go to Laurie,” they advised all the students looking to pad their research papers.
However ridiculous the request, Laurie smiled and answered.
I don’t mind,” Laurie said, aware that the other librarians had nothing much to do.
Just as long as I have Sundays off.”
Keeping secrets, thought the staff.
Laurie hoped she had kept her secrets well.
Many had tried to discover Laurie’s mysterious Sundays.
No one had succeeded.
One day, however, Laurie made a mistake.
Perhaps she was just tired of the secrecy.
Quite possibly, she was proud of her hobby.
Really though, Laurie just momentarily forgot her reputation for being esoteric and sophisticated.
Star Trek,” she said one day, when a student asked her for the definitive reference for space exploration.
That old TV show?” the student asked, and the other librarians suddenly got very interested.
Unequivocally,” Laurie said, as she unbuttoned her smock to reveal the Star Trek uniform underneath.
Vice President,” Laurie explained, pointing to the flyer pinned to the bulletin board, which advertised the Sunday Star Trek fan club.
Wow,” the kid said.
Xenophobia,” Laurie whispered to the kid, nodding towards her co-workers.
You don’t know how hard it is to be an alien, until you live in Kentucky,” she added conspiratorially.
Zany,” said all her co-workers, and Laurie was happy they were right.

15 Comments

  1. dragon

    Lovely.

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  2. Wow. I think this would be crazy hard to do.

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    • Not so hard. Try it!

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  3. nelson bartley

    How fun. One day I posted on my FB “The Alpacas are alarming again.” Within minutes I had two friends join in with “bears burrowed busily” and “cows coughed crazily at the crows” and we ended up going through the entire alphabet in order that afternoon. Very fun- one of the sentences was even in Spanish since 2 of the 3 of us are bilingual. I will have to try this…

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  4. nelson bartley

    How fun. One day I posted on my FB “The Alpacas are alarming again.” Within minutes I had two friends join in with “bears burrowed busily” and “cows coughed crazily at the crows” and we ended up going through the entire alphabet in order that afternoon. Very fun- one of the sentences was even in Spanish since 2 of the 3 of us are bilingual. I will have to try this…

    Like

    • That’s a great creative idea too! I love it!

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  5. This was cool, but gave me a headache.

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  6. Fabulous challenge and story! I think I’ll give it a try also.

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    • That would be great! Feel free to post it right here, if you’d like.

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  7. Barbara Lindsey

    I loved that. Well done.

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  8. It’s also a form used in poetry, especially within groups. Probably a little easier than constructing a story! Very well done! Another fun exercise (poetry or prose) is “Exquisite Corpse,” in which one person writes a line, passes it along, folding it to hide all the lines except the previous one. You can end up with some really funny and weird stories or poems. It’s a good party game–if we ever again get to have parties. 😦

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  9. Shelagh

    “Anyone sitting here?”
    Boys were not my first priority, but this one was cute.
    Curly blond hair, bright blue eyes.
    Definitely my type, if I could be said to have such a thing.
    Eying him up, I made a decision.
    “Free for the taking,” I said, gesturing to the vacant seat next to me.
    Golden boy sat and laid his laptop on the widened arm that served as a desk in these giant lecture halls.
    “Hi, I’m Sean,” he said.
    “I’m Jessamyn,” I replied, then waited for the inevitable reaction to my weird-ass name.
    “Jessamyn? That’s pretty!” he said.
    “Kind of unusual, but I love it.”
    Leaning towards me, he lowered his voice to a conspiratorial tone.
    “My first name is actually Archibald, after my grandfather.
    “Nice of my parents to call me by my middle name, but not so nice that they chose that particular one.”
    “Oh, there’s nothing strange about Sean as a name, is there?” I asked.
    Pursing his lips, my companion sighed and said, “My last name is Sherman.”
    Quizzical, I couldn’t think what that had to do with anything.
    “Really think about it,” Sean advised.
    Smiling ruefully, he hinted, “Initials.
    Think initials.”
    Understanding suddenly, I laughed.
“Very funny!
    “What were your parents thinking?”
“You wonder, don’t you?” Sean groaned.
    Zipping a few months ahead in time…unfortunately my golden boy classmate did turn out to be rather an A.S.S.!
    (This was so much fun!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is teriific! Thank you for sharing it!

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  10. Oh, that’s fun! Your story is too.

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  11. Kathy Zurcher

    Love this! I will write one later.

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