hands up if you’re interested in writhing


Something I’ve only just now found out about, and that may be of interest to NYC-area readers: There’s a Oulipian writing group that “meets weekly to practice and discuss the techniques of constrained writing.” It’s called The Writhing Society and it’s led by Wendy Walker and Tom La Farge. Meetings are Wednesdays at 7 at Proteus Gowanus. Not this coming Wednesday, because of the hurricane, but they’ll be doing something at the Brooklyn Museum on Saturday November 10th (yes, tomorrow), and according to an email that went round they may try to find an alternate place to hold their regular meeting this coming week. Their space got some Sandy seepage under its door, and right now they’re planning to reopen November 15th. I suggest contacting Proteus Gowanus via the info on that Writhing Society page if you want more information about their irregular activities in the meantime.

I’ve been working on my own little Oulipo-inspired project for a couple weeks now, actually, when I can find time. It involves Apple’s voice-to-text technology, which to my perpetual delight doesn’t always work all that well. Hopefully it will be finished soon. I’ll post it here when it’s fully cooked. I’m very curious about The Writhing Society, though, and do intend to check it out soon. Getting a Manhattanite out to Gowanus for a meeting can be like pulling tleeth, but in actuality the journey is not a lengthy one.


Unrelated, but also possibly of interest: the Center for Tactical Magic is holding a bank robbery contest in partnership with Southern Exposure. Not to see who can rob an actual bank the fastest or who can grab more monies, but to see who can come up with the most visionary and well-thought-out proposal. The idea, basically, is that our collective “heightened antagonism towards the big banking establishment deserves a creative outlet,” and that now is the time “to re-visit the romantic representation of bank robbers in relation to the current economic and social crises, including: income disparity, unemployment, housing foreclosures, federal bailouts, the LIBOR scandal, and a wealth of other egregious economic indicators.” The prize is $1,000 in real-life U.S. clams.

bank robbery contest

Click on the poster to see the submission guidelines and FAQs.

I learned about it via Arthur magazine, though their link seems to have gone dead. I’m still in the early stages of working on my own proposal but it’s OK; the deadline isn’t until January 31, 2013.

Years ago my ex-boyfriend and I invented a character called Jerry B’Jerry. We’re still best friends and we still discuss Mr. B’Jerry from time to time, and I think this heist is probably a job for him. He’s definitely got antagonism towards the banking establishment, and he’s a really sketchy guy. He’s never had a life on paper — he has only an oral history — but the promise of cash might be just what’s needed to draw him further out into the world. If you’ve got a character or two casing your own mental joint, I encourage you to enter them in the contest. I have a feeling some of you people have the potential to clean up.

Close-up of Jaquet Droz’s “The Writer” automaton above from A Blog to Watch.

2 responses to “hands up if you’re interested in writhing

  1. I reckon you could say there was a link between constrained writing and fantasy bank robbing; plenty of constraints to overcome in the latter, after all.

    I can only commit to being there in spirit, of course, but I hope you get the chance to writhe with them before long.

    And here’s wishing Mr B’Jerry luck.

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