Blogging for me is a deeply personal and very satisfying thing. It does have an interesting side effect for me. It forces me to delve into my past often. I like to dig into my personal archives for things to write about. I do this particularly on days when I am having difficulty coming up with something interesting to write about. Today is such a day.
I went all the way back to 1987 or 1988 (not quite sure) for this one. I am the keeper of something very dear to my heart, and to an outsider of a very special group of friends, it is very odd indeed. It was from my early days of college. I should prepare those that are much younger than I am, that in those days the notion of an internet only went so far as logging into a local network of bulletin boards. There was not really any world wide web, or email. My computer of choice for college was the mighty Commodore 64. Dot matrix printers were all the rage, and color computer monitors were only available in shades of gray, green, or amber.
So in that frame of time, the message board on the door of your dorm room was a common place sight. I had a next door neighbor on my dorm floor. He was a legend, even then, for his way of creative thinking. He could make the boring a very fun and memorable experience. He called this “entertainment on a budget”. The message boards were no exception. I was walking by his door one day and I found this written on his board.
“As he was walking down the sidewalk, he took notice of the clear blue sky. He stopped and lifted up a rock…”
Next to this sentence were some guidelines:
- Complete the previous sentence and start the next one.
- Do not write until at least two people have written after your last contribution.
- Identify your contribution with your number below: (I won’t list those…however, in the end there were 22 different contributors to the story).
- Break every rule except this one.
What evolved was a 22 page story (hmm the number 22 again…I wonder if that was by his design?) that would keep an entire dorm building entertained for a long period. This particular story is very close to my heart, because as my neighbor and friend graduated, he entrusted me with a hard copy of this story. To my knowledge, it is the only copy ever produced of the entire story (although, I am sure he probably kept a copy for himself somewhere). I have kept it safe for nearly a quarter of a century now. It has faded, and the paper has yellowed, but I do get it out from time to time to enjoy a chuckle over how silly we could be back then.
I wonder…could this effort be duplicated? You have the first sentence, and the rules to play with. So how would you go ahead with the story?