Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It is in Bloomington that our scene lies.

It was a dark and stormy night, and morning, and afternoon, except for the occasional interval of daylight that baked the puddles to steam. We've been having a lot of T-storms and tornado watches here in the Midwest, lately. It's been a little scary, but you hang out in the basement with your friend, or sweetie, or brother, and talk about the last time you endured those sirens--sirens you usually only get to hear once a month when tested. When it happened yesterday, I was with my fiance, showing my brother and sister-in-law our very fascinating basement, with its mid-century garage-sale finds and giant jars filled with basmati, dried peas and lima beans. My sister-in-law's most feared natural disaster is a tornado, and so we all sat down to talk about other near or far misses, like it t'weren't no big thang.

Well, this weather reminded Nina of a line most of us have learned is a little tired for beginning a story: "It was a dark and stormy night." But since most of us probably learned this line from Snoopy, typing away atop his red dog house, not nearly enough of us have encountered the unabridged version of the famous first line: "It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness." This beaut was penned by the infamous Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, for whom a wonderful contest has been named. Entries are only one, long and windy sentence long.

The contest website hasn't been updated for a little while, so I hope the contest is still going strong. To read the top entries from 2007, check it out here.


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