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BULWER-LYTTON ENTREES

For those who have no idea what a "Bulwer-Lytton" is, it is a writing contest that has been around since the early 1980's. Sponsored by the English Department at San Jose State University as the brain child of one Professor Scott Rice, it is a celebration of the worst that writers can do--to wit: write an opening line to a novel that is so painfully bad as to be worthy of applause, accolades, and, yes, even a cash award ($250 smackeroos as of last count) plus all the notoriety that entails. Starting as a tiny little competition back in 1982, it has since grown to mammoth proportions to the point that the University now receives literally thousands of entrees each year, making the competition keen and, at points, even cutthroat. And no, it's not just about the money either, but the prestige of knowing that you are bad enough to recognized as having produced writ so bad that your work can forever be held up as an example of how never to write. For more information on the contest (including a scintillating history, contest entree rules, and painful excerpts from previous winners), go to http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/ and check it out for yourself.

Oh, I almost forgot. So why is the thing called the "Bulwer-Lytton Contest"? It's in honor of famed English Victorian novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton who first penned the immortal words: "It was a dark and stormy night..." (words since immortalized by aspiring novelist Snoopy of Peanuts fame) almost two hundred years ago, thus launching many a pulp fiction career. Turns out that not only was the man no friend of the English language (try reading the next few paragraphs of the novel--Paul Clifford--from which those famous opening words were taken from) but was, unfortunately, most prolific, meaning that he had numerous opportunities to inflict his mediocrity on readers for many years. On the bright side, however, his inability to get his thoughts onto paper in any coherent manner created a vibrant cottage industry that is only going to grow as more and more people battle for the title of "worst writer ever!"--all thanks to Mr. Bulwer-Lytton (hip hip, hooray.)

So here are my recent entrees to the contest. I'll continue to add more in the future as I am so moved to add to these atrocities or I get to a place where I could really use $250 bucks.



Entree#1: The sleek Buick hugged the curves of the winding road like a drunken Rhino, it's headlights cutting through the gloom like two bright and perky nipples, its tires hugging asphalt as black as someone's tongue who had been chewing on licorice.

Entree #2: Serial killer Ralph Seacrest never imagined when he spotted his eleventh victim hitching a ride on the side of the road (who was none other than Morgan Barker--himself a serial killer searching for his fifteenth victim) the remarkable chain of events the rest of the afternoon would have in store for both of them.

Entree #3: With a level of skill that comes only from years of practice, Lance deftly doffed his t-shirt, Speedos and underwear in a matter of seconds and stood proudly naked, flexing his various muscle groups, only to realize too late that once again he had entered the wrong apartment.

Entree #4: Mavis was not one to complain, but even she felt that the three stale Cheetos Ermin found under the seat of his car did not constitute dinner in any real sense of the word, yet it was not enough to dissuade her from letting him have her when the moment was right.

Entree #5: Doctor Moreau felt the operation would have been more of a success if he had only been able to remember which side of the chest the uterus was on.

Entree #6: Pressing forward amid a sea of whining ten-year-olds, troop leader Harley Foss was not about to let the loss of three of the scouts to a well coordinated and impressively successful beaver attack spoil what promised to be--at least according to the perfect azure skies overhead--a glorious hike.

Entree #7: Lewis had no idea that inadvertently taking his Rogaine and Viagra tablets together could make his hair stand on end with such authority, nor that the effect would last for four to six hours, depending upon his mood.

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