Remember the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"? Well,
here's a prime example offered by an English professor at Southern
In-class Assignment for Wednesday:
Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The
process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting
to his other immediate right. One of you will then write the first
paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph
and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will
then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to
re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story
coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been
reached. The following was actually turned in by two of my English
students, Rebecca [last name deleted] and Gary [last name deleted.] "
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The
chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home,
now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times,
that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs,
keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if
she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So
chamomile was out of the question.
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron
now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about
than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with
whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to
Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar
orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he
could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and
blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct
hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.
He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt
one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who
had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its
pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4.
"Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel,"
Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously
excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her
youth -- when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree with no
newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of
innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one
lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.
Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live.
Thousands of miles above the city, the Au'udrian mothership launched
the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy
peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty
through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile
alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within
two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on
course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire
planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their
diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere
unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine
headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the
inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million
other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference
table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's
blow'em out of the sky!"
This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My
writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.
Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at
writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.