The Literary Mash-Up Challenge

in feedbackchain •  2 months ago

Literary Mash-up.png

This is my first response to the Sndbox Weekly Question as a member of @sndbox's cohort 2. I am psyched to answer this question as I think I've come up with the ultimate 2 birds with one stone post. A quick breakdown of what sndbox's question is all about:

For this challenge, we're asking you to create a post that is all about engaging your readership and interacting with them in a new way.

@sndbox weekly question post

I've been racking my brains all day as to what I could possibly do that would appeal to regular readers of my blog. Earlier this afternoon after my second pint of coffee, it hit me like the proverbial bolt from the blue.

The Literary Mash-Up Challenge!?


Today is my steemit birthday! One year ago today, a metamorphosis was birthed from the depths of Facebook hell. Reborn in choirs of angels to the heavenly pastures of steemit's creative nourishment, I grazed and ended up growing into a full-fledged metaphor magician 😉 All joking aside though, over the past year I have read some amazingly talented, intelligent and well-read authors which is why I decided to invent this challenge.

The literary mash-up challenge was inspired by a few different thoughts and ideas. I recently realized that I hadn't read a good book in over six months, which is insane given that I often got through three or four in a month when I was at university. The lack of novels in my life is definitely offset by the amount of great fiction and poetry I read on steemit, but I wanted to make a challenge that would encourage myself (and hopefully the rest of the steemit community) to read more good books. The second inspiration was around my experience witnessing steemit creative writers thrive and excel in other experimental competitions. Particularly, the finish the story contest run by @f3nix from the @bananafish account has inspired me a huge amount over the last month and this awesome competition was the catalyst to the experimental nature of this literary mash-up challenge.

What is the challenge? The premise is based on a game that I used to play at school. We would play this game when the British weather forced us inside during break/recess. I have embellished the original childhood game somewhat to build a creative challenge around it.

The Format

  • Pick one of your favorite books and post a sentence of your choice in the comments section from a page that I specify.
  • Post a very brief synopsis of the book or explanation of why you love it with your chosen sentence so that we can all discover new books to read 📖
  • I shall post my selection and synopsis at the bottom of this post.
  • During the challenge I would encourage you to interact with others in the comments section. Discuss the books mentioned, ask questions etc.
  • After the posts 7 day payout period is over I will write a post with my poetic or short fiction creation from all of the sentences and a list of the sentences in order with the steemit user tagged and the title of the book it comes from.
  • Create your own poem, flash fiction, song, rap or even short screenplay from the selection of sentences. The only limit is your inventive spirit. Tag it with #literarymashup and I will upvote all tagged posts. I may call up a surprise whale vote on the best posts that use all of the sentences words. Also, I shall be looking for curie-able posts among the entrants.
  • Note: you don't have to use full sentences, they can be broken up if it proves particularly tricky. However, the more inventive and clever the use of full or part sentences the better.
  • Please consider resteeming this post to help get the word out and spread the challenge far and wide (not compulsory).
I am really excited to see how this turns out, as it is essentially an experimentation in inventiveness. If you would prefer to post your creation in the comments section of the follow-up post that is fine and I will try to vote them in comments. However, posting entries in comments will preclude any chance of being curated by curie.

Now... it's time for the literary mash-up challenge:

Book pgbreak.jpg

Page 207, paragraph 2, sentence 4


The moss appeared unnaturally green, inexplicable for these depths beyond the reach of photosynthesis.

Haruki Murakami - Hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world


It has been a while since I first read this book but if memory serves, it is a surreal amalgamation of fantasy and internal landscape set in a present day Tokyo. Hard Boiled Wonderland somehow manages to express a massive novel-length extended metaphor for madness, as the two main characters slowly merge into a world made up of of their psychically charged unconscious. It is one of the best examples of magic realism I have ever read and if you like haunting yet aloof, deep spiritual expressions of the unknowable, this is the book for you.

Now it is your turn! If you follow the trail, turn to page number 207 in one of your favorite novels and hunt down an interesting sentence then post it in the comments with a brief synopsis of the book as directed above. Let the madness begin!

The title image in this post is my own design work created on canva.com. The picture of the book cover was taken by me using my phone. If you have any suggestions for this challenge please don't hesitate to comment. I welcome all and any feedback. I would like to say a big thank you to @sndbox for their amazing work inspiring creative engagement across the steem-o-sphere. This is my first engagement challenge on steemit and without the guidance of sndbox's weekly question, it would probably have never been. You can check out my other work on my homepage @raj808. I look forward to finding out about some new fantastic novels through this challenge. Thanks for reading.

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If you would like to join a fantastic community where we strive to help new steemians grow and develop, why not join me at #promo-mentors discord group which you can find here.


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Hi @raj808: I've completed the second part of the challenge. My flash fiction, incorporating parts of the sentences, may be found here.

This was actually a lot of fun. I'm glad I participated.

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That's awesome @agmoore u beat me to it 😉 I've just had to ditch everything as my mother has nuked her laptop & needs me to restore windows. Groan.... Technophobes do my nut sometimes.

I was going to make the follow-up post for this challenge tonight. I'll check out your post properly when I get back home this evening. Thanks for being the first to complete the second part mate 😀

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Sorry to jump the gun. I have been accused of being a bit compulsive. Once I get an idea I'm sort of single minded.

Good luck with Mom's computer. My son is coming over this weekend to help me with mine. He is my wizard.

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Absolutely no problem mate. I'm glad for your enthusiasm :-)

I got home late tonight after battling the computer, so I will be doing my post tomorrow and will checking all entries properly including yours. I did read it quickly earlier but want to give it another full read tomorrow. Thanks :-)

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So now I see the post and the proper way to do this. Talk about misunderstanding. Got signals wrong. Thought we had to go straight to the second part. And I see that my story is a relative monstrosity (weighing in at 1046 in 500 word limit). I'm sure this is just a blip on your very busy calendar. Wishing you success in this next phase of your Mash-Up Challenge

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Your entry was awesome and much appreciated. The 500 word limit is a guideline much like @f3nix comp, so don't worry. I've just re-read your story for the second time as I was knackered last time and enjoyed it very much and left a comment and a surprise :-)

Thanks again for entering :-)

Second pint of coffee...oh, dear.

I have been reading less books, and more articles, since getting involved in Steemit. Interesting how that's happened.

I'll try to meet your challenge. Finding the quote is the easy part. Don't know if I have the creative juices for the rest--don't think I'm agile enough for that.

This should encourage more people to engage with each other. That would be great.

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I was going to tell you about this one and SO HAPPY to see you're thinking of this.

Don't know if I have the creative juices for the rest--don't think I'm agile enough for that.

If anyone can do it, it's you. I'm curious to see what you choose.

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Who can resist @raj808 and @manouche? I'm in. This book is available (publication date 1890) free, online. It is Hunger by Knut Hamsun. The sentence on page 207:


No, there was no longer any limit to the low things I might be tempted to do.



This book wins on several counts. For one thing its first words are unforgettable:

It was the time I wandered about and starved in Christiana:

The clean writing in these two sentences is representative of the book. Hamsun manages to convey desperation, even hysteria, with an almost minimalist approach. The story is basically summed up in the title. It is a first-person account of a man who is so down on his luck that he entertains every possibility for getting something to eat. He is unemployable, as it seems are many people in the city.

His regular employment apparently was as a writer, at some undetermined time. In his flights of fancy he imagines the highly intellectual treatises he will write, with the one small pencil he has retrieved from a pawned waistcoat.

This book is semi-autobiographical. Hamsun went through his own "hungry" period. Eventually he did go on to win the Nobel Prize.

I'm grateful to Raj808 for having me once again become acquainted with this remarkable book.

Also....resteeming. Hope to see many entries.

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That sounds like a really interesting book @agmoore. I shall definitely check it out.... especially with a free version out there on the web as I'm going through a pretty 'money is tight' period of my life..... but nothing like what the character in the book is facing. The premise is interesting as it sounds like it has a real sense of desperation and dilemma which usually makes for an interesting read. Thanks for joining in, the second part of the challenge is completely up to you buddy. If you have the creative drive give it a go, if not no worries :-)

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Knew I could trust @agmoore to come up with an amazing suggestion! And it's free! Definitely downloading it. I'll tell you how I liked it soon.

fun! i love it! this is from a book called Feeding your Demons by Tsultrim Allione.

the sentence from the page/article/sentence instructed:

"Unfortunately this meant she could never invite any friends home to play, and she lived in fear that her secret would be discovered."

This is a book from a Tibetan lama who has translated an ancient Buddhist practice into modern context. The practice refers to not distancing ourselves from our Demons, nor fighting them, but listening to, consulting them, spending time and, in the end, actually feeding them with our own energy. I've been practicing this all year and it's truly transformative.

Looking forward to how this mash-up pans out :)

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Oooh, I love this. It's just one sentence but I can feel the fear of this little character already.

Also seems like a great book, @mountainjewel! Going to pick this one up.

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I love this entry on a few different levels @mountainjewel. Firstyly, the book looks interesting and appeals to me at the moment as I'm having something of a spiritual re-awakening, I shall look it up. The other thing is that the sentence you have chosen is great from a writers perspective as it has so much potential for the beginning of a short story. My writers' mind is whirring with directions - What is the secret? Who is the character (seems like a childhood memory)? P.s. these are all hypothetical ;-) I'm not after answers

Thanks for joining in, the second part of the challenge is completely optional but I'd love to see an entry from you guys. If you have the creative drive give it a go, if not no worries :-)

Cool idea, good luck with the new challenge! :)

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Thanks dude. If you fancy a delve into a crazy experimental poetry creation, I'd be really interested to see what novel you chose and the subsequent creative post. No probs if your busy though ;-) Your support is massively appreciated Vit

Let the #literarymashup begin! Wonderful idea here @raj808 this is a great way to engage differently :)

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Thank you for the support @sndbox... it is slow so far but I hope all the bookworms are just finishing reading that favorite novel before they drop their entries 😉

There is a saying in the UK, 'You wait forever for a bus.... and then six come along at once'.

It's a very good initiative! When you want, come to the @celfmagazine server on Discord and make an @everyone on the #english-chat announcing this, I'm sure it will be a lot of people interested.

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Thank you @joedukeg, that will help immensely. I shall come and visit later tonight after I have finished writing my latest post. I'd love to see/hear about your favorite novel maybe? 😉

P.s. I have just visited your #feedbackchain post

"Papers were scattered about, and a pile of newspapers in the corner looked as though it had been flattened into a bed, which was fine by him. — The Distant Land of My Father, Bo Caldwell

It's been 6 or 7 years since the last time I opened this book, and my memory is hella bad, so I don't have anything for sypnosis. But then whenever I see this book in my shelf, I always thought of the time I cried and loved it with all my heart.

I wanted to put a Murakami one, but I don't have my book with me. I also wanted to put Catcher In The Rye, but it is well-known already. Thus I chose this little gem.

Let me just write down the brief summer of the book: As this riveting debut novel opens, Anna, the narrator, is living in a storybook world: exotic prewar Shanghai, with handsome young parents, wealth, and comfort. Her Father, the son of missionaries, is a charming—though secretive—man, whose greatest joy is sharing his beloved city with his only daughter. Yet when Anna and her mother flee Japanese-occupied Shanghai to return to Los Angeles, he stays behind, believing his connections and a little bit of luck will keep him safe. Through Anna's vivid memories and her Father's journals we learn of his fall from charismatic millionaire to tortured prisoner. A breathtaking and richly lyrical story of betrayal and reconciliation that spans several years across two continents, The Distant Land of My Father unfolds to reveal an enduring family love through tragic circumstances.

I love World War setting!!! 😭

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Catcher In The Rye is a great book that I read over 10 years ago.... gosh that makes me feel old just typing that lol.

The Distant Land of My Father sounds like an interesting book, with a great setting in a time of great turmoil. I like the fall from grace (from millionaire to prisoner) story-line in the synopsis and I shall definitely get this novel out from my local library I think :-)

By the way, which Murakami book are you reading at the moment?

Thanks for joining in @olaivart, the second part of the challenge is completely optional but I'd love to see an entry from you. If you have the creative drive give it a go, if not no worries :-)

I love this #feedbackchain for very many reasons - one of them being that instead of judging whether to buy a book by its cover, I can judge whether to buy a book from one sentence on page 207.

Here goes.

When Eddie rose from underneath the stampede, he was devoid of a shoe along with its sock, the collar of his shirt, two buttons of his fly and Crystal's ticket

Raavan and Eddie is one of Kiran Nagarkar's best works fiction. It is about a Maratha Hindu and a Roman Catholic growing up into adolescence within the intimate confines of a Bombay chawl.

I chose this book because Kiran Nagarkar is a literary genius. But also, I just moved cities and religiously planted all the books I bought over the past six months at my parents'. This one, I took for the flight.

Lastly, this book is set in the city with which I will always have a perverse, love-hate relationship. Bombay is magical. It's air is full of hopes, dreams and smells of struggle. I used to live in a chawl myself and was looking for chawl literature when my friend suggested this one. I suggest it to everyone else. It's beautiful.

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This book sounds really interesting and more so for me as it is describing a place I have never been and unlikely to end up experiencing myself. I do want to visit India if I ever manage to make it off travelling as a digital nomad but I'm not sure if I'd make it to Bombay as I'm not a lover of big cities and tend to get out of them as quick as I can. But then again maybe it could be interesting to go to an alternative part of town to write a story/article about it.

Anyway, enough of my musings ;-) I think this sentence is another great one in regards to writing the next section of the challenge as it has such a sense of movement and frenetic vibes to it. I can't wait to see what people come up with.

Thanks for joining in @manouche, the second part of the challenge is completely optional but I'd love to see an entry from you. If you have the creative drive give it a go, if not no worries :-)

Okay, let's get weird:

What if he had a brain freeze and ditched all his lines, or farted, or, worse yet, sucked up Helen's clothes?

Summary (from the back cover of "Washer Mouth" by Kevin L. Donihe):

Roy is a washing machine messiah. Recently turned human, he must pave the way for the coming of the washer-men. Unfortunately, Roy is not a very good messiah. More obsessed with the daytime Soap Opera Sands of Eternity, Roy deviates from his mission in order to follow his dream of acting in a scene with the beautiful Helen, his favorite Soap Opera starlet, before she is retired from the show. But Roy soon discovers that the rise to stardom isn't a simple task, especially for a man whose mouth is an out-of-control washing machine.

Not a family-friendly read by any stretch, but it's hilarious. And weird. I loved it.

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Thanks for taking part @blockurator & I love the weird and wonderful so it is completely cool that it isn't so family friendly 😉 The sentence you chose certainly adds some interesting words and phrases to try and incorporate into the creative post in the next section of the challenge.

That book looks like a great escape from reality into the seas, or 'laundry rooms' of the absurd and surreal. Love it mate!