StreetWrites Workshop for Writing Out of the Margins

The Art of the Non-Sequitur


    I recently read Without Feathers. This should not be newsworthy enough to mention, because I don't usually read *with* feathers, and reading without them is not very remarkable. However, this was a book by one of My Wesley's artistic heroes, Woody Allen. And, considering the fact that I have made rather an effort in my life to avoid all of Woody Allen's movies and almost all discussion about him, my reading one of his books could be considered remarkable. Unless, of course, you realized that I have been too ill lately to go to the library (because they'll require about a gallon of blood in overdue fines when I walk in through the door) and if I didn't read *something* I might notice that the apartment needed cleaning and feel compelled to do something about it, like go rapelling off the Space Needle.
     I was pleasantly surprised by Without Feathers. I enjoyed it much more than the Woody Allen movie I once suffered through that gave me my lifelong antipathy. One page absolutely amazed me. I swear that every phrase not only didn't have anything to do with the previous phrase, each phrase had nothing whatsoever to do with the whole. It was a madcap careening of non-sequiturs.
     Wes told me that I was wrong. There is a fine and subtle art to the non-sequitur; a method to the madness. Each sentence *does* relate to the previous one -- but not in the expected sense.
     I wrote a short tale experimenting with the art of the non-sequitur. I'd already done some editing under the critique of Dr. Wes. After I posted it to StreetWrites, Wes interjected some lines and another workshop member added a coda. The results are appended for your entertainment and inspiration. Try throwing away a few sequiturs yourself. It's fun. :)

 

Morning Coffee

On Tuesday morning we could not make coffee. The drains were plugged due to an influx of Republicans in South Chelsea. The entire dorm was languorous. Annabel thought she was her grandmother. Mindy thought that *she* was Archibald MacLeish, but Mindy always thinks that she is Archibald MacLeish. -- but never his grandmother. Mindy is not the grandmotherly type...

Only three of us were still functioning. I left Megan and Tamara running used coffee filters through the ventilators while I went out to buy brewed coffee. I had barely reached the bottom of the porch stairs when the shop on the corner -- the right corner of the porch stairs (... well actually the porch stairs has only the one corner, the left one having been lost in that tragic "aardvark" incident, involving Uncle Bob, the pump-handle, and the "aardvark"...) the little shop that sells mementoes of overseas tours, so that you can annoy your neighbors with slides from Tierra del Fuego without ever having to go there to be annoyed yourself (Have you ever had coffee from Tierra Del Fuego? Of course you haven't. That's what I'm talking about. And Uncle Bob was wrong about that too, I'll have you know.) -- that shop began offering a sale on a round-the-world trip souvenir package for the price of a used bus ticket to Albuquerque. It was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life to forge past and turn left for Seattle.

But, of course, Seattle is always to the left, and it always has the best coffee. (That's because Seattle's coffee does not come from here, or from Tierra Del Fuego, for that matter.)

Halfway down the block, however, I ran out of chocolate (Tierra Del Fuego also is not known for it's great chocolate. Thank GOD I haven't wasted any part of my life there) so I stopped at the lemonade stand that sells Mountain Dew in dixie cups for a nickel. It's quite as good as Seattle coffee, if you've never been there. Besides, they have aardvarks.

When I got back, Mindy and Megan had bound the comatose dorm members into a raft and sailed off for Tupelo. Uncle Bob finally took his Republican out of South Chelsea, to everyone's relief. The plumbers were handling the aardvark problem in Phi Beta Kappa, so Tamara, Annabel and I got all the Mt. Dew to ourselves. It was just enough.

...
>From Galaxie 500:

Finally, Anitra, you're making sense. But the coffee is green and the shower quit working, so how do we all know that George Bush is happy? ***


Write On!
Anitra L. Freeman



StreetWrites Workshop Exercises