It’s time for one of my favorite events of the year, not the ‘frying an egg on a sidewalk’ event, though some poor newscaster has already had that assignment when we hit 100º-plus on multiple days, nor the start of the fall semester since I’m no longer working on a campus and now qualify as a ‘townie’ meaning I don’t like the increase in traffic when everyone comes back to town, rather it is that point in the summer when the Bulwer-Lytton awards are announced.
That’s my attempt to write a sentence in the spirit of the Bulwer-Lytton awards which are given in honor of Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton who is known for “It was a dark and storm 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 lamp that struggled against the darkness.” The challenge is to compose a bad opening sentence to an imaginary novel.
I’m not sure how I found the Bulwer-Lytton awards, but one summer while I was at UTSA, facing a deadline before my vacation with no idea of something useful to write for the staff newsletter, I shared my favorites from that year’s winners. And I continued every summer after that. Today, I honor that tradition. A word to the wise, if you go to the full list of winners, some are risqué or a bit rude, many are groan-worthy puns, all are silly. So here is the grand prize winner and a couple of my favorites, because after all it’s just too hot not to be a little bit silly on occasion.
“The elven city of Losstii faced towering sea cliffs and abutted rolling hills that in the summer were covered with blankets of flowers and in the winter were covered with blankets, because the elves wanted to keep the flowers warm and didn’t know much at all about gardening.” — Kat Russo, Loveland, Colorado
Winner, Children’s Literature
“Our tale begins in the Arctic, a boy and his dog riding out the blizzard in a windswept cabin, hackles rising as they face down the fearsome bear clawing at the door, courage their spear, fierce loyalty their shield; yes, this is the tale of Hazku, proud chieftain of the northern bears, who makes quick work of these two and spends a pleasant afternoon napping in the cabin.” — Jacob Smith, Dallas, Texas
Dishonorable Mention, Crime/Detective
“The church was deathly quiet: suddenly a shot rang out, a woman screamed, and somewhere in the back, a baby cried because that baby hadn’t been taken to the nursery, even though the sign on the door clearly states that babies should be taken to the nursery.” — Mark Schweizer, Tryon, North Carolina
And a favorite from the past – the winner from 2009.
“Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin’ off Nantucket Sound from the nor’east and the dogs are howlin’ for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the “Ellie May,” a sturdy whaler captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin’ and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests.” — David McKenzie, Federal Way, WA
Here’s the link: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/2017win.html