Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hanging on the telephone

"Now it may be," he typed, "that every other recorded instant of gold made by fire—there are hundreds of them, almost all seeming to be variant on a few themes, like old comedy plots—maybe every one is false, the product of mendacity or wishful thinking or the accumulating errors of multiple transmission, history's game of Telephone that always pushes anecdotes to clarity, wonder, or exemplum. Maybe this is the one and only real one we know about, the one that slipped through the baffle of advancing Time that falsified all the others, to reach us like Job's servant out of the wreckage of the former world: I only am escaped alone to tell thee." —John Crowley, Daemonomania

Rich dreams now which he was loathe to wake from. Things no longer known in the world. The cold drove him forth to mend the fire. Memory of her crossing the lawn toward the house in the early morning in a thin rose gown that clung to her breasts. He thought each memory recalled must do some violence to its origins. As in a party game. Say the word and pass it on. So be sparing. What you alter in the remembering has yet a reality, known or not. —Cormac McCarthy, The Road

* * *

From a recent game of Telephone:

When Mrs. Frederick C. Little's second son arrived, everybody noticed that he was not much bigger than a mouse.

(First line of E.B. White's Stuart Little)

After 14 permutations:

When the steward sees this person arrive, they all get very quiet.

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Blogger Regina said...

"When E.B. White found out about the paperback editions, he contacted us and said, 'There is one change I would like to make.' On the first page of Stuart Little, when Stuart is born to the Little family, White changed the word born to arrived. This was in response to Anne Carroll Moore's criticism of the book twenty years earlier, when it was still in manuscript, when she insisted that children would be terrified to have a mouse born to a human mother. I thought, Oh God, Anne Carroll Moore won!"
-George Nicholson, interviewed by Leonard Marcus in the March/April 07 Horn Book

10:15 AM  

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