Sunday, June 5, 2011

Expansion Joints Challenge: part 14, "Spirit"

When this exercise was hosted over at Porky's Expanse!, he always chose the word for the Expanders! challenge based on some relevant happening. This week has been one of dramatic beginnings and endings for many in the larger world, with the departure of the Yemeni president, the beginning in earnest of the political campaign season for people who may or may not be seeking the Republican nomination for President of the US, and the graduation of droves of US high school and college students. In my personal sphere, the beginning and ending was echoed, as my son finished up our homeschooling year by sitting for his SATs (the end of a huge struggle for him) and starting rehearsals for his role as Borachio, Don Jon's hard-drinking accomplice, in a community theater summer production of "Much Ado About Nothing", I finally got access to Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet", and had a dear friend (the second in two months) start chemotherapy while reassuring everyone around him that it is no big deal. Such a week requires a word that can cover a lot of ground, and work on many different levels. The only one I found that really tied these disparate events together was "spirit", and that is the word of the week.

If you aren't familiar with the Expansion Joints project, it all began over at Porky's Expanse!.

The rules are just as they are described over at Porky's: as much narrative as you can cram into fifteen words, one of which must be the word of the week.

This can take the form of

1. An epyllion,or litle epic, a stand-alone fifteen-word narrative, or

2. An epos, or 'epic'. Instead of an independent 15-word story, you can choose to develop someone else's story from a previous week, or extend your own story from week to week. Just write the next installment. If it has 15 words, uses the word of the week, and continues the story, you've done it.

There are two important things to think about if you choose epos. First, you should have the permission of the person who wrote the story you will develop. If anyone writes a 15-word epyllion or adds to an epos and is happy for others to develop it later, please say so, with something like 'for use in an epos'. Second, by using specific elements of someone else's story, we technically create a derivative work, so it's best to avoid this.

There are a number of generous contributors who have given express permission to use some of their writing as the basis for epos:

Porky, the founder of the project, offers up all of his contributions.

GDMNW has opened up the three stories here.

Dave G_Nplusplus makes any of his Expanders! stories available for use in an epos.

Arlequin has an epos running on his Expanders! page, and he has graciously extended permission to play with any or all of the contributions there.

Andy, over at The Creepy Corridor, has also made his epos posts available for expansion.

And, as always, feel free to use any of the stories on this blog that are tagged as "Expansion Joints" in an epos.

Words that have previously made an appearance in an Expanders!/Expansion Joints include: food, fort, stuff, elf, rogue, pass, fool, hammer, note, temper, table, twisted, missing, and sacrifice, in case you are of an historical bent, or wish to write a complete set.

When you've finished writing your entry for this week, either post your 15-word story directly in the comments here, or leave a link in the comments to the blog page where we can find it.


  1. Your intro always adds a lot. I'm off to ponder, and hope to be back sooner than I was last week.

  2. Another carefully chosen word with a back story and relevance!

    My offering this week is;

    With no spirit for another fight, the items dropped were as good as lost now.

    Hosted here.

  3. It is well chosen word this week and I thank you for your efforts in the maintainence of the expansion project.

    Here is another little tid bit from some corner of my mind...

    A moment of laxity spawns a lifetime of heresy, yet a pure spirit will prevail.


  4. @ Arlequín - What those items are is what I want to know now. I wonder how much you're planning ahead, or can plan ahead, not knowing the next word? Writing an epos when I was choosing words wasn't too bad, but when someone else decides it must be a little nerve-wracking. It's an admirable venture.

    @ Captain Kellen - Another like last week's that can be read into and reread into. The format holds a lot of mystery and for me you use it very well.

    Mine is here then, a whole two days ahead of the next this week. Look at me go.

  5. Dave G has written an epyllion in a comment under mine; it's a very good one.

  6. @Porky - I don't plan ahead, I just take what comes and try to work it into the narrative.

    The items dropped will be no doubt a mixture of food and other scavenged items. Clearly there are people back at wherever, who rely on the team going out 'there' ... the problem is, does the individual risk his/her life more than necessary for the others' survival?

  7. Wonderful work from all of you!

    I apologize deeply for not commenting more fully or even getting my own contributions up, but I have not been in any condition to write coherently. I promise to rectify the situation ASAP!