Monday, August 29, 2011

Expansion Joints Challenge, part 26; "Blow"

When this exercise was hosted over at Porky's Expanse!, he always chose the word for the Expanders! challenge based on some relevant happening or theme. Here on the East Coast of the U.S., Hurricane Irene dominated the news this week, breaking out of the usual storm pattern to strike the heavily-populated Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states with high winds, storm surges, and torrential floodwaters causing significant physical damage to powerlines, trees, roads, and buildings, all at what ordinarily would have been the peak of the tourist season, which will undoubtedly result in a heavy economic hit to the region, as well. In the midst of awareness of such devastation, it is easy to shut down or hyperfocus, and miss that ordinary life is still happening all around us. For example, police outside of the disaster areas are still doing their routine jobs, making routine speeding stops, but sometimes, in the midst of the ordinary routine, they find things they didn't expect to. And finally, still going with the idea of exploding our everyday experience of ordinary things, lest you think that this week's post is going to be too heavy, I leave you with images of effervescent light and beauty from an unexpected source. The single word of inspiration common to them all? "Blow" - 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.

C'nor, at Lunching on Lamias, gives consent to use any of his entries, which are partly located on his blog, but mostly strewn throughout the comment threads here.

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, sacrifice, spirit, rush, tie, line, free, break, cut, opening, close, shock, balance, and field, 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. Yes, that's my guys, in an out like a hurricane, hence;

    Travel fast, locate any available supplies, deliver a decisive blow, grab the stuff and run.

  2. Right behind Arlequín, Milo the Gnome skillfully dodged the blow meant for him by Irene!

  3. @ Arlequín - It reads very well, with a wonderful cascading flow. Those early adjectives and multiple syllables give way to singles and the blunt 'stuff'.

    @ Captain Kellen - This feels like an epos. It suggests a wacky wider narrative crossing over into our world. It's zany good fun whatever and it amazes me what you do with the form.

    Mine is here, with a bonus in the comments from ArmChairGeneral that outshines it by an order of magnitude.