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To: Randy Robertson
From: Elizabeth Morris
Subject: Tweets

Dear Randy,
As I’ve been finding no time to tweet (reading and writing the paper) I did some quick math to try to dissuade you from making us tweet the entire novel.

1) Let’s say we tweet 120 chapters of the 135 chapter (plus extracts and epiloque book.) That’s 240 tweets (serious and funny).

2) Each tweet is 140 characters, or less. However, considering, I’m going to use the max number of characters.
3) That’s 33,600 characters.
4) Let’s say again that each word is about 5 letters. This is generous. That’s 6,720 words.
5) My almost done midterm paper is about 1,720 words. So, to be generous, let’s round up to 2,000 when it’s done.
6) My midterm paper is worth 30% of my grade. You are asking us to tweet a word count equal to more than three midterm paper’s worth. Even if I were to be scant in this final calculation, it would be two midterm paper’s worth.

7) My tweeting is worth a small portion of the 20% of my participation grade.

As you can see, the work you are asking us to do for this is overbearing, considering it’s being assigned during the same two weeks as our midterm paper which is worth a considerably higher percentage. Of course I’m going to give precedence to the reading and the paper over this assignment. I would also like to point out that twitterature is by their definition (which can be redefined at any point, especially considering how new it is) twenty tweets OR LESS per book. Which means that our tweetage could cover 12 books.

I hope this dissuades so I don’t feel guilty if I can never get the assignment done.

All my affections,
Liz

From: Randy Roberston
To: Elizabeth Morris
Subject: re:Tweets

Wow, Ms. Morris, you should be a lawyer. Okay, let’s do this: stick to the original Twitterature formula–20 Tweets, but now over the course of the whole book. That’s still a total of 40 Tweets (20 for the serious version, 20 for the parody), but that should make Liz Morris’s life a lot easier. I’ll announce the changed assignment in class tomorrow; if I forget to do so, please remind me.

All my best,
Randy

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I’ll keep updating this until I get the entire way through. One of each is me seriously trying to summarize it, one is me doing it so that I might vent my frustrations about how terribly angry this all makes me. Not necessarily the fact that dear Randy assigned it so much as that it exists at all. Can you guess which is which?

Though, to be fair, Nadia and I were discussing how this would be a very interesting constraint, if it were done very meticulously. However, I still say that the people who could do this well, the ones who would use it as a wonderful poetic medium, are not the ones who will be making these bastardizations of the books.

Amazon’s reviews of the Twitterture book:

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

Extracts
a) Whales are large. Whales are often in literature. Whales are sometimes referred to as leviathans. Whales are very influential and important to this book.

b) Whales are everywhere! The bible! Sea! Songs! Science! As the author I’m surprised no one’s written a book about hunting a whale, as they have so permeated our society!

Chapter 1–Loomings

a) ohai A/s/l? jus call me 1shma3l. u wanna go sailing 4 a wha1e? ;) k c u soon

b) I’m Ishmael. The sea is addictive. I like being a sailor because I get paid to go to sea. I have a huge desire to hunt a very large whale.

Chapter 2–Carpet Bag

a) Packed up some shirts but missed my ship. Looked for an inn. Found the shadiest one-the Spouter Inn. Oh well, I’m poor. Let’s check it out.

b) Missed ship. Was cold. Wandered and wondered. Found the Spouter Inn. Went inside to inquire about a room.

Chapter 3–The Spouter-Inn

a) No rooms? But I don’t wanna share with a harpooner. Yum dumplings. I’ll just sleep on this bench then. Brrr. Fine, I’ll share. GAH CANNIBAL

b) Inn’s perfectly cheap. Ate dinner. No rooms, though. Slept on a bench before deciding to share. My roommate’s a cannibal. Didn’t like that.

Chapter 4–The Counterpane

a) woke up spooning with @Queequeg :) and his tomahawk :( remembered when my step?mom sent me to bed for 16 hrs lol Q got dressed like a weirdo

b) Awoke to @Queequeg’s arm about me and his tomahawk in my side. He became dressed in the rudest fashion.

Chapter 5–Breakfast

a) Sailing men of all sorts were herded like cows into breakfast. @Queequeg harpooned his meat!

b) nomnomnmnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnom breakfast

Chapter 6–The Street

a) Went for a stroll, saw a bunch of characters, from the inexperienced sailor to the weathered man. Beautiful women in New Bedford.

b) Left the inn, saw some peeps, scoped out some hot chicks, off to Chapel.

Chapter 7– The Chapel

a) Our brothers of the sea have died here. With a solemn heart I sat down for the service.

b) Checked out the tombstones, saw @Queequeg hanging out. Let’s get my God on!

Chapter 8–The Pulpit

a) YO THIS CHAPEL IS JUST LIKE A BOAT

b) What a beautiful chapel, it is much like a ship on the sea.

Chapter 9– The Sermon

a) This Jonah shit is fucked. I’m gon’ go kill a whale now.

b) The preacher gave a fantastic sermon about Jonah and sin and ended on his knees.

Chapter 10–A Bosom Friend

a) Queequeg and I decided to be friends for life and bedfellows once more.

b) @Queequeg and I are hetero life partners! sMoKeD up, cuddled. No homo, though.

Chapter 11–Night Gown

a) Queequeg and I continued to chat. Fell asleep, woke up and felt dreadful. Q&I partook in his pipe.

b) @Queequeg and I fucked around for awhile. Woke up really fucked up so we smoked some more.

Chapter 12–Biographical

a) Queequeg told me of his royal hertiage and his advertures at sea. What an experienced and wise man.

b) YO @Queequeg is a fucking kinG! And he knows how to make this shrunken head into a bong lolz

Chapter 13–Wheelbarrow

a) @Queequeg n i rolled down the the docks 2 1/2 deep me him and the wheelbarrow lol got in a scuffle

b) Queequeg and I took a wheelbarrow of our things to the docks. We boarded the ship, Q almost threw someone overboard!

Chapter 14–Nantucket

a) Nothing of mention happened on the voyage. Nantucket is beautiful.

b) boredd ;)

Chapter 15–Chowder

a) We arrived at our inn and was served endless amounts of chowder by our hostess.

b) nomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnom chowder

Chapter 16–The Ship

a) Yojo suggests that I choose the ship. After considering three, I decided upon the Pequod. What characters run that ship!

b) @Yojo told me to find our whale ship. Craigslist ftW!

Chapter 17–Ramadan

a) Queequeg has taken to the most peculiar rest and fast that I have ever encountered. He only just rose today.

b) “Kick in the door, I look on the floor / It’s my bedfellow Queequeg and he’s fastin’ sum mo'” Cannibals ain’t shit

Chapter 18–His Mark

a) I cleverly convinced the captain that Queequeg is indeed Christian! My skill with rhetoric is even impressive to myself today.

b) Pulled a fast one on the captains for @Queequeg. You’re my bro, man!

Chapter 19–The Prophet

a) Met a queer fellow named Elijah. He both followed and annoyed us.

b) Motherfucker tried to slip us up but @Queequeg and I wouldn’t take his shit.

Chapter 20–All Astir

a) Busy on the ship.

b) Yo, shits busy, no time to tweet-haha

Chapter 21–Going Aboard

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#1
Freedom

I was willing. Laying this scalp against clay was a thanks. That was anguish. King C.—knight in shining skins.

#2
Name

Who? I? Lips to soil, Lord C told of a sixth sol circuit. I is for your flock.

#3
His God

My maker crumble. RC mark a pure text, a man/pa/fume cut away.

#4
Family

Two bred one. One put the cheek on the ground. One knows not the two. One knows the One. Crusoe.

I know these journal entries may seem sparse, but they actually took me a very long time to write, because they are lipograms. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipogram ) Lipograms are passages, or sometimes entire books, written without certain letters. I decided to choose four things that Friday lost when he became Crusoe’s slave. Then I wrote tiny (because they were so hard to do) journal entries in which none of the letters from the original denied entity could be used. By taking out as many as six letters each time, I was extremely constrained in what I could say, which was appropriate. Friday, too, was denied these things, just as I was denied them in language.

“Freedom” was interesting because, with the omission of the letter m, Friday could never say “I am” and thus never declare himself in any state. He could not independently “be.” It was also hard to say that he placed his head against the ground because so many body parts have o’s or e’s in them (think about it—head, cheek, ear, eyes, foot, toes, feet,). The same is true for how Friday put his head on the ground/dirt/floor/earth.

In “Name,” I have Friday describing how Crusoe named him Friday (“a sixth sun circuit.”) In writing this, I got stuck with not being able to say that Crusoe or Friday were both a “man.” It was also impossible to have Friday declare “I am” again, even to say, “I am your slave.” Instead, I have him say, “I is for your flock.” Indeed, Friday was the first human element of Crusoe’s flock. By being forced to say, “I is” Friday becoming part of the flock is more like his identity is the flock, that Crusoe transferred the “I” of Friday to his own liking, and his own flock, instead of the Friday before Crusoe, the one we never meet, joining. This entry also has the second name that I had give Friday give Crusoe (first King C then Lord C) because of the restraint. However, this reflects that the relationship between them is slightly blurred. While Friday was his slave, Crusoe also found his first companion in twenty-five years in Friday.

The “His God” portion, which I thought would be the easiest, was actually the hardest. It is nearly impossible to say God without an o or I (Absolute Being, All Knowing, All Powerful, Allah, Almighty, Creator, Divine Being, Father, God, Holy Spirit, Infinite Spirit, Jah, Jehovah, King of Kings, Lord, Maker, Yahweh, daemon, deity, demigod, demon, divinity, holiness, idol, master, numen, omnipotent, power, prime mover, providence, soul, spirit, totem, tutelary, universal life force, world spirit(and as you can see, the few that did not have an a or I had other letters from “his name”)). I probably struggled with this for an hour. I also could not stand that I could not say any of the words “of,” “from,” or “for.” I also struggled because I could not be in the present tense because of the s in “His,” I could not be in the past tense because of the d in “God” and I could not be in the future tense because of the I (which I would need to write “will) in “his.” Because of this, the syntax is totally garbled. What I was trying to say was that Friday’s god fell apart and Crusoe taught him about the Bible, and the trinity. The struggle here, if anything, reflects the struggle that most people have with defining their religion, and then defending it.

Obviously, Friday meets his father after he “gives himself” to Crusoe, but by family, I meant more generally his society and his culture. By letting Crusoe be his Master, he gave up his way of dress, his daily routines, and the people with which he spent most of his days. Of course, Crusoe saved him from being eaten, but when asked, Friday also admits that he misses his home, and his reuniting with his father is one of the more touching moments in the book. By omitting the letters in family, I could again not use “of,” “from,” or “for,” which was appropriate because Friday not long was of or from his origins, but was for Crusoe almost entirely.  I could not say “I” anymore, and so Friday started from almost a third person perspective speaking of where his family came from and who his family was now.  His detachment from the entry parallels his never returning to his homeland.

I hope that these explanations have helped back my argument for these short journal entries from the perspective of Friday. They really were hard to write, but in the process of writing them, very rewarding in helping me dig deeper into Fridays’s perspective.

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“The bookshelves of mine, which were of a high quality, glossy with a sheen that reflected light much as glass does, were lined with the various trinkets and, in my mind, treasures that I had collected over the years. There are cans now empty, their papers removed to let them shine, this shine enhanced by the help of silver polish. While I know such things both do not exist and are exceedingly impractical, I always yearn for the cans to be pressed from gold. I also have a collection of rings that I acquired on a voyage to Mexico when I was but five years of age. I also have various other things, presently: first, diagrams of jewelry, viz. necklaces, bracelets, diadems, carefully cut from magazines and pasted to cards, which are propped upright; one very good spoon that my grandmother had presented to my mother and father on their wedding day, made from the purest silver that my grandmother could obtain at the time; silver of a more reprehensible quality (“Not at all to my liking”); and a collection of pieces of eight, doubloons, and gold coins, each of which have been boiled in a cast iron pot and shined to a nearly reflective state while I mused upon my relationship with the Lord.”

Also, today Cornelius and I had this conversation at the Gaming Club table at the activities fair.

C: How’s Crusoe?
E: Kind of a dick. He’s hanging out with his slave and all.
C: His slave!?
E: Yeah, Friday.
C: Friday was a slave? In the children’s edition, they were really good friends!
E: When they first met, Friday fell at his feet and Crusoe taught Friday to call him Master.
C: I mean, he was always sort of a butler, but never a slave!

At this point, I picked up one of the balloon animals he had made, a butterfly, and told him, “This is your childhood.” I then popped the balloon.

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