Last month I threw down the gauntlet and it did ring upon the stony flags like a particularly shit bell, a bit flat, not all that sonorous, kind of metaphorical. Despite this some of you rose to the challenge, writing one thousand English words about a heart wrenching picture of a young lady in a yellow macintosh, standing in the rain, holding a grenade. Also she’s crying, it’s beautiful in that sad sombre way that the emotional turmoil of others is. In the intervening month I discovered it was the work of a man called Marek Okon.
At the time of writing two people have sent me their take on the picture, one of which runs to nearly two and a half thousand words (way to go and make the rest of us look bad Dawn!). There were others who expressed an interest in participating but what with life being the complex and insidious beast that it is, things get in the way, time slips through your fingers, you get abducted by less than benevolent star people, and the story doesn’t get written. All the same I’m calling this month an unqualified success. Primarily because I wasn’t the only person involved, and secondly because the post in which the challenge was made received nearly 140 hits. That comes to about 7.5% of all visits to this blog making it, by some distance, the most visited page on the site. I offer many thanks to the stalwart folks of twitter and their retweets and mentions, especially those of Ms. Ali of the Georges over at 12 books in 12 months.
I’ve also come up with a name for this wee challenge, one a little bit more catchy than “that thing on my blogs with the pictures, yo”, or words to that approximate effect. Hence forth it is the Pictonaut Challenge it will even have its own special hashtag on the twitterscope. This is because I am so terrifyingly organised; people, nations and Gods quake before the might of my inept organisational might. The reason for the name is quite straight forward it comes from the Latin pictus meaning paint and the Ancient Greek nautes meaning sailor. (I can hear the classicists screaming with rage at my combination of two different dead languages into one word, I’m a proper rebel and there is nought you can do to stop me). The actual literal meaning of paint-sailors is of course quite ridiculous, there’s no argument there. However the combination of the two evokes something that puts me in mind of exploration and adventure. The suffix “naut” makes everything sounds cool be it astronaut, cosmonaut, argonaut, or twitternaut; but not juggernaut, that’s actually from a Sanskrit word meaning “a huge wagon bearing an image of the god Krishna, which (apocryphally) devotees allowed themselves to be crushed under its wheels in sacrifice” before later evolving to mean a word for an unstoppable object or conveyance, the presence of the naut is completely coincidental. But that is another matter entirely.
Anywho, the wordascopes (such a friendlier and less aggressive term than submissions) of my fellow Pictonauts for the month of September are as follows:
Dawn Hazle – A heart-wrenching tale of loss in post-apocalyptic Britain.
The Rogue Verbumancer – A tale of a man pushed too far. (This is me by the way, in case that wasn’t obvious)
Ali George – A girl and her brother change the world.
I’m quite impressed by the diversity of the stories. We all had the same image and have produced very different things. This is pretty much exactly what I was looking for and thoroughly enjoyed reading them all. I’m going to endeavour to keep all of the wordascopes and the subject image for each month collated on their very own page which should (foul dark Gods of the internet willing) be accessible at the top of this blog along with the projects page and my slightly deranged bio.
If you did manage to complete a wordascope but haven’t yet informed me, if you shoot me a tweet with a link to it or fire off an email with it as an attachment I’ll endeavour to keep the pages and posts all up to date.
If you wanted to take part but were unable to do so be it through mundane occurrences and inconveniences (like work) or more esoteric concerns (like being held to ransom by a colony of sentient shoes) then there is no need to worry (unless you were held to ransom by sentient shoes, that’s probably something worthy of a great deal of worry, but worry unrelated to my current topic), this is not a one-off event. I’m going to be doing this every damn month, be it nebulous November or gelatinous June. The next challenge for the brave aspirants to the title of Pictonaut will arrive on the first October, it will come screaming out of the heavens, belly down and trailing fire in its wake. Together we shall vanquish it in a method which lacks the drama that this somewhat melodramatic sentence may suggest!