Whence the Friday Phenomenon?
UPDATE: My Friday Phenomenon challenge has inspired a copy-cat challenge on Twitter. Yay for impact!
Since launching my Friday Phenomenon challenge yesterday, a few people have asked to see the entry I wrote to win the previous one. It was only by winning Mark Lewney‘s challenge in the first place that I was allowed* to set my own. You can see where I got some of my inspiration in the way he set his own question
So here it all is, for what it’s worth:
Mark’s original challenge: (emphasis mine)
I would like, if I may, to subvert the Friday Phenomenon challenge this week and introduce an element of jeopardy. Or rather, Jeopardy.
Your challenge is to write a <51-word description, explanation or, preferably, a story, piece of prose, poem, haiku, or indeed any literary form which deliberately leaves a lot for the reader to ‘get’, about a phenomenon. But the twist this week is that YOU CHOOSE THE PHENOMENON, and I and the rest of us have to guess what it is.
The winner will be chosen utterly arbitrarily according to any criterion I feel like – it could be a simple story with an obvious answer, or a fiendishly obscured phenomenon which I don’t guess and which not many people know much about anyway.
This is a good little workshop to get you thinking in ‘arty’ ways you may never have tried before. Your chosen scientific or mathematical phenomenon could be one we’ve already had, or your undergraduate/PhD project, or your favourite demo or science centre exhibit. You could start with a wiki page and look at some of the diagrams – what do they ‘kind-of-look-like’ to you? What are the main characters here, and how do they interact? Can you give them a personality or emotion (anthropomorphising of natural forces positively ENCOURAGED this week, please!), or could you turn them into an animal or something?
You do NOT have to be clever for this. You need to be whimsical and scatty, the opposite of what science and gainful employment usually require. I would love to see what happens when your brain does the literary equivalent of dancing unselfconsciously at a wedding.
I pretty much want a tattoo of that last bit.
My (winning!) submission:
I racked my brain for ages trying to come up with parodies of songs, especially to the tune of “What’s This? What’s This?” from The Nightmare Before Christmas, but couldn’t make much of only 50 words. I thought about nursery rhymes, but realised that Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star had that one pretty much nailed.
In the end, I came up with this internal monologue, which I think counts as “arty”. Let me know if you’d rather I wrote it in French, or something!
Must repeat. Exactly the same. Details matter…
3 counterclockwise turns. Check.
Bow head, ruffle tail. Check.
One foot perch. Hold it… I hate this bit. But it’s so worth it. Check.
Now the tricky bit. … done.
Hit bar with LEFT side. Not making that mistake again!
Can you guess what it represents? Or, more interestingly, can you suggest something else that fits? For example, Noel Jackson wondered whether it was a “way of doing Tequila shots?”, which hadn’t occured to me, but sounds like fun.
Now you know where I’m coming from, why not submit your own entry to my Friday Phenomenon Challenge?
*of course, I could have just done this, given how informal this whole thing is, but there is a certain amount of netiquette to consider