Edgar Instructs

April 27, 2011 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Great Hermes (God of Writing) has led me to the amazing study of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. I’ve mentioned that E.A.P. is scary, creepy, gruesome and yes, funny. To that list I now add: instructive. Go think: all this time I thought he was just a scary dude, but no, he actually discloses in detail how to write articles and novels. For the benefit of my dear writing colleagues, I will here reveal the method.

Articles are quite easy, really. One simply obtains copies of the following; ‘Lord Brougham’s Speeches’, ‘Cobbett’s Complete Works’, ‘The New Slang Syllabus’, ‘The Whole Art of Snubbing’, ‘Prentice’s Billingsgate (folio edition) and ‘Lewis G. Clarke on Tongue’. I suggest the ‘Complete Works of Conrad Black’ as a suitable modern alternative to all of the foregoing. This is important to give your writing the proper scope. Poe advises us that these tomes can be purchased cheaply at auction houses but I found most in a dumpster behind the book store. Black’s works can be had quite reasonably at any remaindered dealer. In fact, you may be lucky enough to be paid to take several away. They make excellent door stops and cats adore them as scratching posts.

The next step is to take these books and thoroughly cut them up and place them into a large sieve. Sift out all content that may be termed normal and then set aside all of the ‘bloated phrases’ which you will then place into a large pepper-castor (shaker) with longitudinal holes so an entire sentence can get through undamaged. Shake it vigorously. The mixture is now ready. We now take a sheet of blank paper and ‘anoint it with the white of a gander’s egg.’ I found a thin smear of common white glue works just as well. Now, take the pepper castor (shaker) and spread the contents over the surface. The results will be beautiful to behold and Poe guarantees Pulitzer quality results to astound the most fastidious editor. It matters not if the sentences are upside down or not.

Writing a novel is not much harder. To do so, one must experience ‘the sensations of life’. To do this he advises getting into a scrape that no one has ever gotten into before, such as falling asleep inside a large bell, being swallowed by an earthquake, falling from a hot-air balloon or getting stuck fast, upside down in a chimney. From events such as these, one will be able to write knowledgably of the matter at hand.

If you must write for erudite society, he advises that including snippets of French, Italian, German, Latin, Greek or Choctaw will surely raise the quality of your work that it may become scholarly, or as we say in Italian, “diventare dotta.” Of course to totally impress the educated we must include Latin or Greek, as these demonstrate knowledge of wisdom, or as the Greeks are fond of saying, “γλώσσα του σοφία”

I have applied these protocols to a number of manuscripts and sent them off to publishers around the globe. Without exception, each one has replied by same-day courier with a fat sac of cash, a generous contract and a book tour deal. My new Porsche arrives in a week and John Grisham is on my answering machine asking me to join him for beer. Today’s mail held a letter from Conrad Black’s lawyers. I am on my way.

Take heed all ye scribes who have ears to hear. Thank you, Edgar.

pacis exsisto vobis 

©Dave Jones/ Thunderbridge Productions 2011


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