When it comes to “don’t dos” I’m like a bull in a ring and that’s the red flag. It’s almost impossible for me to resist doing what I’m told not to do.
And yes, that does make me a lousy at word games like Password and Taboo.
As hard as it is for me (and maybe you) to resist using a word or phrase on purpose, it’s fun to try. As having fun with words is the purpose of these 7-Minute Challenges, for this prompt I double dog dare you to put on your logologist’s hat and write a lipogram.* Say what?
Poetry Challenge #25
Double Dog Dare You to Delete the E
A lipogram consisting of writing paragraphs or longer works in which a particular letter or group of letters is avoided. In its easiest form, a writer avoids using uncommon letters like X, J, Q, or Z. Or avoids words with “ing” or “ed” endings. More difficult lipograms avoid common letters like A, T or E—E being the most common letter in the English language.
If you think avoiding using E is tough, consider this: Ernest Vincent Wright wrote an entire 50,000 word novel, GADSBY, without using the letter E.
Well, dang. If Wright could write a whole novel without "E", surely you and I can write a poem without "E", can’t wii?
Begin with a poem you’ve already written. Revise it by deleting every “E” word and replacing it with another word, if necessary.
Or, if you’d rather, revise the poem using only “E” words.
Or, try writing an entirely new poem without the letter “E”.
(And no fair intentionally mis-spelling words to avoid using “E”, that’s cheating.)
American logologist A Ross Eckler Jr. recreated Mary Had a Little Lamb six times, excluding different letters each time. To see the results of his efforts, click over to Wikipedia.
Set the timer for 7 minutes.
Select a poem to revise.
Start deleting "E" . . . I dare you!
*We have award-winning author/VCFA faculty advisor Tim Wynne Jones to thank (or curse) for this prompt. He shared his passion for logology during a VCFA lecture last summer.