Ian McDowell’s unique antho

Mon 6 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Want a handwritten story by Kelly about a “rapidly expanding cat”? There’s just over a day left in Ian McDowell’s auction of to benefit his father which includes that and some other exclusives. Here’s the auction and here’s Ian on the book:

Hand-written fiction by NEIL GAIMAN and othersIn 1989, Ian McDowel (MORDRED’S CURSE, MERLIN’S GIFT, “Geraldine” in Poppy Z. Brite’s LOVE IN VEIN) wrote CRAZY CREATIVE WRITING: STORY STARTERS AND WORD BANKS, a reproducable workbook for teachers of grades 1-4, which was published in 1995 by Carson-Dellosa, an educational pubilshing company based in Greensboro, NC.  The book consisted of 30 “Story Starters” — that is, the first paragraphs of stories, such as “Donna was in her room, playing a game on her computer.  Suddenly, a big fat toad hopped out from under the bed and jumped on the monitor.  “Give me a kiss, Cute Stuff,” it said.  “I’m a prince.”  The reader was then instructed to WRITE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT on the ruled lines following the first paragraph, and use as many words as possible from the provided “Word Bank” while doing so.  Each Story Starter was accompanied by an illustration and 12-16 blank lines on which to write, as well as the aforementioned Word Bank.

I’m Ian and will stop talking about myself in the third person now.  In the later 90s, I started pestering various professional writer friends to complete a page in one of my contributor’s copies of this book.  Quite a few complied.  NEIL GAIMAN took the story of the Frog Prince described above.  POPPY Z. BRITE took the story of Abe, the boy who’d always wanted to join the army, in a VERY perverse direction.  Caitlin R. Kiernan wrote a lovely mini-story about Hannah, who woke up one day to find she’d turned into a horrible monster.  Kelly Link wrote about Julia and her rapidly expanding cat, turning it into a mini-epic.  Other contributors included Mehitobel Wilson, Phillip Nutman, Rain Graves, and Rachel Manija Brown.

The stories are short, but they’re original pieces of fiction which will never be published anywhere (I’m pretty sure they can’t be, as the begining of each story, the part I wrote, was Work-for-Hire and presumably still owned by Carson-Dellosa, who would not be pleased with the decidedly adult direction some of these authors took the material).  Neil Gaiman’s, for instance, is 150 words long, and like most of the other contributions, imaginative and laugh-out-loud funny.  Each contribution is in the author’s own hand writing.  You can’t have a more limited edition, or a more unique collectable (and yes, I know “more unique” is a barbarism) than this.

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