Jan 172011
 

The First Annual Numéro Cinq Erasure Contest

Here’s a mini-contest. Not so hard, not as daunting as writing a rondeau or translating from the Dutch without a dictionary. The words have all been written for you. You just have to find the story. This should be a dream for those of us who are imaginatively challenged. The text below is from Monsieur L’Abbat’s Fencing, or, the Use of the Small Sword published in Dublin in 1734 (text and illustrations from Project Gutenberg). Dg is not sure what makes a good erasure text, so this is somewhat experimental. Someone suggested using a passage from the Bible, but that seemed vaguely blasphemous. A sword-fighting instruction book has the advantage of a certain drama in the choice of diction. Conflict is of the essence.

Rules: There are always rules. An erasure is a text created by taking words out of an existing text. In the best of all possible worlds, you’d have been able to submit the original text with words blotted out—this would make for a certain drama of presentation. And dg supposes it would be possible for you to convert the text into a jpeg and then use a photo processing program to effect the erasures and then submit the final jpeg. But somehow the mechanics of this seem anti-inspirational. For the purposes of this contest, you just need to take out the words you don’t want and submit the remaining text. You can’t change the order of the words and you can’t change the capitalization. The words in your new text have to be exactly the same and in the same order as they were in the original. You can insert your own punctuation. Try to make it something sensible–a love story, perhaps. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a story. It could be a poem or a scene. Let the words take you where they listeth.

Remember: at NC we value wit and arrogance as the paramount literary values.

The contest is open to absolutely anyone. Newcomers and people who cannot speak English are especially welcome. (People with memory loss issues would seem especially adapted to this contest.) Just sign in on the comment box and erase away.

Entries, as usual in these contests, must be submitted in the comment box at the bottom of this post (yes, yes, in the past, some NC members have been deeply confused on this point and entered under completely unrelated posts). Multiple entries are perfectly acceptable.

Entries must be submitted between midnight January 15 and midnight January 31.

There are no other rules except, of course, Gary Garvin will notice a loophole and dg will retroactively have to rewrite the rules. If anything is unclear, please mention it in the comment box.

Munificent prizes will be awarded (come to think of it, we forgot to award prizes at the NC party in Montpelier) as usual. A list of actual prizes will be provided upon request (send your requests to the chair of the Official Judges Panel).

dg

Here is the official contest UR-text

It begins here. When you have for some time used yourself to push and parry at the Wall, according to the Rules that I have laid down, you must, (tho’ ’tis not the Rule of Schools, especially when you push with Strangers,) you must I say, when you push with a Scholar of your own Master, push and parry a Thrust alternately, disengaging, and then do the same Feinting, and sometime after you shou’d make the other Thrusts, telling one another your design, which makes you execute and parry them by Rule, especially if you reflect on the Motions and Postures of the Lunges and Parades. Being a little formed to this method, you may, being warned of the Thrust, parry it, telling the Adversary where you intend your Riposte, which puts him in a condition to avoid it, and gives him room to redouble after his Parade, either strait or by a Feint, at which you are not surprised, expecting by being forewarned the Thrust he is to make, which puts you easily on your Defence and Offence: by this manner of Exercise, you may not only improve faster, but with more art, the Eye and Parts being insensibly disposed to follow the Rule, whereas without this Method, the difference that there is between a lesson of assaulting a Man who forewarns you, helps you, and lets you hit him, and another who endeavours to defend himself and hit you, is, that except the Practice of Lessons be very well taught by long exercise, you fall into a Disorder which is often owing to the want of Art more than to any Defect in Nature. The taking a Lesson well, and the Manner of Pushing and Parrying which I have just described, may be attained to by Practice only, but some other things are necessary to make an Assault well; for besides the Turn of the Body, the Lightness, Suppleness and Vigour which compose the exteriour Part, you must be stout and prudent, qualities so essential, that without them you cannot act with a good Grace, nor to the purpose. If you are apprehensive, besides, that you don’t push home, or justly, fear making you keep back your Thrust, or follow the Blade, the least Motion of the Enemy disorders you, and puts you out of a Condition to hit him, and to avoid his Thrusts. Without Prudence, you cannot take the advantage of the situation, motions designs of the enemy, which changing very often, according to his Capacity and to the Measure, demonstrates that an ill concerted Enterprise exposes more to Danger than it procures Advantage: in order to turn this Quality to an advantage, you are to observe the Enemy’s fort and feeble, whether he attack or defend; if he attack it will be either by plain Thrusts strait, or disengaged, or by Feints or Engagements, which may be opposed by Time, or Ripostes: if he keeps on his Defence, it is either to take the Time or to Riposte. In case of the first; you shou’d, by half Thrusts, oblige him to push in order to take a Counter to his Time, and if he sticks to his Parade you must serve in what Manner, in order to disorder him by Feints, and push where he gives Light. And ends here.

  154 Responses to “The First Annual Numéro Cinq Erasure Contest”

  1. But I thought the party itself was the prize. :)

  2. Here is a minimalist entry, pushing towards aphorism:

    Push where he give Light.

  3. Oops. “Push where he gives Light.”

    Correct the above and pull this comment?

  4. Of course I can make it shorter:

    Push.

  5. Thanks, dg! This seems an easy way back into writing for someone who has been too distracted lately to do much of that.

  6. according to the Rules you must design; execute

    you may intend to follow the Rule
    whereas the lesson is that Disorder is Art

    Prudence, an attack is in order
    take Time to disorder. push.

  7. According to Monsieur L’Abbat.

  8. Queries: (1) Are multiple entries permitted, as usual? (2) May we title our entries?

    • Ok, here we go again. It is clearly stipulated in the rules that multiple entries are allowed. And the Judges have conferred and will only allow titles taken from the UR-text—in other words, you may use the first words of your entry as a title.

  9. Well, OK. I was going to call this “Thrusting: A User’s Manual,” but my plan was foiled by an arbitrary and capricious rule regarding titles. :)

    I HAVE LAID DOWN

    I have laid down.

    you must, you must I say, push and Thrust alternately
    and then sometime after make the other Thrusts faster
    but with more art.

    endeavour, by long exercise, Pushing well.
    the exteriour Part must be stout—so essential.
    act with a good Grace, to the purpose.

    don’t keep back your Thrust, or avoid Thrusts.
    take advantage of the situation by plain Thrusts
    or take the Time, by half Thrusts, to push and push.

  10. Wait, so we can all submit now?

  11. “When You”

    When you Rule Schools, you shou’d design Parades.

    you may, where you intend to Parade, either improve art or fear the Blade.

    in order to defend Time, you shou’d Parade in what Manner gives Light.

  12. Time yourself and execute them, especially on parades. Defend the Disorder. The manner of pushing which I have described may be necessary. You must act with purpose. If you are apprehensive, don’t fear the enemy. Hit him without prudence. Take advantage of the situation. The enemy exposes more danger. You are to observe the enemy. Attack! You must serve Disorder and push.

  13. time to push

    laid down ’tis you
    a scholar disengaging
    you room surprised
    by the Thrust
    which puts Parts
    insensibly
    between you and him
    and another
    and the very long fall
    which is more than Nature

    Pushing
    some necessary Body
    without Grace nor fear
    making you follow
    the motion–you you him–
    his advantage
    changing
    if he be opposed to take
    the first push
    and you disorder him

  14. When you have some time with a Scholar disposed to a lesson, take advantage of the situation. Capacity to turn order to disorder gives Light.

  15. It begins here—

    When you have used yourself at the Wall, you must push Strangers, you must, I say, push a Scholar, your own Master, push alternately, and then do the same sometime after you execute them. If you reflect on the Postures of Being, you may redouble your Offence. By this manner of Exercise, you improve Art, being insensibly disposed to the difference between a Man and another. You fall into a Disorder which is Art, more than any Defect in Nature.

    The Lesson may be attained by Practice only. Assault the Body, the Lightness, Suppleness and Vigour. Compose the exteriour Part, so essential. You cannot act with good Grace, nor to the purpose. If you are apprehensive, push home, keep your Thrust, follow the Blade, the Motion of the disorders. Hit without Prudence, take advantage of the situation. An ill concerted Enterprise exposes Danger, procures Advantage.

    Observe the disengaged. Take the Time to oblige him.

    Push in order to counter Time.

    Order to disorder.

    Push Light.

    —and ends here.

  16. WHEN YOU PUSH AND PARRY AT THE WALL

    When you push with Strangers
    push and Thrust alternately,
    disengaging.
    Reflect on the difference
    between
    assault and
    Art.
    Turn the Body,
    be prudent,
    act with a good Grace:
    Without Prudence you cannot take advantage of the situation.
    Observe the Enemy’s fort and feeble.
    If (s)he sticks to Parade,
    serve in Manner,
    disorder Feints, and
    push where (s)he gives Light.

    • I laid down,
      “you must” I say,
      Lunges.
      Thrust,
      “faster,”
      you fall.

      • Sheila, This is about sword-fighting, right? :)

        • No. I’m a pacifist.

          • Sooooooooooooooo, this is not about sword-fighting?

          • Did I read the rules wrong? I am so bad when it comes to rules. I like my rules in bullet format no that I can pick and choose the ones I want to follow. I did like the rule where we could add our own punctuation. I have that bullet pointed in my mind – bolded and underlined.

          • I like to write replies like a talk in front of a roomfull of my favorite people who don’t mind me being a little raucous and outrageous sometimes.

            And I am still remembering you – reading that scene that was so violent I had to run to the restroom and barf. (As well as all those other times – listening to you, trying to grasp 1% of your brilliance – cause 1% of a lot, is still a lot.

  17. Time used you, Man.
    But turn the Body with Grace
    and Time, in Time, gives Light.

    or

    I warned you, Art,
    turn stout and you are out.

  18. or…

    Rules have Schools.
    Being warned,
    you hit him,
    you fall.

    you

    Push

  19. you used yourself,
    laid down the Rule,
    must you push a scholar, push
    and Thrust alternately, then do the same after
    the other Thrusts, you execute
    by Rule, you reflect on the Lunges
    to this method, you may
    intend a condition
    at which
    he is your
    Offence: you may with
    More art

    defend

    a Disorder
    which is often the want of Art in Nature.
    you have attained
    some other things to make the Turn
    of the Body, you must
    be Grace,
    you don’t push home, or
    you keep the Motion of the Enemy
    of a Condition
    the advantage of the designs
    Capacity demonstrates
    more to Danger than this Quality
    by Engagements,
    Time on his Defence,
    you oblige a
    Counter and you must
    push where he gives Light.

  20. Rules Question:
    If we update the 18th Century Irish spelling to the modern American will we be disqualified? Or should we use all the old, wacky spellings? Don’t want to lose on a technicality….

  21. you push
    you fall into Disorder

    you fear
    you cannot take advantage

    you observe
    you oblige Time, you serve Light.

  22. I have another:

    a Man helps you, owing to the want of the Body, Suppleness and Vigour which compose you. you don’t fear him, his advantage, his Capacity. he keeps on. and if he sticks to his Parade you must serve him.

  23. I’m proud to say that I didn’t use the words push or thrust once!

    It begins when you used yourself according to the rules laid down. I parry your rule, this method. You may intend a condition, room, strait, by which you improve faster. But art, without method, the difference. There is a lesson of another who endeavours: Fall into disorder. Want art more than any lesson and manner. Practice only things necessary to make the lightness and vigour, which compose you. Be so essential with purpose that you justly follow the motion of the disorders. You, a condition without prudence. Take advantage of the motion, which very often exposes the feeble, plain you. Oblige to serve in disorder and light.

  24. Rules of Strangers

    you have for some time used yourself according to the Rules of Strangers, disengaging after you execute the Parades. you parry the Adversary you avoid after his Parade at which you are not surprised, expecting this manner of faster art, a lesson of assaulting a Man who lets you hit him. You Practice Disorder which is often the Manner of Pushing the exteriour Part, stout and without good Grace. You fear your enemy, you take advantage of the enemy, attack the Enemy’s Ripostes. You oblige him, and he Feints.

  25. I have a question about the integrity of the rules, er, the rules about integrity. I am not questioning the integrity of the judges. What I am trying to say is do we need to respect the integrity of the words given to us by dg. Let me try again. If all of the LETTERS stay in the same order, is that allowed? Can Thrust become Trust?

    • Dg’s integrity is beyond dispute. The thing you ask is impossible. What would you ask for next? Thrust would become trust and trust would degrade to rust and then us and st. And then where would you be? On a st. with no name. The Judges have convened a special Privy session and denied your request for an amelioration of the rules.

  26. YOU MUST, YOU MUST! I SAY

    You must, you must! I say,
    Make telling one another your Rule.
    Formed to this method
    Gives room to the Parts (disposed to Art)
    To Practice Lightness, Suppleness and Vigour.

    Act with a good Grace.
    Fear the Blade of disorder.
    Avoid Prudence.
    Demonstrate that Enterprise procures Quality.

    Opposed by Time, Counter to Time:
    His Parade.
    Serve Order. Give Light.

  27. Natalia: That was perfect. It allows me to happily give up, stand on the sidelines and root for you. What a relief!

  28. US

    us
    alternately disengaging,
    expecting more
    but
    apprehensive
    Without motion.

  29. A short craft lecture:

    “You must execute. If you reflect on the method, you may not make art. The Eye is hit by Nature. Manner may be attained by Practice, but other things are necessary: fear, disorders, danger.”

  30. Push when I say push.

    Don’t push.

    Push!

  31. THE ERASURE

    you say
    he is to make

    Defence Offence
    with more art

    Parts
    without
    difference

    defend
    and hit you
    to

    compose
    the exteriour
    Part

    by: Chirag (age 9)

  32. I’m still waiting for a “shy anonymous” entry.

  33. I know nothing about enjambment:

    It begins when you push.
    Feinting, you execute
    the Motions and Parades. Being the
    Adversary gives you Offence:
    without Lessons, you fall into a Disorder
    which may be necessary to the purpose. If you fear
    making the least Motion, you cannot
    take advantage of the changing Capacity
    to Measure Time.
    Time to oblige him to serve, to push where he ends.

  34. according to the Rules that I have laid down you must–especially when you push with Strangers–push and Thrust alternately. then do the same (you shou’d make other Thrusts).
    execute by Rule: reflect on the Motions and Postures which puts him in a condition to redouble after the Thrust he is to make. this manner of Exercise may improve with more art. without this Method, you fall into a disorder which is often owing to want of Art.
    but other things are necessary to Turn the Body: Lightness, Suppleness and Vigour compose the exteriour Part (qualities so essential, that without them you cannot act with a good Grace, nor to the purpose). If you are apprehensive––fear making you keep back your Thrust––the least Motion disorders you, and puts you out of a condition.
    Prudence cannot take advantage of the situation. changing very often––according to Capacity and to Measure––procures Advantage. Thrusts strait or disengaged may be opposed. if he keeps on his Defence, to oblige him to push, you must serve to disorder him and push where he gives Light.

  35. you Rule
    you Feinting Being
    you Adversary you

    you Rule
    you Practice
    you want
    you fear
    you attack

    you shou’d serve

  36. I couldn’t resist a 2nd entry…

    Time, according to you, must sometime execute Motions, which gives him Offence. A Man of Lessons, well taught, may Practice, but some other things are necessary to make a home. Fear disorders him. You cannot take advantage of the situation. Engagements take time. You shou’d oblige him.

  37. Okay, here’s my second entry:

    I have laid down the Rules:
    1. Avoid Exercise.
    2. Make art.
    3. Follow a man who helps you and lets you hit him.

  38. Must have been the blue dog.

  39. some Rules, especially your own,
    make one execute Postures of Parades

    where you intend to make manner of the Eye and Parts,
    you fall into Defect

    I attained by Assault the Grace you fear

  40. dave is the man i have chosen to follow. he meets the standards set forth in my “rules”

  41. push and parry

    be warned tell the Adversary

    you may improve

    you who endeavors

    The Lightness,
    you must be
    essential, with Good Grace

    your Thrust

    exposes Danger

    it is Time
    oblige

    and push
    Light.

  42. Dearest Danceny,

    When I have laid down, you must,
    (tho’ ’tis not the Rule of Schools)
    you must I say, do the same
    and sometime after you shou’d design
    by Rule, the Motions and Postures
    at which you may, but with more art,
    be very well taught.

    The taking a Lesson well, which I have just described,
    may be attained to by Practice only,
    but some other things are necessary
    besides the Turn of the Body, the Lightness, Suppleness and Vigour.
    You must be stout and prudent,
    qualities so essential,
    that without them you cannot act with a good Grace,
    nor take the advantage of the situation.
    You are to observe or engage, or take the Time.
    You must serve where gives Light.

    J’adore,
    Merteuil

    • The Judges have convened (in flannels and bathrobes and smoking jackets—one bearded old gent who may or may not be a judge was wearing only a smoking jacket) and issued a one-time dispensation on the grounds that the wit here involved in finding, yes, a vestige or ghost of Choderlos de Laclos in a fencing manual should not go unrewarded. :)

  43. you have used yourself
    I have laid down,
    not a Scholar
    your Master
    Thrust disengaging
    do the same
    make one design execute and reflect on Postures and Parades.
    formed, you may, parry.
    Adversary intend your Riposte, avoid it,
    gives him room
    you are not surprised, easily
    your Defence; by this manner of Exercise, not only more art,
    insensibly disposed to follow the Rule,
    the difference between a lesson, lets you and another defend that Practice of Lessons
    Disorder is the want of Art.
    The taking a Lesson
    I have just described Practice
    other things are necessary; the Body, the Lightness, Suppleness and Vigour
    Part, you must
    so essential, act with Grace
    fear Thrust
    the least Motion to avoid the situation
    designs changing very often, demonstrates, exposes procures Advantage
    observe feeble
    In case you oblige him to push
    serve disorder
    he gives Light.

    • just include this in my first packet, dg.

      • Sure, this is your complete packet then?

        • you have the Rules
          you must push
          you must I say,
          you shou’d reflect on this method,
          Thrust, you intend which puts him in a condition to avoid it,

          you are not surprised, forewarned
          you may improve faster being insensibly disposed to follow the Rule.
          This Method is between a lesson of who forewarns you, helps you, and lets you

          who endeavours to defend you

          very well taught you fall to the want of Art
          the Body, the Lightness, and Vigour compose qualities so essential without them you cannot act

          You push
          you keep your back
          your Thrust, Blade, Motion
          disorders you.
          Puts you out of a condition you cannot
          take advantage of the situation
          you observe the attack
          oblige him,
          you serve in order to disorder

          • 68 more versions and my creative thesis will be done. actually, diddling here may explain why my first packet is… light. but, this is so much fun. I’m sure my advisor will understand.

  44. you have used yourself according to the Rules
    laid down with Strangers,

    you must I say, disengaging,

    and sometime after you make telling one another your design, which gives him room to redouble he puts you on Defence

    you may not improve a Man
    you fall into a Disorder owing to the want
    well some things are necessary
    without them you are apprehensive,
    besides, you fear his advantage
    changing in order to observe

    he will take his Time,
    you must serve, and push where he gives Light.

  45. time laid down with Strangers you say,
    and then do the same which makes you reflect
    a little. You are surprised; you easily improve
    art the Eye being disposed helps you, lets you who
    endeavours, fall into owing to the want of Art more than to any described necessary to make Body, Lightness, Suppleness, and you, so essential, that without you, the least puts out Time either to take Time or to push Time where he gives Light.

  46. Because I live in “the best of all possible worlds,” I’d like to submit mine as a jpg.

    p1

    p2

  47. […] and Daily Beast. She’s also a member of the growing NC community—see her entry, “A Short Craft Lecture,”  in the first ever NC Erasure […]

  48. Some used to push you, you say, telling one another your design.

    you execute them. Being little.

    you are surprised, easily and not, insensibly. follow this difference: a Man who forewarns you, endeavours to hit you; you fall often owing to any Defect in Nature.

    Well, Turn the Suppleness and compose. you cannot act apprehensive. follow the Blade, the Condition Without Prudence. take advantage of motions of changing Measure. Danger procures Advantage.

    observe: it will be opposed by Time; you shou’d Counter Time.

    you must serve disorder
    and push.

  49. you fall into a Disorder
    owing to the want of Art.

    Lightness,
    Suppleness,
    Vigour,
    qualities so essential.

    Grace disorders you.

    you cannot take advantage
    of Feints or Engagements.
    opposed by Time, you must serve
    where he gives Light.

  50. the Adversary puts you into Disorder, but that Grace you fear in Time gives Light

  51. Grace! are you home?
    Prudence, very often you are feeble.

  52. time

    sometime, keep
    either/or Time

    take Time
    in Counter-Time.

  53. When you have used yourself
    and laid down, reflect on
    Motions, Postures, Lunges, Parades.

    Being little formed, avoid it
    which puts you on Offence:
    a Man who forewarns you,
    helps you; another, owing to
    want of Art, may make Assault—

    for Lightness: Suppleness;
    Vigour: be stout and prudent:
    act with Grace
    Capacity demonstrates Quality
    Observe his Manner,
    Push where he gives Light

  54. Hi Doug,
    Couldn’t resist another, a la Emily:

    When you parry—parry strait—
    Exercise the Eye and Parts—
    Without Endeavours of long Art—

    in Nature—Practice—
    be Stout—
    act with Grace—
    fear—puts you out—

    attack or defend plain strait—
    Time keeps Time—
    or by half Thrusts—
    gives Light!

  55. (First time posting. Long time stalker.)

    according to the Rules:
    you must.

    you must push and Thrust
    and execute your design,
    Motions and Postures.

    Being little formed,
    being forewarned
    by the Eye and
    insensibly disposed.

    There is a Lesson
    of assaulting Man,
    a Disorder
    owing to the want
    of Nature.

    but some other things are necessary:
    the Body
    the Lightness,
    fear.

    Observe the Enemy.
    attack.
    take Time (his Time),
    and push where he gives Light.

    ~Dorothy Bendel

  56. This is my second entry for the Erasure Contest. Did I make it in under the wire?

    http://bluemoonnortheast.blogspot.com/2011/01/when-you-have-for-some-time-used.html

  57. (Last minute entry from the West Coast…note, automatically disqualified for the 2012 Awards Dinner b/c I wrote the entry backwards.)

    Light and disorder serve Time
    Time keeps feeble advantage to Danger
    Enterprise demonstrates Capacity
    Grace often is Disorder

    Practice endeavors Man
    Method being Exercise
    Being makes design your Master
    I must push down that Wall

  58. I really did mean to make another entry, but I’m in the throes of AWP Madness (with overtones of Weather Anxiety). Good luck, everyone.

  59. […] The original contest post with all the entries and with the original text from which the erasures we… […]

  60. […] puerile, ill-read layabouts. Thus the Official NC Winner is something like the Booker Prize. The list of OFFICIAL ENTRIES for this year’s contest is here. And the PEOPLE’S CHOICE winner is […]

  61. […] The list of OFFICIAL ENTRIES for this year’s contest is here. And the PEOPLE’S CHOICE winner is here. […]

  62. […] “There is a Use for Books After All” (not to mention the first ever Numéro Cinq Erasure Contest) I thought it would be appropriate to share some of Paula’s images which she painted […]

Leave a Reply