A while back, a famous local artist came to me with a challenge. Write a story about one of their artworks. More than one actually. Anything I wanted.
Actually, there’s a little more to it than that. They were doing a portfolio, fifty or sixty pieces of art, full of surreal images and scenes, glimpses into a strange otherworld, both Buck Rogers and profoundly abstract. Here were the rules of the game.
There would be four writers, working independently:
- Write stories about the artworks and the artworks only.
- No cheating, no going by artwork titles, or by the artists sequence, no asking the artist, no talking to each other, no inside knowledge, outside knowledge, nothing.
- No limits – write about as many or as few pieces of art as you wanted. Write as much or as little as you wanted, for each artwork and for the whole. Write anything you wanted. You could write a hundred words on a single drawing, or a hundred thousand words on all of them. Write it any way you wanted.
- In six months, send it in.
That sounded like a blast. It was definitely working without a net. Of course I said yes.
So here I am, a week ahead of schedule, and I’ve delivered – thirty stories and forty thousand words.