We are currently accepting short story submissions for Uncommonalities Volume III. Here are the rules:
- Maximum word count: 3,000 (no minimum).
- First line: "It was an accident, of course." You must get this exactly as it is here.
- Somewhere in your story, find a noun and replace it with either a hyphenated adjective or an impersonal verb. This idea comes to us from Jorge Luis Borges (see full explanation below). This sounds a bit strange but is not difficult; please approach it playfully, with a sense of fun. Perhaps it makes more sense to think of it as a poetic approach, particularly if your story is sad.
- Submit your story in an editable format (Pages, Word, plain text; not a PDF) to email@example.com by midnight of June 1, 2021.
- Uncommonalities is a labour of love; the costs exceed the revenues; until such time as this thing really takes off or we get an arts council grant, we offer only publication as its own reward.
Tlönian Noun Substitutes
This notion is lifted from "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius," a story by Jorge Luis Borges,
in which a fictional planet and its linguistic customs are described. In the poetic language
of Tlön, "there are no nouns." Instead there are "impersonal verbs" modified by suffixes
and/or prefixes (in the southern hemisphere) or a "complex of adjectives" (in the north).
In neither hemisphere, for example, is there a word for the moon. Rather, depending on hemisphere,
the English equivalent would be:
- Southern Style: "to moonate" or "to enmoon"; instead of "the moon rose above the river", the equivalent would
be "Upward, behind the onstreaming, it mooned."
- Northern Style: "aerial-bright above dark-round" or "soft-amberish-celestial"; note also that there are
"other things" composed in a similar manner, things for which there are no nouns, combinations for example of
the visual and the auditory: "the sun and water against the swimmer's breast, the vague shimmering pink one
sees when one's eyes are closed, the sensation of being swept along by a river and also by Morpheus." Note finally
that such poetic objects may be strung together with others in a processs that is "virtually infinite."
This is not as hard as it may sound! Just write your story as usual. When you're done, look through
for nouns and cheerfully ponder which one might be fun to replace along the lines indicated. Use either the southern or the northern style.
instead of "hey look at the dog" you go with "check out fluffy-noisy over there" or something. Remember:
fun; not hard.