Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New York. Funny place.

Making up the caption for the last blog entry reminded me of my favorite entry ever in New York magazine's regular competition.

The task was to mash up two works of literature and come up with a new one. This one didn't win, but I thought it was the best: Portrait of a Lady as a Young Man by Henry James Joyce.

(Or maybe it was Portrait of a Young Man as a Lady. Doesn't flow so well -- that missing "the Artist as" is more obvious -- but funnier that way round, for some cultural reason. Performing en travestie can be charming. Being in drag is hilarious.)

Fun . . . .                                                                    Funnier!

The New York competition ended in 2000, when Mary Ann Madden retired and was pronounced irreplaceable. So now you have no excuse if you're caught heading straight for the LBGT personals at the back of the magazine. And perhaps you don't need one.

I only ever had one entry published, and then it was edited. We were invited to send famous quotations, ruined by the substitution of one word for another. I submitted the opening lines of T.S. Eliot's Prufrock, rewritten as: "Let us go then, you and me . . ." But Mary Ann thought she could go one better, and printed it as: "Let us go then, you and myself . . ."

(Frankly, I think my original solecism is less egregious, but more likely, and therefore subtler.)

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