I started with the following text:
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. (Samuel Beckett’s Murphy, 1938, opening sentence)
I then looked up all the nouns, verbs, and adjectives:
- sun: a self-luminous heavenly body
- shine: shed or cast light
- have: to possess
- alternative: a possible or remaining course or choice
- nothing (adj): amounting to nothing, as in offering no prospects for satisfaction, advancement, or the like
- new (noun): something that is new > something that is of recent origin, production, purchase, etc.; having but lately come or been brought into being
Replacing the original words with their definitions yielded:
A self-luminous heavenly body shed or cast light, possessing no possible or remaining course or choice, on something of recent origin, production, purchase, etc.; having but lately come or been brought into being but that amounted to nothing, as in offering no prospects for satisfaction, advancement, or the like.
I then ran the procedure again, yielding (after some editing) the following:
An object in space, as a planet or a star, of or in the heavens, and having in itself the property of emitting light, threw or hurled or flung or emitted or let fall, as tears, something that makes things visible, or affords illumination, this object not having either reserved or in store, as a faculty or quality, any other right, power, or opportunity, or direction or route that could be taken—and so it imparted or released its radiance or illumination upon a certain unspecified or undetermined person or thing, which was possibly one of some value or consequence, and that had arisen or been derived from a particular source of late occurrence, appearance, or origin (that derivation having happened or having been done, or having been made, or having been obtained as of late), but despite said quality or even indeed because of it had so far failed to develop into or to become any real thing, being instead more like something or someone of no importance or significance—indeed, being not unlike something nonexistent, since this thing or person refused to present for acceptance or rejection any apparent probabilities of success or profit or the like, or possibilities for promotion in rank or standing, or the means required for confidently accepting some other person or thing as satisfactory, or as dependable, or as true.
A clear improvement on the Beckett, if you ask me.
- Another way to generate text #1: “The Spell Check Technique”
- Another example of the Spell Check Technique
- Another way to generate text #2: “backmasking”
- Another way to generate text #3: “dictionary expansions”
- Another way to generate text #4: “dictionary clusters”
- Another way to generate text #5: “synonym clusters”
- Another way to generate text #6: “word splitting”
- Another way to generate text #7: “Gysin & Burroughs vs. Tristan Tzara”
- Another way to generate text #8: “Writing through a foreign language dictionary”
- Writing Game #1: “25, Strange as You Can”