Thursday, April 02, 2009

the Blogger Decameron

Part of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales
Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages

Ah 'tis April and a fine month which gets me to thinking of the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer. I adore that text - especially in the Middle English as posted above. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Canterbury Tales, it is a collection of tales that travellers (off on a pilgrimage) tell to each other to pass time on their journey. I sometimes think of Bloggers like that. We all tell our odd little tales - some true, some not, some bawdy, some moralistic - but all great in their own way. But since we tell endless tales, I thought I'd look to another author from that time - Italy's Boccaccio - and give us some focus.

Boccaccio wrote the Decameron. It is a collection of 100 novellas. The frame is that there are ten themes and the same ten people tell one story per theme. Yeah, I never read the collection. I only read the Women's Decameron. That's a fantastic version of 10 fictional women telling stories on 10 themes.

So here are the original themes:
examples of the power of fortune;
examples of the power of human will;
love tales that end tragically;
love tales that end happily;
clever replies that save the speaker;
tricks that women play on men;
tricks that people play on each other in general;
examples of virtue.
Two free days [open topics]

So, my suggestion is that we try a little "Blogger's Decameron". Here are the rules:

1. The two free days are going to be the idea of journeys: travels you've had be they real or spiritual. We are going to start and end with those.
2. for the topics that says, "Tricks that women play on men", expand that to anyone in a relationship. Bocaccio wasn't up on same-sex partnerships
3. I'm not going to worry about if we have 10 stories per topic - in fact I think that would be a bit nutty. Just pick a topic you like. I'll deal with the submissions.
4. Send your submission to me. I don't care if it's something you've already written/posted. I don't care if it's your own work - if you want to share a fave story go ahead, but PLEASE credit where the story came from and don't send me copyrighted material
5. It doesn't matter if I know you or you've ever commented here before, but you must have some sort of Internet presence so that I can link to you. I'm not going to stick to true Decameron theme of having ten people write on ten themes although maybe sometime we can try that
6. I will post your tale on this blog on the theme week, and provide a link to your site - please try to keep your tales at a reasonable length - meaning no multi-part stories.
7. Don't worry about signing up for a particular theme. This is going to be a relaxed process. I'm not going to write for every topic, but if there are gaps, I'll write a story. Hell, I have a feeling I might be writing all ten. Please people, send in something so that I don't feel like a complete loser. If there's a topic you really love, note it in the comments and I'll start harassing you near the due dates

Email to submit to: letmesnooze
[I'm on gmail]

Topic #1: A journey you've had. It can be metaphorical if you want, but please check other topics to see that you don't overlap.

Deadline: I'll post these the second last week of April. Future dates will be posted as this progresses


Roxrocks said...

This is why I barely made it through high school. Homework. LOL!!

Susan as herself said...

I love The Canterbury Tales too. Delicious.

I wish I could do this----sounds so fun! I will TRY< but my schedule is about to heat up!!!

eroswings said...

This sounds like fun. As you know, most of my posts are long and depressing! But I think I've a few that qualify as a journey (one very poignant and recent). I'm not sure if you want to expose your readers to my sob stories and boredom! But I'll see if I can find something less depressing (and short!).

Snooze said...

Rox: Oh sorry! Find a post you've already written that will fit into the categories!

Susan: No worries - this is going to take months and months.

Eros: Actually, that journey you wrote about was so powerful that I'm thinking (because Tornwordo has a story too I'd love to connect people with), what I'll do is post one part and then people can follow links for the rest. What say you?

eroswings said...

Sounds good! I'm down with whatever you want to do. I'm also thinking that maybe I can come up with something interesting and not so long (winded) and sad. I like these creative challenges you are proposing.

EarthMother said...

Oh this sounds like fun. I read the Canterbury Tales in the original for one of my grade 10 English classes. i still remember some of the tales by heart.
I've got a story I just heard of tonight by our mutual friend. I'll email it to you later on!

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