JC: It was a Dark and Stormy Blog
It’s a dark and stormy day. The end of a dark and stormy year. I just pulled dark and stormy tax returns from the mailbox and mentally tallied the damage. You guessed it. It’s going to be a dark and stormy April 15th.
I sat down to write a blog, but in this frame of mind it would be a dark and stormy blog. Who can write on such a day? Let’s face it, there are some dark and stormy days when nothing is going to get done. You just have to write the day off. (Pun intended. For future reference, puns are always intended, even when they’re accidental.)
So what does one do on dark and stormy non-writing days? Some opt for a computer game. I don’t know why, but writers seem to have a weakness for Free Cell. One advantage of wasting time playing computer games is that if you angle the keyboard away from passageways and turn off the sound, you are able to maintain the illusion that you are working. (It’s a self-illusion. You’re not fooling anybody.)
I have a better idea. Why not waste time AND fool everybody because you really will be tapping out words on the keyboard! You just won’t be doing anything worthwhile. (Trust me, I’m an expert at this.) Here, let me help you get started…
I’m going to give you a list of variations on the sentence, “It was a dark and stormy night,” and you try to guess who would have written it that way. (Come on, it’ll be fun. You know you’d rather be doing this than working.)
Here’s an example: “It was the darkest of nights, it was the stormiest of nights.”
Easy, right? Charles Dickens. Let’s see how you do on your own. The answers are at the bottom of this blog. (I would have inverted them like the professional puzzle-makers, but then you’d have to turn your computer upside down to read them.)
a. But, soft! What dark and stormy night through yonder window breaks?
b. How dark and stormy is the night? Let me count the ways.
c. Dark is my beat. Stormy is my business.
d. The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
On that dark and stormy day.
e. Dark. Stormy. The night.
f. It was a stygian night, stormy on the macadam.
g. Dark. (Thump, thump, thump.) and stormy. (Thump, thump, thump.)
h. It was dark. Very dark. As dark as the Belgian Congo during a solar eclipse, the last of which occurred on Tuesday, June 13, 1944. And it was stormy too. Very, very stormy. The universe had never seen dark and stormy like this before as a cosmic battle between two atmospheric titans took place for the supremacy of all time and eternity. Darker and stormier than hurricane Katrina that nearly wiped out New Orleans where my aunt Agnes used to live with her cat, Puddles, and two poodles, one who almost drown if my aunt, who is three hundred pounds if she’s an ounce, hadn’t dove under water three times to rescue the loveable mongrel (true story).
i. Turn that frown upside down! There’s a bright sunny day on the horizon of every dark and stormy night!
j. It was a darker and stormier night than he’d imagined possible. Little did he realize it now, but before the storm passed, his life would change forever.
k. Ask not what the dark can do for you,
Ask what you can do on a stormy night.
l. In the beginning, it was a dark and stormy night…
Now wasn’t that a perfectly acceptable waste of time? When was the last time you wasted time and felt literary afterward? But wait…there’s more!
Each of the above is either a stylized version of the phrase (style being a useful writer’s tool), or a juxtaposition of the phrase with another well-known phrase (juxtaposition—It’s a word! Look it up!—being a useful humorist’s tool).
So now it’s your turn. Take the phrase, “It was a dark and stormy night,” and write it in the style of one of your favorite authors. Or write it in your own style, make it vintage YOU. Or, take a well-known quote and shoehorn the phrase into it somewhere.
Then, share the results in the comments section. Please. I’d hate to think I wasted all this time by myself.
Jack Cavanaugh, the author of more than twenty novels, including Dear Enemy (Bethany House) and the supernatural thriller, Death Watch (Zondervan).
b. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
c. Raymond Chandler
d. Dr. Seuss
f. Al Gansky
g. Edgar Allen Poe
h. Every creative writing student who ever took a course at a junior college.
i. Cue the theater music for Annie.
j. Jack Cavanaugh (Seems I favor the prophetic with my openings.)
k. John F. Kennedy