Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Lost, Now Found, Game of Edmund Jackstein


There’s a story among writer circles that the relatively unknown 19th century novelist, Edmund Jackstein, loved to play with words to the extreme. A resident of Grafton, Vermont, Edmund lived there all his life, earned his English Literature degree at the small Dunwark College (that burned down under highly suspicious conditions), married Frannie Loeb, then started writing full-time. His one and only novel, “On Jackstein Farm”, he wrote in 31 days, after accepting a challenge from an old friend. This novel became an immediate success among the local communities, but Edmund couldn’t complete any writing projects afterwards, having become afflicted with terminal writer’s block. The novel, and his family farm, however, provided he and Frannie with enough money to live comfortably.

What he was known for, however, was his writerly parties. Other writers he knew in the surrounding county of Windham (home of the Windham County Bearcats—but only for a short time), came to his parties, where they all engaged in alcohol and absinthe-induced word games until near dawn. His parties were famous for many years.

Well, now, Edmund and Frannie never had any children, and the house sat there abandoned after they passed, until one day, an adventurous young man (I don’t recall his name), all full of curiosity, decided to investigate the interior of the renowned home. And in an old desk (not a rolltop—Edmund disliked rolltops), in the top drawer, this young adventurer discovered several pages of nearly illegible writings, obviously part of one of their games, and almost certainly generated by the various chemicals Edmund and crew imbibed. Here are a few of the notes he could decipher. The game apparently had something to do with parts of speech. What manner of game it was no one knows for certain.

Noun—also known as a sister, wearing a habit, perhaps of the Catholic persuasion.

Conjunction—the meeting place of two cons, usually happening in dark, seedy corners.

Preposition—the vicar was prepositioned once, and he spoke of it to no one.

Interjection—where two words meet on a Skribble board at 90 degrees (Author’s note: after much research, Skribble was apparently the predecessor to Scrabble.)

Gerund—a small furry animal that is occasionally kept as a pet.

Verb—a sound escaping from one’s mouth involuntarily after ingesting too much strong drink. One should then say “Pardon me” after verbing.

Research is still being done on the manner of this supposed game. If any writer out there has any information as to the nature of the game, and how it was played, please let me know. I’m attempting to research it myself.

Keep writing, friends.

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