I’ve been intending to point readers to this BBC article on Amanda McKittrick Ros. I was too busy to put a post together in a timely fashion, though, and I now notice that many other bloggers have fun posts up on Ros and other creators of almost demonically inspired bad writing. The BBC article promotes a Belfast literary festival that has issued a challenge for “lovers of awful literature”: the festival will hold a competition to see who can read the longest passage from Ros’ work without laughing. Sound easy? See how well you go with these selections:
Visiting Westminster Abbey
Holy Moses! Have a look!
Flesh decayed in every nook!
Some rare bits of brain lie here,
Mortal loads of beef and beer,
Some of whom are turned to dust,
Every one bids lost to lust;
Royal flesh so tinged with ‘blue’
Undergoes the same as you. (via Wikipedia)
Or this piece on the death of a lawyer:
Beneath me here in stinking clumps
Lies Lawyer Largebones, all in lumps;
A rotten mass of clockholed clay,
Which grown more honeycombed each day.
See how the rats have scratched his face?
Now so unlike the human race;
I very much regret I can’t
Assist them in their eager ‘bent.’ (via fastlad)
Or perhaps you prefer more of a prose selection:
Every sentence the able and beautiful girl uttered caused Sir John to shift his apparently uncomfortable person nearer and nearer, watching at the same time minutely the divine picture of innocence, until at last, when her reply was ended, he found himself, altogether unconsciously, clasping her to his bosom, whilst the ruby rims which so recently proclaimed accusations and innocence met with unearthly sweetness, chasing every fault over the hills of doubt, until hidden in the hollow of immediate hate. (from Irene Iddesleigh via Oddbooks)
Oddbooks has an online shrine devoted to Ros’ work, for those who would like to learn more. You may also want to read the historical precedent for the Belfast Literary Festival event – attempting to read Ros without laughing was apparently a leisure activity for the Inklings.