Samuel Beckett wrote a short piece of prose titled, “Lessness” (http://www.samuel-beckett.net/lessness.html). The work consists of two parts totaling 120 sentences. However, the work only uses sixty sentences. Basically, Beckett took sixty sentences, drew them at random, and then arranged the sentences in paragraph form without ruining the order the sentences were drawn in. He did this for both parts, making each part unique.
When I read about this, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at it. All I needed to do was write sixty sentences and draw them at random. I found a generator (http://textmechanic.com/Random-Line-Picker.html) that picked the sentences at random so I didn’t have to cut the slips of paper out and then put them in a hat. That was the easy part.
The more difficult part was writing sixty sentences. I thought it would be easy, but I found that it was harder than I thought. I had to write sixty sentences that were related, but could work together no matter how they were ordered. I’m not used to that. I’m used to writing a story and usually how the sentences are written out are usually the order I want them in.
How I did this was used the first sentence I wrote to set the tone and theme for the work and then the subsequent sentences were written with that tone and theme in mind. I finally finished the sixtieth sentence tonight and then I copy and pasted the sentences to the generator and let it arrange the sentences for me.
I thought the story was going to random and in a sense it is random, but strangely it works. The work is a little weird, but I like it. Tomorrow I’m going to read it to my writer’s group and see what they think. I might even challenge them to write their own.
Check out Lessness and see what you think. Maybe you can even try your hand at this type of prose. If this type of prose had a name, I wonder what it would be called: A Samuel Beckett Story, Beckett Story, Beckett Prose, 60 Sentence Story…I could go on and on with titles. Perhaps I may simply call this type or prose “Somehow It Works.” Hmmm that has a nice ring to it (I know I’m strange).