Desperate Ravings #6 … This Homework is BANANAS!

Welcome my friends to the penultimate episode of Desperate Ravings.

I hope you have enjoyed the story so far, and invite you to finish out today’s and tomorrow’s assignments.

By this point most of you know what is what, but for those of you who are just joining us, you can check out any ep marked Depserate Ravings, or read the explanations from Episode 1 or Episode 5 to get your bearings.

Now that we are past the point of daily $10 bribes, I feel confident in revealing the two hand-copying exercises I love the most. Longtime readers of my greater Magic writing have probably encountered both already.

The first one of these two is from Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.

Josh Ravitz and I, working together at the time, heard of the 1973 novel, unanimously elected to the Pulitzer Prize by the three-person novel-selecting committee… with the award later overturned by the other eleven members of the Pulitzer illuminati. No award was given out that year.

Gravity’s Rainbow did earn the 1974 National Book Award… But Pynchon chose to neither acknowledge nor accept it. He has been depicted as a secretive recluse, you know, like on The Simpsons.

I would guess none of my readers actually visit seemoretube

In the novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell, Susanna Clarke paints this wonderful idea, when one of the titular wizards distills the idea of madness itself into a vial, so that he can take a few drops when he wants to do magic, to touch madness itself. As a writer this is an incredibly attractive idea for me. I hope that exploring this passage from Gravity’s Rainbow will give you the chance to touch on the same scary and exciting experience, even for a moment:

With a clattering of chairs, upended shell cases, benches, and ottomans, Pirate’s mob gather at the shores of the great refectory table, a southern island well across a tropic or two from chill Corydon Throsp’s mediaeval fantasies, crowded now over the swirling dark grain of its walnut uplands with banana omelets, banana sandwiches, banana casseroles, mashed bananas molded into the shape of a British lion rampant, blended with eggs into batter for French toast, squeezed out a pastry nozzle across the quivering creamy reaches of a banana blancmange to spell out the words C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre (attributed to a French observer during the Charge of the Light Brigade) which Pirate has appropriated as his motto … tall cruets of pale banana syrup to pour oozing over banana waffles, a giant glazed crock where diced bananas have been fermenting since the summer with wild honey and muscat raisins, up out of which, this winter morning, one now dips foam mugsfull of banana mead … banana croissants and banana kreplach, and banana oatmeal and banana jam and banana bread, and bananas flamed in ancient brandy Pirate brought back last year from a cellar in the Pyrenees also containing a clandestine radio transmitter …

Yes. That’s pretty much one run-on sentence. One wonderful run-on sentence. No. Josh and I never finished the book.

What to Do Next:

  1. Copy down the above passage from Gravity’s Rainbow, by hand and in triplicate.
  2. Upload it to the Desperate Ravings HOMEWORK page on Facebook, separately known as and

The daily prizes ended yesterday…

But for at least three lucky Desperate Ravings readers, Day Five was the most important one of all!

The winner of a $10 gift certificate from GatheringMagic: Eric Blanc

The winner of a $10 gift certificate from LegitMTG: Avery Garon

The winner of a $10 gift certificate from ManaDeprived: Devin Brown

Congratulations to Eric, Avery, and Devin on their $10 gift certificates from our generous sponsors!

And get to it every one — You have until June 12 to finish all seven Desperate Ravings assignments and qualify to win one of our four big prizes (three $50 gift certificates or a one-hour call from YT)… Plus the unprecedented long-term awesome sauce of Desperate Ravings – Flashback. Bring it!


Thanks for visiting our Desperate Ravings sponsors:

facebook comments:

1 comment so far ↓

#1 MTGBattlefield on 06.09.12 at 9:05 am

Desperate Ravings #6 … This Homework is BANANAS!…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

You must log in to post a comment.