Brainchild was a game the Marquis made up one day circa 1993 while he was bored at some temp job he had. It was quite simple. He put the names of various artists, writers, directors, celebrities, pop idols, and other such notables on slips of papers. Then a player drew out two names and would have to come up with the proposed title for a hypothetical piece two such people would have created had they collaborated together.

This game was a lot of fun to play and quite addictive. We played it at Du Nord on many many Fridays for quite a while. Some of the proposed titles were just too brilliant. Some, especially as the evening went on (and the pint glasses piled up), did get a tad twisted.

We wrote down the responses when we played (and later typed 'em up on the computer), so we ended up with a long list of them after a few months of playing this game off and on.  Click below for some examples (sans the player's name responsible for coughing up these proposed titles -- although on our official list, the guilty players are duly blamed credited.)

(click for some examples)


Then, sometime later on, we thought to ourselves that, hell, some of these titles were just too funny and really deserved to be used. So, this also became a writing exercise, as the writers in our group had all been neglecting working on their own writing with any hint of regularity or discipline. So, we came up with a plan for a casual writing exercise --  for those willing to try writing a short story, we would assign them one of the silly concocted titles picked at random and then the idea was for each participant to write a short story using that title and bring it to Du Nord the following week to show.

As so many of the titles tended to be absurdly florid, this exercise really did challenge we hapless writers at times.  Really -- just look at some of the titles of the stories I ended up being assigned.  However, it really did do something to jumpstart the creative juices to contemplate what sort of a story could possibly fit some of the titles and write it within a week's time.  Because we had agreed that it was crucial to follow this rule for this exercise:  the story did not have to be GOOD, it just had to be FINISHED (in a week's time). 

Weird thing was -- with the "pressure" removed that we weren't writing "real" stories -- something meant to be polished and good -- we all seemed to manage, strangely, to produce some of our best work!

Well, yes, a few of them were clunkers, but a surprisingly high percentage of them from all of the participants turned out to be quite good. For a while there, the writing was flowing for all of us.  The main participating writers were the Marquis, Melusine, and myself, but there were a few solo offerings from others who came to Du Nord and thought they'd try their hand at a little short story writing.  So, we ended up with probably about 40 or so stories between us all.

As quick as the flourishing of all this writing had taken hold, one week suddenly we just all stopped.  The exercise had seemed to have peetered on its own -- I think it was the fact that we noticed the stories were good more often than not was what killed the exercise. Because, you see, in noticing that, then we were back to the pressure of having to cough up something good. And that's when a little neurotic writer perversity will kick in, ya know.

So.  That is the story behind these stories, and here I have indexed my particular 13 finished stories  from this exercise.  All of these were penned in the winter of 93-94 (within probably a 4-month period). There are also a few unfinished pieces and a couple of odd collaborations, mostly with the Marquis, that I worked on as well, but as they're unfinished and mostly just fragments, I haven't included them here.