In my English class this week, our teacher gave us an assignment that is actually fun. We’re supposed to find a passage by a distinct author, and write it in the style of another distinct author. For example, my boyfriend is taking lines from Hamlet, and rewriting them as James Patterson. The object of the project is to get us to pick apart and analyze the little nuances of writing. Find a clearly unique voice, and find what makes it special.
I’m having a blast with this, let me tell you. Always looking for a challenge, and something I can leave my bizarre little fingerprints on, I’ve picked two of my favorite authors. Edgar Allen Poe, and (Drum roll please) Dr. Seuss. Yeah, you read that correctly. The simplistic, rhyming, and word-creating style of my dear Theodore Giessel is about to be twisted, elevated, and darkened into the form of Edgar Allen Poe.
One Fish, Two Fish-Written as Edgar Allen Poe
“Don’t tell fish stories where the people know you;
but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.”
– Mark Twain
From where I sat, there on the shores of the pond, I could see, with such certainty, that nothing so much as a mosquito disturbed the placid glass stretched before me. The moon hung like a troubled man, his toes dangling just above the surface. Not a single ripple dared to reach up and help the dead man down. There was no one there with me but him, as I grieved the loss of love. Was she dead or just gone? At the moment, I dared not remember.
The solitude, it seemed, would last eons, until at last I would lose my mind, in the name of loneliness. It was not so, however, for at that moment a splash came from the water, and I saw the form of a fish, one solitary fish, leap onto the shore, and walk away. I had no sooner blinked, to make myself certain once more, when another fish flung itself out of the deep and onto the shore and strode off into the night.
I stood and crept closer to the pond, investigating in the name of morbid curiosity. As I reached the very edge of the water, a large vermillion fish, the color of my lover’s lips, flopped onto the shore. And then, it sauntered away. It was shortly followed by a blue fish, the hue I imagine those same lips were when they pulled her from the water. I furrowed my brow, and peered closely as another fish slowly made its way to shore. Dare I surmise, it was aged, for its scales were tattered and worn? Along behind it came a young, vibrant fish, tiny and infinitesimal next to its elder.
I reclined there, against the stump of a cedar, a rush of feelings overwhelming me. Each fish that followed struck me with a spectacular wave of emotion. One seemed to mourn my dear with me, and the next was positively gleeful for the loss. The last in the school, however, left me with the helpless feeling of sickening guilt. It was a bad fish indeed. I could not, and cannot, tell you how I know. You wouldn’t believe me now.
I took it upon myself to sit there, and remember every last one of the marvelous little beasts that swam onto the land and disappeared in the direction of authority. A rather large one, I noted, had meandered his way onto land and, in his obesity, nearly rolled right back into the depths, to her. Behind it, another, nearly starving to death, struggled onto the shore and limped away. There was one, in particular, with yellow colored scales on the top of its head. It reminded me of her fairness, the color of her hair fanned out in the water, when the sun beat down that morning. They came on two, four and six legs; hoards of them, every creature of the deep, fleeing the water, still boiling from the day.
That’s where they found me, the men from town. I’m sure that they saw them, the fish, moving slowly and quickly, all headed in their direction. Yet they walked right past them, and disturbed my pondering. They asked me where she was. You know, I tried to recall. You know, I’m not so sure, but I told them she was in the water. I was trying so very hard to solve the conundrum, to discover where the fish came from, and where they were going, that I hardly even noticed them leading me away.