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JOURNAL LE HAUT-SAINT-FRANÇOIS / Actualité
Mercredi, 8 avril 2015

Wretched Writers Wanted



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Now how hard can it be to write bad? And make a lot of money doing it. That's the story of Lord Bulwer-Lytton, a prolific writer of penny novels in the 1800s. He lived in England, but journeyed to the New World, where he visited then Williams Corner, now our very own Bulwer, Quebec.

He's infamous for his purple prose, flowery and just plain bad. Or so some say. And his fellow 19th century author Charles Dickens was famous for his great writing, most people would say. But are their styles really that different?

There's a little on-line quiz at reverent.org/bulwer-dickens. It gives you 20 paragraphs, and asks you to identify whether Bulwer or Dickens wrote each one. Here's an example:

"It was wretched weather; stormy and wet, stormy and wet; and mud, mud, mud, deep in all the streets. Day after day, a vast heavy veil had been driving over London from the East, and it drove still, as if in the East there were an Eternity of cloud and wind."

And here's another:
In the country of --- there is a sequestered hamlet, which I have often sought occasion to pass, and which I have never left without a certain reluctance and regret. It is not only (though this has a remarkable spell over my imagination) that it is the sanctuary, as it were, of a story which appears to me of a singular and fearful interest; but the scene itself is one which requires no legend to arrest the traveller's attention. I know not in any part of the world, which it has been my lot to visit, a landscape so entirely lovely and picturesque, as that which on every side of the village I speak of, you may survey.
Who wrote which? Did you guess Bulwer-Lytton for the first paragraph? No, it was Dickens.

Okay, let's try again. Did you guess Dickens for the second? No, it was Lord Bulwer-Lytton. And was he writing about that sequestered hamlet just off Route 108, where the Williams Family put down so many roots? You know the one - then Williams Corner, now Bulwer, named after Lord Bulwer-Lytton himself. The description fits, doesn't it?

As the snow melts, the Bulwer Purple Prose Project is heating right up. It's a benefit happening for the Bulwer Community Centre, the premier institution in the sequestered hamlet that is Bulwer. The Community Centre volunteers are planning a stupendous menu for the country supper. Canadian turkey and all the trimmings, just like Bulwer-Lytton liked it, no doubt. Volunteers - including Black Cat Books in Lennoxville - have tickets for sale. Prizes are being prepared for best 18th century costumes, a gentleman's and a lady's. Musicians - Mostly Swing - are priming their instruments.

The Bulwer Purple Prose Project is a little literary contest that requires only a bit of bad writing - the first sentence of the worst novel ever. And that's the only thing lacking to make the gala evening complete. More entries are needed! The winners in six different categories - Adventure, Crime/Mystery, Fantasy, Legends, Local History, and Romance - stand to win big. A Grand Pittance, to be exact. In other words, a practically extinct penny.

Entries are due before April 18, 2015. The awards supper is on Saturday, May 2, 2015.

For inspiration and to learn how to submit, visit the Purple Prose's website at bulwerpurpleprose.wordpress.com. The rules are there, and they're easy. Questions? Email BulwerPPP@gmail.com. For supper tickets call Peggy Roy at 819-640-3571 or visit Black Cat Books. They're $20 for students and seniors, and $25 for others. The Bulwer Community Centre thanks both the Centre d'action bénévole du Haut-Saint-François and the Townshippers' Foundation for helping support this project. Come and enjoy!

FLEA MARKET IS FUN
Put this on your calendar: The Bury Women's Institute's annual Flea Market/Craft Sale on Saturday, April 25, at the Armoury. To rent a table, call Frances at 819-872-3318 or Irma at 819-872-3600.

TAI CHI IS FUN
A new Tai Chi course is slated to begin at the Sawyerville Hotel in mid-April. One-hour introductory classes are planned for Wednesday evenings, taught by Pierre Robitaille. The fee is only $25 for the entire 10-week course. A minimum of 10 participants are needed for the course to take off. Interested? Info: Danielle Tremblay at 819-553-8655.

BRUNCH IS FUN
Tis the season for the Spring Brunch! To the benefit of Eaton Corner Museum, on Sunday, April 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bulwer Community Centre on Jordan Hill Road. Pancakes with maple syrup, eggs, sausage, baked beans, potatoes and more. Jan Graham at the piano. Adults $10, children under 12, $6. Info: 819-875-5210.

VIACTIVE IS FUN
If you're age 50-plus, Viactive exercises are for you. They're free, easy, fun. Drop in, or attend regularly. Bilingual groups are Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Bury (Armoury Community Centre, 563 Main Street), Cookshire (Manoir de l'Eau vive, 210 Principale East) and Sawyerville (Community Centre, 6 Church Street). They're at 1:30 p.m. in Newport (Municipal Hall, 1452 Route 212 in Island Brook). Info: 819-560-8540 (option 9 for English) or hcs@cabhsf.org.

BEYOND BELIEF
DVDs of the recent play "Beyond Belief" about Bill McCallum, The Glass Man, will soon be available from the Eaton Corner Museum. To get your copy for $15, call Sharon Moore at 819-837-2643.

United: Sunday services are in Cookshire at 9:30 a.m., and Sawyerville at 11 a.m. During the winter months, the Cookshire services are on the basement level of the church, accessed through the side door. Info: 819-889-2838 (listen to message or leave one).

Anglican: In Bury, Sunday services with Sunday school are at 9:30 a.m. In Cookshire, services are at 11:15 a.m. (or sometimes a bit earlier) at the Trinity United Church, 190 Principale West, depending on the weather. Call Rev. Dillabough to be sure of location. (Info: 819-239-6902).

Baptist: In Sawyerville, the worship service is at 9 a.m. in French, and 11 a.m. in English. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. in English and French (819-239-8818).

Do you have news to share? Call 819-300-2374 or email ra.writes@gmail.com by April 27 for publication May 6. (The deadline for April 22 is already past.)


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