Reality: A Real Person Fiction
Written by the Tempspence Poets
A phone has been lost. It is the mobile of Spencer Pratt, one-time (always?) reality star from the States. He is in London to appear with his wife Heidi Montag on Celebrity Big Brother, which is essentially reality torture porn for viewers and participants alike.
It was just another gloomy day in London for most.
The phone has been found by an unknown poet in London. Today is his lucky day, or so he thinks.
Picking up the phone, he looks through the contacts. The numbers are all Americans. Brody? Heidi? Who are these people? Then he opens up the Twitter account….
…and what he sees, sends shock waves throughout his body. Heart increasingly palpitating with every fingertip touch to the phone, palms sweating from anticipation, a sudden realisation hits him with force that knocks the wind from his lungs…This is Spencer Pratt’s phone.
For him it was a brand new start. His chance to break free of his past, from obscurity, insignificance, and to become something else. To be someone else…someone with almost 1 million followers? Imagine? Going from circulating his poetry among his friends to being Spencer Pratt? His every word reaching the far corners of the Twitterverse!
Except. Oh, right. except that one little rub. He could tweet all he wanted from Spencer Pratt’s phone, but he surely couldn’t let on that it was him, or he’d be dead. Jailed. Thrown in the clink. While many a more accomplished poet had written wondrous words from the clink, despite his faith in his own writing abilities, surely he was not cut out for life in prison. The thought made his pentameter quake.
He breaks from the thought. Knuckles white around the phone. What the hell does he really have to lose. His flat? His friends? What about his family? He laughs loudly. Why is he even debating. His flat could pass as a cell itself. So containing , dark and dusty. Friends? More like acquaintances only seen at the poetry club. He hadn’t seen his family since he left to follow his love of writing, moving from the small Yorkshire town to London. Slowly he starts to type:
a feeling of freedom rushes through him when he hits the send button. Like a hit of poetic heroin. His fingers were moving on their own now.
@spencerpratt: “I am Spencer Pratt.”
And with those few Tweets, he became Spencer Pratt or @spencerpratt, taking in his hands a megaphone of epic proportions the likes of which no epic poet has ever known.
Of course, like any epic poet, he was in love, well, or at least had a muse.
And her name was Una, inky swirls on fairest skin, she had her way with writers every night as she put them in their place on the shelves of the bookshop.
The sight of her was enough to spark a flame inside of him that he had never felt for in any other woman. Whether it was the sight of this incredibly beautiful girl, or the icy chill of the Winter London air which caused goosebumps to appear upon his arms and send chills down his spine, he did not care. For he was bewitched by her picturesque beauty, and he knew this.
He walked to that bookshop every Monday,through any storm, just to catch a glimpse. Yet she didn’t even know he existed. She seemed to stare right through him like she was looking out an open window.
She couldn’t ignore him anymore, not with this, this gateway into another world. A real life version of the fan fiction she cared so much about.
There was only one problem, nobody would believe he is Spencer or if they thought he was him, they’d hit “unfollow” faster than pounding the digits to toss the dullest celeb from CBB.
…and so the visits to the bookstore continued, and with every week that passed, his feelings and intrigue for this mysterious woman became more clear in himself. With the help of his new poetry friends and followers on Twitter, his ideas for poetry and intellectual games were inspired by the ever-increasing love he felt for her.
They dedicated their works to her, their Beatrice, their one true muse. Games with names like #centode, #twouplets, even Real Person Fiction all for her!
Tempspence walked up the steps of the bookshop as though they were the final pages to a novel he had slept beside every night, slowing, as was his tendency, knowing that it was all about to end.
Celebrity Big Brother presents our collective unconscious, or is it subconscious, or is it unconscionable?
In this game, named for psychoanalyst Carl Jung, poets imagine their own personalities as being constitute of many smaller personalities based on the housemates in Celebrity Big Brother. Everyone has an inner Razor or Rylan or Claire.
To play, you just have to Tweet about one of those inner CBB archetypes.
After waking up in what I thought was Duessa’s flat, I had to get my bearing, deal with the blur of memory, and try to determine who the man was in the toilet.
For this game, poets describe something the first thing they saw (something concrete, particular) when they opened there eyes on the worst morning after.
This is an adaptation of the classic Oulipo game N+7. In it, you take a line of poetry and replace each noun with the noun 7 later in the dictionary.
In this version, players can either take a classic Spencer Pratt quote and transform it or do the same to one of the many, many hateful Tweets people hurl at @spencerpratt on a regular basis.
The hashtag: #prattplus7
A great tool for this game is here: http://spoonbill.org/n+7/
Since Spencer Pratt has lived the life of a scripted reality star, reading other people’s lines as though they were his own, Tempspence turned his twitter account into a kind of ventriloquist dummy.
Any follower could tweet a line to @spencerpratt using the hashtag, and tempspence repeated the most clever ones.
Ekphrasis is describing a picture in text (& really, depicting any art form in another).
In this game, we try to describe pictures of ourselves, revealing intimate details and moments from our lives, without attaching the photo to our tweet.
Since TempSpence cannot share a picture of himself, we take on his burden by trying to share ourselves without showing ourselves. It’s a way to become intimate while remaining anonymous.
Our hashtag was #ekphrastic
There are two women who deserve our poetic affection, known as Una and Duessa.
Centode = Cento + Ode
To help #tempspence, poets have been invited to submit lines of poetry about their own gf/bf, just a simple line that describes something about them, a quirk or an endearing quality or something dark or beautiful. To submit to the poem, tempspence poets replaced the name of their loved one with either Una or Duessa (though some chose to leave out the name altogether).
We are creating poems out of these lines. Tempspence showed one of these to Una.
We have played several versions of this game.
Twouplet = Twitter Couplet.
Poets try write replies to each other’s tweets that rhyme.
Eventually, we decided these work best when you match the syllable count (roughly) and complement the content by continuing the idea.
A LOT of poets would put internal rhymes so that each tweet itself was a couplet.
One of the first games we played was #Shibboleth. To play this game, you tweet something about yourself, about the real you, the you-you, that only you and those closest to you, your mum, your best mate, would also know.
We also played this game with drawings. You can share a doodle that you typically draw on the corner of a napkin while one the phone, breaking up with your bf or voting for #teamspeidi.
Hashtag: #shibboleth (same hashtag for the intimate detail & the doodles)
This is what an answer looks like.