Wednesday 24 April 2013


So today is the 24th of April, which must mean that it's the twenty-first day of the A to Z challenge.  I've decided to share my love of writing through this challenge, and hopefully introduce people to the world of Oulipo.  I first heard about Oulipo when I was at university, and I was fascinated by their approach to writing that I decided to delve deeper into the world of experimental writing.

In a nutshell, this group of writers likes to assign constraints to their work in order to push creative boundaries.  Not only is this fun to do (the process of writing something with a constraint really does open the mind), the results are brilliant.


"A univocalic text is one written with a single vowel." 
Oulipo Compendium ed. Harry Matthews & Alastiar Brotchie (London: Atlas Press, 2005) page 240.

You can write an original piece, or re-write a story.  I chose to 'univocalise' the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

Teeny-weeny Red Beret

The news emerges.  Decent resplendent twelve twenty p.m..  Well tempered Teeny-weeny Red Beret enters the scene.  

She stepped the street kerbs, here, there.  The hedges edged verges; reeds, weeds, herbs, seedbeds everywhere.  Berry trees, beech, elm, yew, evergreen trees perfected the greenbelt.  She held vessels, edges levelled; sweets, cheese, celery, eggs, energy sherbet, beer.  Never expectedly, she met Beefy Wretched Bernese, the enemy, by the fence.  He greets her.

“Hey there, pretty pre-teen wench, trek ye where?” seeks the Bernese.

“Where my Gentle Fem-gender Elder Relly, Helen, dwells,” tells Teeny-weeny Red Beret.

“Where dwells she?” seeks the Bernese.

“There, the shelter by the fen, between the cherry trees,” tells Teeny-weeny Red Beret.

He detects the shelter.

“Why trek there?” pesters the Bernese.

“She sneezes then gets belly stress fevers.  Gets germs then dysentery.  She deserves these presents,” she tells.  She references the vessels.

“Fetch ferns, feverfews, thyme, myrtles.  They’ll help fevered Elder Relly Helen.  She’ll refresh,” Beefy Wretched Bernese slyly tells her.

“Yes, perfect scheme,” reels Teeny-weeny Red Beret.  Then she went, cheery.

The Bernese left speedy.  He seeks where Elder Relly Helen dwells.

Fevered Elder Relly Helen rests; bed rest’s best.  She expects Teeny-weeny Red Beret’s cherry preserve chests, redberry jelly, fever refreshers.  The Bernese sets feet by the thresh entry.  He presses the bell, the bell beeps.

“Yes, enter,” yells Elder Relly Helen.

The Bernese emerges, speeds, severely held the Elder Relly Helen.

She screeches, “Defer!  Beefy Wretched Bernese, defer!!”

“Never!  Me extend my settlement,” sneers The Bernese, then he chews Elder Relly Helen.

He then seeks Elder Relly Helen’s bed chest, gets her vestments, sexy bed ensemble, tweed vest, grey jersey breeches, pewter jewellery gems.  He dresses self then bed rests bedecked by fleecy bed sheets.

Teeny-weeny Red Beret seems merry.  She held greenery stems, they smell fresh.  “Elder Relly Helen’ll feel keen,” she reflects.

She presses the bell, the bell beeps.

“Yes, enter,” yells the Bernese, dense femme speech.

She depresses the stems speechless.

“Elder Relly Helen?” delves Teeny-weeny Red Beret, “Excellent eyes!”

“Yes, see better, my sweet,” the Bernese serenely berhymes.

“Elder Relly Helen?” delves Teeny-weeny Red Beret,” Excellent heed-vessels!”

“Yes, heed better, my sweet,” the Bernese serenely berhymes.

“Elder Relly Helen?” delves Teeny-weeny Red Beret, “Excellent teeth!”

“Yes, chew better, my sweet,” the Bernese vehemently yells.

“Eek, help me!” screeches Teeny-weeny Red Beret.  She weeps.  The Bernese stretches, tempest energy, flew, held Teeny-weeny Red Beret, teeth keen, needle-edged, extended, deep.

Then three mender men step by where the Fem-gender Elder Relly dwells.  They heed the help cry.  The men went berserk then levelled the Bernese.  They held scythes then skewer the Bernese’s belly.  Red phlegm seeped then the Elder Relly Helen fell free, emerged well.  The Bernese fell dejected, descended hell’s depths, here he ended.

Next the Gentle Fem-gender Elder Relly Helen helped herself.  She brewed herby stew, green veg, leeks, peppers, swede, cress, blended Bernese flesh.  She fed herself, the men, Teeny-weeny Red Beret; they chewed the velvety Beefy Bernese stew.  Next they slept, sheltered, never vexed, ever cheery.

The end. 


  1. Loved your post, very interesting and it certainly makes you think when your reading.

    Thanks for sharing, Cheers Jenni

  2. What an imagination, I wish I had it. Good post, and I learn something new everyday. Univocalicizm-I wonder if I'll remember the word tomorrow?

    1. Thank you :) If you forget the word, you can always pop back to my blog :D

  3. Hi Rebeccah - thanks for the tip on Utonagan. I couldn't find a "U" dog on the AKC web site. Cute post...I don't think I could do it...univoclaicizm. I have a difficult enough time when all the vowels are at my disposal!

    1. Apparently it's not a KC approved dog, but I thought I'd let you know about it anyway :)

      Univocalisms aren't *too* difficult. You just need a really good thesaurus!

  4. Excellent elements! :)

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: