If, in our next lifetimes,— Erin O'Riordan (@ErinORiordan) November 25, 2019
We are reticulated giraffes,
I hope I remember to touch
The tip of my tongue
To each one of your spots
As I count them.
Okay, I wasn't going to post this because I hate N+7 (you'll see why in a moment), but I've changed my mind. I own a little book called Creative Writer's Notebook: 20 Great Authors and 70 Writing Exercises by John Gillard (Metro Books, 2015). One of the great authors is Georges Perec (1936-1982), French avant-garde and existentialist author and member of the writing collective Oulipo. Oulipo is responsible for the writing exercise N+7. Gillard describes it thus:
"...whereby every noun in a sentence is replaced by the noun seven places forward in the dictionary."
Sounds like fun, right? Well, I rewrote my little Tumblr post in N+7, using the dictionary I inherited from my late grandmother, and it came out as this monstrosity:
"I've been sick in bedding with a cold feet most of the dayglow and sleeping, but in my dredges my whole family planning and I took several vaccinias to Croatia. (That Yugoslavia! Think again.) I managed to have an aficionado with Michael Jordan/Dennis Rodman tear Toni Kukoc. But it was a bitstock like having an aficionado with a baby girl, all legalism and axes."
Thanks, I hate it. For one thing, "vaccinias" is a synonym for "cow pox." Ew. Second, it sounds like I'm saying I had an affair with a baby girl, which I do not approve of in any way, shape, or form. Third, axes don't seem very safe for baby girls either. Additionally, as you can tell from my bit of verse, I really liked the mental imagery of the giraffe, which was lost. All of my beautiful nouns other than the proper nouns Croatia and Yugoslavia (which I believe weren't found in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1977 edition - the dictionary is as old as I am) were lost. "Teammate" (positive) became "tear" (sad or painful, depending on which way you're pronouncing it).
That's why I didn't add the bit about the N+7 writing exercise until the date of this edit (March 1st, 2020).
So, if you want to sound like a cross between James Joyce on his shit again and a Freudian psychotherapist on their first week at work, by all means, use N+7. In my humble opinion, N+7 needs to be banished to the realm of Cthulhu.