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Contests Brings Out Hemingway, Faulkner Write-Alikes

July 31, 1992

DALLAS (AP) _ It had all the elements of Hemingway: alcohol, action and animals. But ″Big Too-Hardened Liver″ is faux fiction at its finest.

The entry by Ken Conklin Bash was named Thursday as the winner of the International Imitation Hemingway Competition.

″We were drinking at the bar in Harry’s when it exploded,″ began Bash, 40, who runs a plant service for offices in Malibu, Calif.

″It was early morning and the sun was bright and painful and rising on the tall glass towers when the rocket exploded to announce the release of the bulls and we all rushed out to see the big, brave, mature and viciously horny bulls toss the television executives as they came up the escalators.″

Hemingway’s writing was characterized by simple sentences, with few adjectives or adverbs. He wrote crisp, vivid dialogue with exact descriptions.

Michael Crivello, a 39-year-old English teacher from Flower Mound, Texas, used some sound and fury to win a similar contest for William Faulkner aficionados.

The rules were simple: Imitate the masters’ styles and themes in fewer than 500 words. Authors Wallace Stegner, Willie Morris and Barry Hannah chose the winners from among 2,000 entrants.

Faulkner was skilled in creating characters with differing reactions to the same person or situation. He frequently told his story through one character’s thoughts.

Crivello won with ″Yugo Down, Moses,″ in which Edsel Amway Snopes is the ultimate used car salesman.

His apostrophe-eschewing parody takes the reader on and on ... and on and on ... for 118 words in the first sentence.

It begins like this:

″Perhaps it wasnt that they wouldnt run, for they would for a while but poorly and fitfully, and he knew that it wasnt that he had bought one of them from him, he who had brought them to town and parceled off part of his dealership with its lights neon and o’erarching that glowed into the night, the four old familiar blue letters ‘Ford’ now transcended by four foreign letters drawing moths and men insomnolent to gaze at something not assembled by the sons of immigrants in Flint or Dearborn but slapwelded tenuously in Kragujevac by the sons of Tito to be toted to American gowns myriad where auto mechanics myriad too would scoff, ’You bought a what? 3/8‴

The winning stories are spotlighted in the Aug. 1 issue of American Airlines’ magazine, American Way.

Crivello gets round-trip tickets for two to any American Airline destination. Bash gets round-trip tickets for two to Milan and dinner for two at Harry’s Bar and American Grill in Florence, Italy.

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