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People, it seems, want to hear about constraints.
In grad school, I did an independent study with Steve Tomasula on the OuLiPo, short for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, or workshop of potential literature. I’d read Calvino and Perec before and had a rough idea about what they were about, but yeah, it was a pretty amazing semester. So here’s the simple version of OuLiPo: The OuLiPo is a group of writers and mathematicians who believe that writing reaches its truest potential when constraints are put on the writer during the process of writing. A few obvious examples: Perec wrote a novel without using the letter e. In French. The OuLiPo came up with all sorts of constraints, whether lipograms, palindromes, N+7, or so on. You can look these up, if you want.