Imagine a book made with only leftover bits,

the excised verses of the Bible

paragraphs cut out of Moby Dick

an alternate ending of King Lear

a whole chapter out of The Odyssey that

somehow was written down on one of Homer’s

dinner napkins and found in a tomb.

Can you make a prize-winner out of the worst of the best?

Imagine reading that Penguin Pocket Edition:

“Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still

sailing over the winedark sea with his stout men at helm

hoping against hope to find the White Whale that stood

as the bolt of lightning Ahab felt in his missing limb.


What a wonder that this weight be lifted

living upon the world which has shifted,

allowing the old to find they are well

and only to the young does death compel.”

Could it be a bestseller?

Or would an editor kick out from under him the stool

to hang there in his office

with a sign reading “FOOL” around his neck.