~~~As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting~~~
Thus runs the winning entry this year's Bulwer-Lytton Award, named in honour of Sir Edward's 1830 novel Paul Clifford and its fabulously contorted opening.
The prize was won by Cathy Bryant of Manchester, who commented, "We're surrounded by bad writing everywhere, so the bar is very, very low – to write for the Bulwer-Lytton one has to reach deep, deep inside oneself and find the utter dregs therein."
While, according to Alison Flood on the Guardian Books Blog, Cathy Bryant is a long time fan of the spoof contest, this was her first entry.
She was inspired to have a go at it by a trip to the optician. "The eyelash mites came from a terrifying optician who wouldn't stop enthusing about the awful things," she said. "I asked her if I had them and she said no, clearly very disappointed with me. I was clamped into one of those lens-testing machines so I couldn't flee. But now I can't gaze romantically into anyone's eyes without checking them first for inflammation, which tends to spoil the moment (fifty shades of red?) a bit."
As an author, Bryant feels she's probably "better at funny than meaningful". She's "currently working on a spoof diet book – only because I discovered that all the others were actually being taken seriously by people, to my surprise."