Book Proposal for Broadway Books
Title: Crankin' the Year Away
Over the course of one short year I will explore, research or enact every possible usage of the word crank.
I will build & use a portion of an axis bent at right angles to communicate motion, or to change reciprocal into rotary motion, or the converse. I will research how in early times the crank was chiefly used as a handle or treadle to turn a revolving axis by hand or foot. I will be amazed how later, the crank was used as a device for converting circular into reciprocal motion, and now chiefly (as in the steam engine) reciprocal into circular motion. I will kayak past every crook, bend, winding, meandering part of a river. I will find the oldest elbow-shaped device in bell-hanging, whereby the rectilineal motion communicated to a bell-wire is changed in its direction, usually at right angles, as from horizontal to vertical or the reverse. Conversely I will visit a laboratory to watch investigations into the latest elbow-shaped supports or brackets. I will spelunk into many a tortuous or somewhat inaccessible hole or crevice, a cranny, at which point I'll be brisk, merry, lively, & disposed to exult.
I will explore the dark side of cranks, such as the machines for the punishment of criminals sentenced to hard labour, consisting of a revolving disc to which a regulated pressure can be applied, and which the prisoner is required to turn a certain number of times each day. I will explore the lighter side of cranks with the contrivances for stripping the carded cotton from a carding-engine, the driving-axle of an engine or machine, the carriage axle with the ends bent twice at a right angle, so as to lower the carriage-body and yet allow the use of large wheels, the case or covering in which the crank-shaft of a motor engine is enclosed, crank-chambers, crank-hatches, crank-hooks, the rod which connects the treadle and the crank in a foot-lathe, crank-pins, crank-shafts, crank-wheels, & last but not least, a beautiful disc-crank.
I will make many twists or fanciful turns of speech, humorous turns & verbal tricks or conceits, all the while reporting on the hilarity that ensues. I will spend time with a person with a mental twist; one who is apt to take up eccentric notions or impracticable projects; esp. one who is enthusiastically possessed by a particular crotchet or hobby; an eccentric, a monomaniac.
I will sail a ship that was built too deep or narrow, or has not sufficient ballast to carry full sail. As I walk i will zigag, twist and turn about, moving with a sharply winding course. I will countenance my face so that it wrinkles minutely with parallel ridges and furrows. I will shackle a horse.
I will bend things in the shape of a crank, attach a crank to things or furnish things with a crank. I will lift things or draw things up by means of a crank. My writing will be twisted, crooked, tortuous, crinkled & wrinkled. I will crank Cupid lustily, briskly & boldly & then on other days I will crank Cupid irritably, fretfully & crankily. I will display my crank-side to strangers until I am sickly, in weak health, infirm in body, out of order, out of gear, working badly, shaky, crazy, of capricious or wayward temper, difficult to please; cross-tempered, awkward; 'cross,' mentally out of gear, crotchety, 'queer,' subject to whims or 'cranks,' eccentric or peculiar in notions or behavior, full of twists or windings, crooked, & full of corners or crannies.
Then I will spend the rest of the year doing meth.