Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not a Haiku

My last haiku was obviously too easy, but I can't say I care. I think I like the sound and shape of it best of the four I've written so far. Yes, it was a pillow, and it seems that many of you find your own is calling to you as clearly as mine has been lately (damn these papers to grade!)

Today, though, I am forced to take a break from all of the sweat-inducing haiku stress (just kidding) to discuss a book I am presently reading--and presently loathing.

I hate to criticize books. I hate that I am still reading this particular one, even though I cannot say I've enjoyed a single page of it. Why am I still reading? Perhaps it is because, 226 pages in, I still hope for what I know is hopeless.

Let me explain: While on my recent Jane Austen kick, I discovered a number of spin-off books dealing with Darcy and various other characters. Frankly, I almost bought several of them outright at a bookstore, but I decided to check out a few from the library first. Good thing I did.

The particular book I am loathing/reading is called Darcy's Passions: Pride and Prejudice Retold through His Eyes. Sounds like a book right down my alley. I've always found the male perspective intriguing--perhaps more so than the female--and I've always adored the original book. It is on a very short list of books I've read more than five times and intend to read again.

The Preface to the book also sounded promising, describing a teacher who had adored Austen's work, and who finally decided to put her love of Austen, her knowledge of the time period, and her writing skill altogether and create this novel. She certainly knows the book, and for the most part, seems to understand the era in which it was written.

The bad part? She can't write.

Okay, yes, Regina Jeffers can write. She can form words and put them together on a page in a somewhat coherent way. But the words are stilted, the dialogue is putridly lacking in anything worth knowing, and in the course of 226 pages so far, she reveals absolutely NOTHING new about any of the characters. Darcy is lame, obtuse, boring, angst-ridden, and highly undesirable. In attempting to "fill in" the scenes which we don't see in the first novel, Jeffers creates vacuous scenes where absolutely nothing happens. She often relates stupid dialogue--"Oh, I see you have come down early for breakfast today." "Yes, I have some business in town."--and then tells us of exchanges between the characters that would actually be more interesting in extremely brief summary, brushing through the elements I've always wondered about. Characters move about the room for no reason, and she hops in and out of everybody's heads, explaining the feelings behind particular comments when the comments (from the original book) speak for themselves.

I won't even get into the grammar, though the dangling modifiers are frequent enough to make me want to tear out my hair. The writing is drivel, unimaginative and stilted, and had I no knowledge of Austen's classic I would have quit reading in the first chapter.

It's just too bad. As with the seasons of Heroes, I find the idea great, but the execution of that idea falls so far from any semblance of true enjoyment that I felt I had to say something. Even so, despite my lack of time, I will probably finish the vile book. Then I'll take it back to the library, thankful, at least, that I didn't pay a dime for it. I hope none of you do, either.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Haiku #4

I apologize to all of you about the gap in postings, but grading papers has really taken up my time this week... I am ecstatic to have finished up my two online classes, though, so now I only have the mad rush of the face-to-face classes to handle.

The last haiku seems to have stumped everyone, though, which means I was more cryptic than I'd intended. It was a swing, and if the rider looked up, she'd see the metal bars of it, but would be "distracted" by the sky.

Anyhow, I still have 16 papers to grade this morning, and it's my son's birthday, so I really need to get them done as soon as possible. Here's the next haiku:

Fluff-stuffed, soft as shade
Resting, waiting for one's head
Whispering welcome

You know what to do now. What do you think it is? Respond with your answers, and I'll let you know who guessed it in the next post.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What Am I?

Stephanie B was the right one for the last haiku, speculating that it represented "toilet paper"--and, yes, I did say to look for the mundane. I liked the other guesses a LOT, though. Keep them coming!

I can't say this is the most spectacular set of blogs I've ever written, but if it means I don't lose touch with all of you during the final month I'm teaching, well, that's what it means. I'll work hard to be brilliant during the summer, once I am no longer buried in papers that need grading.

Here's a new haiku for Saturday:

Metal bars glide along
But blue sky, trees, silver clouds
Distract from mundane.

I tried to get out of the toilet paper thing - I even used the word mundane! See if you can figure out what it means, and make your guess. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Haiku #3

Flit was the winner of yesterday's haiku puzzle, correctly surmising that the haiku described "keys," but I was elated by the number of fantastic guesses. Obviously my readers' imaginative powers are unsurpassed.

I should be writing my two final exams at this very moment, but I had to post this third haiku first:

Rolled tightly as tape
Soft as down comforter on
A Sunday morning.

Remember, the key word is mundane. Got a guess what it is? Post a message.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Haiku #2

Jeff was the closest to the object I wrote about yesterday: he guessed a recycling bin. In my neighborhood, recycling bins are blue, and yard waste is green (thus the green inside the green), but his guess was really close!

Here's today's haiku riddle:

Metal on metal
Rubbing, clanging, undoing
All necessities
Got a guess what it is? Leave me a message. I'll reveal the answer tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Month of Haiku Riddles

For the next month, since I don't have the TIME to write anything substantial, I'm putting in haiku. All will be based on the mundane pieces of my life.

Your task? Guess what it is.

Game? Here the first one:

Plastic, perfect form
It's twins along the street side
Green outside and in.

I'll post the answer in the next day's blog, so guess as soon as you can!