March 29th, 2003

Me 2012


One of the worst parts of the war for me is feeling like I ought to be thinking about it. Doing something. Having an educated opinion, at least. But I don't. And there's precious little I can do about it anyway, so what does it matter if I personally care or not?

I don't want to write about the war.

Right now, I'm not sure I want to write about anything.

But when I opened this browser window, I intended to take a moment to thank those who offered advice on my very personal quandary. (Thanks, wuf, Bard, Tufty. :) And to say I've made a decision.

For now, I plan to keep working on Prophecy through April. My goal will be to write my usual monthly 9500 words. This means I'll most likely fall short of my original year-long goal by around 10-15,000 words. That's OK.

Sometime in May, I'll re-evaluate the Master Plan and see where I stand on the whole book.

A big part of my decision-making process was realizing that, fundamentally, I don't trust myself, and I have good reason not to trust myself. Deep down, I don't believe that Scales will be really any easier to finish than Prophecy. Even in the last few days, my pace of writing has slowed noticeably. (Why, I didn't post anything Thursday night OR last night! Well, I did post something on Friday morning, but still.)

A part of me feels that I've lost my way with UnfinishedTales already. I was supposed to be writing this for me. If that's the case, why am I holding back on posting pieces until they're "done"? The point was not to care. But I do care. Instant gratification. I don't know where I'm going with this. I'll stop now.

Anyway, I'll follow the Master Plan and finish Prophecy, probably this year. If I keep working on Scales, too: Bonus! :)
Me 2012

Everything I Need to Know About Poetry I Learned from Alexander Pope

When I was in graduate school, one of the courses I took was on 18th century literature. The 18th century is something of the forgotten period in literature: after well-known figures like Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, but before all the famous 19th century writers (Mary Shelley, the Bronte sisters, John Keats, Emily Dickenson, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, gosh, I could go on forever so I'll stop now.)

The 18th century's best-remembered author is probably Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels. But it also had Alexander Pope, who is probably better loved in academia, and who sounded the death knell for good poetry by codifying how to write it. (No, I'm not going to explain why I think this was the death knell. It would take too long.)

I mention all of this because level_head reminded me of a poem I crafted for this class. We had two creative assignments in this class; I rather liked the results of both. One was to craft a prose imitation (I did mine after the style of Swift's "A Modest Proposal.")

The other was to do a verse imitation in the syle of the day. I used the most popular 18th-century verse form, heroic couplets (rhymed iambic pentameter). The subject matter, however, is thoroughly modern. It's a lot shorter than the prose imitation (it's almost shorter than the title for the prose imitation). Maybe I'll post the prose one later; it was cute, too.

But for your amusement:

The Graduate

The Graduate wakes to the clarion Call
Of Alarm; Strike the Snooze, let Silence fall.
But there is no respite from resistless Day;
Arise and do Battle for your month's Pay.
Gather your Weapons: the Notebook spiral,
The Bic Pen, and that Tome without rival,
The Shakespeare Riverside. Prepared to fight,
You meet your Chariot--a wretched sight.
The Engine, wearied by many long Years,
Fights to turn over, while you fight back Tears.
At last it starts! You utter thankful Prayers,
Lurch onto the Road, and face the Day's Cares.
Parking, the first Challenge: Patrol the Lot,
With Eyes keen and dauntless Heart, seek a Spot;
Fruitless Hours pass as you roam the Lanes
'Til at last, a Space--Reward for your Pains!
Searching the Library is your next Goal--
Research, exhuastive, subsuming your Soul;
All efforts made for Challenge no Lesser
Than that issued by the dreaded Professor!