Thursday, August 29, 2002

This is a Fine Mess I've Gotten Myself Into

The school year has started, which means I should soon have more to write about--school presentations, conferences, etc. However, the question of how I'll find time to write about these things has come up. You see, I've been thinking about going to graduate school for, oh, say, twenty-five years and last night I actually started taking a graduate class. Not that that means I'm actually in graduate school. I'm a non-degree student, which helps to explain why it took all summer for me to get permission to attend this thing.

But whether I'm in graduate school or not, I'm taking this graduate class about essays. And today I started reading essays by a fellow named Montaigne who lived in the Sixteenth Century. In France. He is the father of the modern essay as we know it. (Did I ever hear Regis ask that question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?) By the time I got to the end of the first page I was falling asleep, and after twenty minutes I was out cold. That was at ten to eleven this morning. I still have twenty pages left to read. Then I get to go on to the works of two Eighteenth Century British writers and finally an entire book by a contemporary writer. That's for next week.

I'm not worried about the reading keeping me from writing but the napping may cut into my work time significantly.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Oh! Now I Get It!

I finally read Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography . Snicket is, of course, the author of the fascinatingly tragic A Series of Unfortunate Events stories. (See 3/27/02 Weblog entry.)

An editor's note states that the book's thirteen chapters may be read in any order, which I definitely found to be the case. There really isn't what might be called a...hmmm...narrative thread? story line? logic of any kind? this poor man's life. Though I'm a sucker for photographs and unusual structure, I felt lost a lot of the time. Until, that is, I had almost finished the book and began to see references to Count Olaf (who appeared to have attracted a woman friend, which just goes to show that there really is someone from everyone) and those darling and desperate Baudelaire children. I was still lost, but I understood why. I've only read two of the eight (more or less) books in the series. The autobiography is for serious fans.

Fortunately, I have my own copy of the book, which I bought one day at the grocery store. Not the grocery store where I read The Gas We Pass (see 7/1/02 Weblog entry), but another one. Therefore, I'll be able to read it again when I've had an opportunity to study up.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Speaking of Teen Angst... we were last week, you can check out teen angst books at The Grouchy Cafe's Favorite Teenage Angst Books. This site is maintained by Cathy Young, who recognizes that most writing about teenage books is directed to adults, such as librarians and teachers, instead of the people the books are actually written for. The same could be said about all books for young people.

I didn't notice any reviews of Catcher in the Rye at this site. Bless you, Cathy.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Planet What?

Well, it's been a long time, but I have a twofer for you to try to make up for my lack of attention.

The topic today, folks, is Angst! which carries the subtitle Teen Verses From The Edge. It's a collection of poetry originally published at a Web site called PlanetKiki, which is specifically for teenage girls. PlanetKiki is pretty much your general girl Web site--teens can write in with problems and post messages on forums. (Crankygirl deals with teenage PMS.) The unique aspect of the site is the section called Angst where girls can post poetry. It appeared that they could get feedback from readers, too.

That's the Web site. Now the book. There's an awful lot of stuff that seems similar here. The section called Crushed suggests an awful lot of girls have boyfriends who walk out on them. The best poems are those dealing with something other than boys. The Whinings of a Lower-middle Class White Girl by Amber Nicole Lupin was a personal favorite. Ode to a Narcissist by Jessikah Dragon is about a guy, but it has a sense of humor.

One of the things I think teenagers will like about this book is the strong language. This is realistic poetry expresed with words people actually use when they're ticked off.

Angst! ends with a series of poetry writing exercises and explanations of different poetic forms. Readers are directed to poems in the book that represent the various types of forms. I could use something like that whenever I read a volume of poetry.