Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Self Reflection Corrections upon Being Reviewed

The humor blog people have spoken. I have been reviewed.

My stories are too long.

“Too many notes.” Said the Emperor.
“Just cut a few and it will be perfect.” –lines from Amadeus the Movie in case any of Hillary’s people are reading this and want to accuse me of plagiarism.

So I’m off to read Emily Dickenson and Ernest Hemingway.

She wrote short poems.
The guy wrote short sentences.

They liked periods.
They were famous.

You have to read these folks in High School.
They were and are respected authors of note.

The trouble is, neither of them ever was very funny.

Emily Dickenson made Adrian Monk look like a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader for Extroverts. I remember one episode of “Saved by the Bell” where some female –(does it really matter which?) explained that every Dickenson poem could be set to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” It kind of ruined my chances of taking Emily Dickenson seriously, though that may have been a side effect of having watched an episode of “Saved by the Bell.”

“Because I would not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me…”
I could just hear the banjo in the background.

Reading poetry like Ginsburg’s “Howl” and Robert Lowell’s stream of consciousness stuff, I always felt reminded of my own shallowness. Being reminded that one is an inch deep is not fun. So I complained, “How come there aren’t any happy poets?” I mean, Sylvia Plath committed suicide and so did her husband. The plurality of poets we studied were sensitive cool people that drank wine and coffee and water from the tap. They thought serious thoughts and never laughed, though they might snicker at something mundane or pedestrian.

Like banjo players and bright colors and Texans.

So when I got to college, I was an English major without the “cool factor.” Like being a member of the literature “Pep squad,” instead of the cheerleaders…or band….or drill team. At least I was a major in the subject, so it wasn’t like I was in the flag corps, or a twirler.

I had to read "To Have and Have Not." It made as much sense as the movie.

I remember reading “Bartlby the Scrivener” in junior year.

Maybe it was immaturity on my part, but I never saw Bartlby’s “I would prefer not to.” As a cry for help or an indication of the deep depressed feelings he harbored. In humor, you can say, “I didn’t get the joke.” and everyone understands that humor is subjective and thus open to interpretation. In serious literature, there isn’t any equivalent, “I didn’t get the gravity.” It’s just presumed that any failure in comprehension rest with the limitations of the reader and not the writer.

In this case, that was probably true, but even 22 years later, I feel no compelling need to revisit the work to figure out what I missed.

I also remember that every junior that tried using that line "I would prefer no to." to get out of writing a theme on the story was told “No.”

The highlight of that English class section was watching Greg Brady star in the film version as Gingersnap. It was his one attempt at “serious acting” and that was comedic in its own weird way. One could wonder…what would come next…Greg Brady as Johnny Bravo as…anyone in a Faulkner novel. Such a feat would render Faulkner even more incomprehensible than it already is, at least for me.

Maybe I’d get the great ones better if I took up banjo and worked Hemingway's story to the tune of Gilligan’s Island…mememememememe…ahem.

“You can Call Me Ishmael….

For I hunt a big white whale…

He took my leg

Now it’s a peg!

And here’s my tragic tale…”

Alas, I remain a happy poet. My angst is insufficient to my muse, oh, the woe...

Editor Husband: "Hey Sherry, Melville wrote Moby Dick and Bartlby the Scrivner, not Hemingway."

"Holy Cats! You're right. I'm so embarrassed....
Okay, maybe more of my problem with literature rest in my own wee brain than I thought."

for serioiusly good humor, try or! Short. Pithy. Clever. Fun. Probably more Accurate.


Ello said...

SHerry, I love your posts! Please don't cut them! I may not always comment, but I do read them and I find you always amusing, entertaining, sweet, charming. It is a pleasure to come here. I think shorter posts are the requests of bloggers maintaining a huge list of blogs to visit and I admit, I have alot to visit also. But the ones like yours are meant to be read curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea, not a fast fly by! So I vote for staying true to your muse!


jawats said...

Is it Ernest Hemingway you're referring to?

SherryTex said...

Jawats, thanks for the catch, it made for a better final punch line.

and Ello,
Don't worry, I'm not planning any major changes, I just will work to do more editing to make sure word count adds, rather than drags on a story.

I tend to just punch them out and hit "post."

Larramie said...

Ello's right. This is not a "drop by" blog, yet it's worth a relaxing visit.

damonm55 said...

Wow, responding to a review about long posts with a long post. Go get 'em.

I've always been told mt posts are too short.

Hmmmm...we could combine forces and disappoint bloggers worldwide!

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!