Speaking of haiku, here's an all-too-sad one on current events.
I took a year of Chinese ten years ago, and I've tried to stay at least at the level of a six-year-old in the Slow Learner class since then. I recently started meeting a tutor for an hour a week. When she emailed me about our first meet, she said, 'I'm Chinese with shoulder-length black hair." Not a very illuminating description, since (a) I knew she was Chinese and (b) all Chinese people have black hair. Also, she failed to mention her most distinguishing features: her glasses and wheelchair. Huh.
I read a terrific debut young adult novel by Frank Portman (aka Dr. Frank of Mr. T Experience), King Dork. I loved it.
It's sort of a postmodern meta-commentary on Catcher In the Rye, but more than that, and hard to explain. The title high school outcast (
Meanwhile, having to deal with the "psychopathic sadists" at his school (students and teachers alike), girls he lusts after, making and breaking codes, learning French, having an expansive vocabulary, and the perils of forming a rock band all complicate his life --- the more so because every new thing in his life seems to connect to the past in some way. It all hinges on that old copy of Catcher in the Rye of his father’s, despite how
The various threads of the plot are so convoluted and revealing (there’s a lot of foreshadowing and clues and delicious ambiguity) that I can’t do it justice with a summary. Portman has simply crafted an amazing joyride of a "young-adult" novel; it’s hilarious and poignant at the right moments, and ends up somehow being not only a commentary on music, literature, teaching, adolescence, sex, and family, but very much a Catcher for the 21st century.
Though this is touted as a YA novel, it hit home with so-not-young me for a lot of obvious reasons (I was an outcast in school, I deliberately cultivate an expansive vocabulary, I was part of the Catcher cult between 15-20 years of age, I studied French, etc). It’s really an amazingly well-crafted novel for anyone of any age who distrusted or distrusts "normal" people.
The only thing that didn’t feel right to me was
I'm such a dork, in fact, that I wrote a brief note to Frank about how much I liked it. He wrote back and said it was good to hear from someone who "gets it."