Monday, August 1, 2011

Former Things

Hi gang. Remember when I used to write poems and talk about books that I've read? Well, after fighting off the exhaustion of a grueling March-through-June, I'm back.

This weekend I read What the Dog Saw, which is a collection of essays by Malcolm Gladwell (which is a really upbeat last name, if you think about it).

When I told people--roommates and family--I was reading this they almost always asked, "Well, what DID the dog see?" I'm not sure if they are curious, or just being smart. But in case you're like them and your curious, the answer is body language. That's what the dog saw.

Here's what I saw.

I'm fascinated with Gladwell as an author. He seldom tells me anything I haven't read elsewhere, yet he's such a remarkably clear-headed writer. And that is why he's a millionaire and I'm not an any-kind-of-aire.

I was about 100 pages into The Tipping Point, Gladwell's first bestseller, when I read a sentence that I thought was clunky and a bit out of place. That's amazing. Usually I'll encounter sentence-itch in the first chapter, even in an incredibly well written book. Mad props, Gladwell.

But I figured out your formula. And, without further ado, I give you the Gladwell Code:

1. This thing seems pretty great and/or is widely accepted.
2. However this thing is not what it seems.
3. We can learn a lesson about this thing by comparing it to another thing that--though seemingly very different--is actually kind of like the original thing that we all thought was pretty great and/or is widely accepted.
4. The thing is more complicated than we supposed, and we need to be careful about the thing.

I'm not complaining. (I'm not sure if Malcolm is a reader of this blog or not.) I'm just proud of myself for seeing the forest through the trees.

* * *

You might also remember that I am kind of a jerk, but I'm not entirely jaded. I'm not sure if I'm getting any sweeter, but I do have another sacrament meeting poem.

Preacher says,
____and He'll forgive!

And I think,
____Yes, that's just
____the way to live.

Preacher says,
____Love one another;
____try to do right.

And I think,
____Sure would be nice
to sleep at night.

* * *

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I also recently wrote this poem about a famous children's book:

"I know some games
we can play!"

That Cat was a pervert.

Most animals
in clothes


Conclusion: still fairly jaded.


Holdinator said...

I'm just about finished with What the Dog Saw, and I had come to a similar, albeit less articulate conclusion about his writing: this is really compelling and formulaic.

Moonery said...

Isn't it liberating to find and expose a formula though? Makes me feel like I've solved some sort of grand mystery. Once I'd cracked the formula for an independent film I felt like I could finally be a success at something. And yet, here I am still attending to the slots. I guess figuring out the formula is only half the battle, the other half is successfully applying it. And I ain't saying formulas are bad either, in fact without formulas we wouldn't have math right? And who doesn't love math?
(Ramblefest2011 over)

Glad to see you blogging again.