5 Things I Don’t Understand

Every now and again (read: all of the time) I stumble upon (read: generally, it’s more of a faceplant) things and topics I just don’t get. Hard to believe, I know, but there it is.

So, in the hopes of maybe finding a kind person out there who will explain these things to me, here are five things that I just simply don’t understand.

1.Poetry

I think I’m missing something important here. And it’s something that I truly wish I understood.

But, seriously, what’s the deal with poetry?

Poetry is something that’s just passed me by. I’ll read it but, honestly, unless it’s particularly clever with wordplay or it tells a rockin’ story, I just don’t understand the appeal.

I think my problem comes down to the way I view language: as a tool. For me, language is the means by which we tell stories and by which we think and have ideas. But, to me, language has no beauty in itself. You could write the most beautiful, flowing sentence in the world but unless it evoked a gorgeous image or helped to further along a beautiful story, I just don’t see it.

And that saddens me. Poetry is this whole genre where people can get their raw feelings out on a page in as few words as possible and it’s a genre that has completely passed me by.

2. The Craze for Love Triangles

The humble love triangle. It seems that you can’t turn around without seeing a movie poster or a book cover with three people pouting prettily on the cover.

Also, why are all of the posters with love triangles exactly the same??

When did this craze start? When did we decide that the best romantic conflict was when our protagonist was indecisive and insists on stringing along two hapless love interests?

Perhaps I can’t understand the appeal of love triangles because I’m forever cheering for the losing side. Invariably, the person who gets left out in the cold is the one I’ve decided is the soulmate of the main character and that makes me both cranky at the author for choosing the wrong one and angry at the protagonist for being short-sighted.

Maybe it’s just me, but I love romances where the characters can’t be together because of circumstance and bad luck. Where there is longing but there’s also a glaring problem that the couple must overcome before finally ending up together in an ending that leaves everyone happy.

3. Description

I think this may be related to my inability to understand poetry, if I’m honest.

I can’t understand descriptive writing. Recently, for university, I’ve been reading Edgar Allan Poe. For those who aren’t familiar with him, (How? I thought that once things got on the Simpsons everyone knew about them) Poe’s writing is a metric tonne of description with a tiny amount of plot thrown in just for good form.

For example, one of Poe’s more famous works, The Fall of the House of Usher, is about 20 pages long. I swear that at least 15 of those pages are just about describing the house.

Can I tell you what that house looks like? No idea.

Like This?

I saw ‘run down house’ and I pictured ‘run down house’. Poe spent all of that effort trying to communicate exactly how the house was run down, all that time trying to make sure that his readers had the same picture as him in their heads.

And I just don’t get it.

So… sorry, man. My bad.

4. Organisation

I spend my life wondering where all my time has gone, where those important pieces of paper have disappeared to and where the hell did I put my phone???

The other part of my time I spend consumed with envy while watching people to whom organisation comes with apparent ease. You know the ones. They have a diary (probably colour coded) and legitimately tell you that they have to slot you in to their calendar. The ones who  have a drawer for everything and who can tell you to hold on two tics while they unearth a file from 4 years ago and it’s simply  a matter of flicking down to some (possibly colour coded) folder instead of  a search and rescue operation possibly involving a few sniffer dogs and dust bunnies that have started to grow sentience.

When Dust Bunnies attack

Sometimes I wonder if these Organised Humans are the same species as me. They obviously understand something I don’t (and have probably made a note of it in one of their thousands of notebooks) Every now and again I try to copy them, to mimic their behaviour in the hopes that I will assimilate into their culture. But I’m obviously missing something important. Though I buy calendars and make notes, it never seems to culminate in me being organised. It’s just more pieces of paper for me to lose in the pile of things-that-are-very-probably-important.

5. Golf

Most sports I understand. You run, you jump, you swim, you get the ball or puck or person into or out of the thing. There’s a logic to it and a certainty that if I had even a modicum of physical talent (which I don’t) combined with a ridiculous amount of practice (something I’m too busy tapping at my keyboard to even contemplate) then I could do it.

Golf is…not like that.

I understand the rules and, when given the chance, I can play a mean round of mini golf, but the proper kind?

They can’t even see the hole they’ve got to get the ball into! How do they do it? How can you measure strength and aim well when you’ve only got a vague direction and a million traps in the way??

I suspect witchcraft.

Evil, evil golf-related witchcraft

So can anyone explain these things to me? Am I alone in this? Is there anything in your life that you simply don’t understand?

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About Meg Laverick

I can never be found without a cup of tea in my hand or a notebook in my bag. In between university and generally being awesome I read, write and nerd (that's a verb, right?). I also like analysing things that are probably best left alone.
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14 Responses to 5 Things I Don’t Understand

  1. How funny! I just randomly picked up a Poe collection to drag with me to bed the other night while my Kindle was charging (the real downside of electronic books! A paper book never needs to take a break!). I read The Fall of the House of Usher. I am with you: the description is just h-e-a-v-y. I try to take into account the era in which he wrote, but my bet is he was paid per word. ‘Broken down house’ doesn’t pay as much as twenty pages about the reflection of the house in the tarn. It’s still got a creepy ending, he does atmospheric creep-fest really well, but I’m with you on still not really knowing what the house looks like simply because it was over-described!

    Also, those love triangle pictures cracked me up! I never (consciously) noticed they were all carbon copies of one another.

    • Meg Laverick says:

      How crazy! I’m glad it wasn’t just me overloaded with description. Though I think I might have missed the point of the story. All I got was ‘she’s dead’ ‘no wait, totally alive now’ *house implosion* it left me a bit confused.

  2. Lainy Wolf says:

    Ha ha, i’m going to slink over to this corner now and be quiet. Golf is much more fun when you are playing it. Even if i can’t hit the ball (it was magical when i could and it was a good shot though!). Love triangles are a guilty pleasure of mine, for reasons i can’t fathom. Of course, i couldn’t read them all the time. I also don’t think i could live without organisation and planning. I would be just one big, quivering ball of stress. Seriously. I think that has something to do with personality types really.

    There is a fine line between too much description, not enough and just the right amount.

    Poetry… nope, i’m with you on that one. :S

    What i don’t understand, at the moment? Tweens’ screaming obsession with sh*thead teenaged boys (also – you are NOT a ‘boyband’ until i see some synchronised dancing. all the time. period).

    • Shannon Stubbs says:

      I’m so glad someone else has highlighted the lack of boy band moves. I watched the film clip ready to be thoroughly entertained by some synchronised to-ing and fro-ing only to be very disappointed.

      While I’m here…as I’ve mentioned to Meg before (in fact, today actually) I also hate authors who draw maps and diagrams in their books.

      • Meg Laverick says:

        Hello! Didn’t expect to see you here. I still think that maps can really come in handy- especially when a lack of map makes things a little hard to follow (anne bishop’s black jewels books come to mind with its three realms and various territories within each realm)

    • Meg Laverick says:

      I was really surprised when I found out that all of the one direction both are like 18-20. They seriously look about 12.

      Would I be able to steal your organisation skillz? Even just a little bit of them? I get this feeling that my life would become so much easier if only I could keep track of it.

      One day you will also have to share your arcane golf knowledge.

      • Lainy Wolf says:

        They really do. I think they probably act 12 behind the scenes too. Bah. Youth. (hah! says the 21 year old)

        My organisation skills get in the way when i waste time planning things. XD i don’t have a diary though. I’ve never been able to do that but i use calendars like no tomorrow. My work calendar (the one on my computer and my wall) and then one on my phone are used consistently. I don’t think i’m crazy organised but i very well could be given the chance. What i would really like is some more space in the study. I have my files and their tabs but I think i could go crazy with colour coded files and boxes and drawers…. *daydreams*

        Funny story, not so much to do with crazy organisation but my perfectionist nature. I’ve just recently acquired a splint to wear at night from my dentist on Thursday. I probably look like a dork with this mouth guard type thing in going to bed. Extremely sexy. XD The dentist said i would probably take it out in my sleep the first few nights. I woke up friday morning and it was gone but i couldn’t find it anywhere. I thought i would have done something odd like put it under my pillow or throw it on the floor. Nope. It was back in its case. Right way around and everything. I have no recollection of how it got there but even my sleep self is a neat freak O_o.

        I quite enjoyed myself on our client golf day. I even have a cool golf glove.

  3. phoenixandtiger says:

    Well…. since I’m not sure how exactly to reply to this, so I guess I’ll just say something about each section….
    1. For me, I can half understand and half fly over poetry – I can understand some of the reasons behind poetry, but the hardcore poets, they just go way over my head.
    2. I completely agree with you on love triangles.
    3. But then the thing is, it’s easier to just dump it full of description…. Or to not give enough.
    4. Organisation is one of the things I’m still working on – I can be totally organised when I want to, but most of the time my stuff is literally all over the place.
    5. And golf is just… weird.

    • Meg Laverick says:

      I think poetry requires some kind of deep thinking that I’m simply incapable of. Especially the great ones. The ones full of funny rhymes I’m pretty good with.

      I’m actually really happy when there’s little to no descriptive writing. I like being able to picture things by myself. If there is a big passage of description I tend to skip. Unfortunately, that makes it really hard when I go to write description because I just don’t know how to do it :s

  4. Ben says:

    I agree with all of these. Also, I ABSOLUTELY AGREE that the character I want the protagonist to end up with is never the one that he/she actually choses. This bothers me TO NO END. It upsets me so much that I WRITE IN CAPS.

    Things I don’t get:
    1. Twitter.
    2. People think poker is a sport.
    3. The fascination with reality TV shows.
    4. People who call Twilight “great literature.”
    5. Michael Bay’s decision to make teenage mutant ninja turtles into teenage mutant alien turtles . . . or . . . something.

    • Meg Laverick says:

      I just wonder what the splinter’s story is going to be if the turtles are now aliens. Because isn’t his story something like ‘was human. Got radiated. Now master sensei rat?’ I mean, its not exactly logical but it made sense in that universe.

      And I don’t get Twitter either. It’s a thing that I’m sure is useful but I have no idea how.

  5. Jo says:

    Poetry I don’t get, but I think for slight different reasons. Personally, I’m a huge fan of word-play, verbing nouns and kajiggering new words from old, or tearing up the usual context and throwing a word into a messy heap of new meaning. (not that I’m very good at it)
    The problem comes when the novelty runs dry and you’ve got 10, 30, 70, 300 stanzas of the same type of verse, trying to tell a story or get some message across. At that point, it actively interferes with the message, hurting both the author, as they try to fit what they’re really trying to say into their rigid pattern and the reader, as they try to wrap their head around it (and in my case, stave off the boredom.)

    Both of those could be good things, though, as long as the intellectual challenge is won before the novelty is lost.

    Description is lost on me as well. I never even listen when a character’s appearence is being described though landscapes might hold my attention, if they last for less than three sentences. Like everyone else, I’m reading through A Song of Ice and Fire, and I’ve noticed that Martin always makes an effort to describe what people are wearing, as well as slipping in as many mentions of boobs as he possibly can. Some might disagree, but I call that a flaw.

    As for the rest, well, Love Triangles suck, but I don’t have much too add, organisation truly takes skill, and I can’t even hit the bloody ball in golf.

    As for things I don’t understand? Why people are so mistrustful, vengeful, violent, selfish and all the rest. Sure, we can all be arseholes sometime, but I never find it hard to realise I fucked up afterward and just be friendly and give the benefit of the doubt when other people do.

    • Meg Laverick says:

      So you prefer your poetry to be short and sweet?

      I’m all for twisting words and their meanings until they cry for mercy but I prefer it to be in the context of a story rather than a poem so that it’s not all about the words, you know? (I didn’t explain that well and can’t work out a different way to put it. Apologies.)

      I’ve been listening to the audiobooks of ASoIaF and the amount of description in those books really is mind-boggling, isn’t it? Normally when I’m reading I tend to skip straight over descriptive passages but you can’t do that with audiobooks so I’ve sat through so many descriptions of outfits and castles (for some reason, he’s got a real affinity for the word lichen.). I always wonder if anyone can actually picture those things in such detail.

      I always like to assume that people are reasonable. Sometimes that comes back to bite me in the arse but I’d prefer that than going through the world believing everyone’s out to get you.

      • Jo says:

        Yeah, short poetry can be pretty entertaining, and fun to write too. I read your post on Death of The Author, and even as a non-writer, I got the feeling you described when I tackled some blank verse the other day. I was unnerbed by how easily I managed to craft ten syllable sentences that said exactly what I wanted them to. I wish I could give some examples of poems I really enjoyed. Hist! sticks in my mind, but that might just be because I grew up reading and rereading an illustrated version of it. C.J Dennis is pretty okay in general. Nothing too complicated or deep, but great at telling a story that happens to rhyme.

        Are you enjoying ASoIaF otherwise? I love the series, but the other problem I have the with it how much drama Martin feels the need to throw in and keep reminding us of. It hit me in storm of swords where (for spoilers sake) some people were crossing a river, and oh no, three unimportant characters had to be killed off. Then every time we come to an inn or a town “Oh by the way, some people got raped and killed and tortured, order negotiable” The first five times helped to set the tone, but now it’s well past that and I Get It Already.

        Hrmm, I didn’t mean to say I thought all people were bad, it’s just I’ve had a lot of conversations about Racism, Sexism, Politics, Animal Cruelty, Selfishness and the reasons to try to be compassionate lately, and they’re starting to get to me.

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