Sunday, March 20, 2005

Going Through the Motions 

I have been in a stupor for about the last 24 hours now, simply going through the motions of my daily activities, but taking no pleasure in that which once brought me joy. The past couple of days have brought a series of disappointments, not the least bitter of which was my team's unforeseen premature exit from the NCAA Tournament. Wake losing to West Virginia in 2OT left us all shaking our heads at the screen, too stupefied to even utter an oath. Whereas most others went home immediately following the buzzer, Erin, her three out of town guests, and I changed venues and had another drink, but even that could not rectify our daze. With no fun to be had, bought or given, we retired.

Waking up this morning to gray skies that reflected my dour humor, I dressed for the Liturgy of the Palms. Given the popularity of the Feast, I had to park farther away from the church than normal, which aggravated my foot's condition (to be described next) and sunk me deeper into the mire of an ill mood. The service passed me by almost unnoticed, unfortunately, for I sought to raise my spirits in the heights of the nave. To no avail did I make this my goal. I retreated to my apartment and had to sweep up a broken bottle someone had carelessly tossed in my parking space, adding to the day's frustrations, before resting my legs and foot in the Orange Throne. There, I picked up my book, and, disgusted by it, returned it not only to the shelf, but to the back of the case where I would not have to gaze upon it further. More on that soon, but I promised a description of my foot first.

Last Thursday, while home in Florida, I went to the dermatologist to have him remove a plantar's wart from the bottom of my left foot. Applying liberal amounts of liquid nitrogen, he sought to gain a head start on its destruction by freezing it. I returned the following day to repeat the process, which compounded my locomotive hardships. Now, I cannot apply any pressure to it or else suffer shooting pain, but I am told this will subside in a day or two. So I hobble to and fro and that is most certainly growing weary emotionally as well as physically. Thus it was that, after returning to my afar parked car following the service, I hopped up my apartment's staircase to collapse in my chair not intending to arise again for several hours when to my greater disappointment I discovered the book I was 237 pages into was tripe as I had suspected since page 12, wherein a character is mysteriously time traveled (go with me and use it as a verb) back several centuries, met, fell in love with, married, consummated the union, impregnated his 13 year old bride, and is time traveled back to his original century all in the span of about ten hours just so the prophecy that the author had written as the backbone of her so-called novel could be fulfilled. If you can't come up with something more creative than that, your publisher should be shot in the knees, twice. It is a sore sign when, in a fantasy novel above all, the willing suspension of disbelief is unwilling.

Now, I am not one to put down a book midcourse; I believe in giving a novel its fair shake to the end and then rendering judgment. However, the conventions of this present author, Elizabeth Haydon, in her book, Rhapsody, had grated on my nerves long enough. Her writing style, trash; her story, uninteresting and full of holes which she fills in with amazing sets of happenstance and coincidence; her logic, flawed; her characters, flat and boring; her narrative, entirely predictable. Imagine the worst parts of all the fantasy stories you've read, combine them, weave them together as loosely as possible, and you have this poor excuse of a novel. The back cover compares her to Tolkien. Stop turning in your grave brother Tolkien, I have come to defend your honor and put a stop to such a crude metaphor. To correct and restore my belief that authorship is a valuable and noble pursuit, I picked up a classic I've been meaning to read for several months now. The title has come up in discussions, has been alluded to in other works, brought up in classes, and has generally planted itself in my face so as to be unavoidable. Without further ado I returned to my chair with Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.

So, it is to that seminal work that I now turn, having brightened up my day by employing flowery language to lambaste all my present anxieties and turn back my general malaise.



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