Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Van Gogh Woulda Loved Me

I took a nap today.  Two hours, and it was totally awesome.  Except the part where I dreamed all of my piano students showed up at once, and when I said, "What the heck are you doing here when I'm trying to nap?" they quit en masse.  Then Leonardo DiCaprio materialized and told me that if any of this were real, his tongue wouldn't be frozen to that ice berg.

So that cleared things up nicely.

The reason I was so tired was because I drank eleven gallons of Diet Coke at dinner last night.

And that was because my voice got croaky on accounta I was talking so much everyone's ears fell clean off.  

And that was because my husband and I were dining with very nice people who don't mind going home earless.

You all remember my great pal, Kazzy?

Well, it turns out there's a Mister Kazzy!

His name is Gideon.  He's a college professor.  And a poet.  And he's smiling like that because he was recently released as the bishop of his ward and he now gets to hang out with the Primary kids every Sunday.  (For my pals of the not-a-Mormon persuasion, a bishop is a lot like a border collie, only they don't get paid as much and they have to wear a tie.  The bishops, I mean.  Border collies don't wear ties, silly!  All their shirts are polos!)

So back to dinner, which incidentally was at the Outback, which I love, and where we were attended to by a socially deficient waiter, who no doubt had been told by the DMV they couldn't hire him because he wasn't enough of a people-person.

We had a very nice time, you know, until the whole "where are my ears?" part, which sadly is how many evenings with me tend to wrap up.

We talked about writing, and music, and writing some more, and church stuff, and parenting, and writing, and how Outback really needs to screen their staff better.

And then we talked about writing.

I mentioned that Gideon is a poet.  What I meant was, this guy makes William Shakespeare and Ben Johnson and Wayne Brady look like lobotomized welfare cheats.  Because he writes a sonnet every single day!

Do you know how amazed I am by this?  Do you know how enormous his brain must be?  Do you even know what a sonnet is, for crying out loud?

It's a kind of poem that never, ever starts with the words "There once was a..." and was really popular 400 years ago, a period known as "The Golden Era of Pre-Cable Pontification".  Sonnets have to have a specific number of syllables per line (I think it's 3.14, but I may be confusing that with hula hoops) and a specific number of lines per poem (more than two) and at least three references to King James and / or the Beatles.

It's very complicated poetry.

And what is even more remarkable than the fact that Gideon practically sneezes these babies out he's so prolific, is that this wordsmith, this craftsman, this, you know, guy who can rhyme like crazy - reads my blog.

I know!  Can you imagine?  It's like Robert Frost perusing the Wal Mart ads!

Sigh.  I guess even great minds need a little down time.

Now, here's the reason I'm writing about Gideon.  He gave me some terrific advice.

First, he said, "Don't mouth off to the waiter until after he's brought our entrees."

And second, he said, "You need to dust off your NaNo book and get your blog followers to help you finish it."

And third, I think he said, "I'm almost positive I had ears when we got to Las Vegas."  But I was talking, so I'm not sure about that last one.

Well, there were no unidentifiable garnishes on my Queensland Salad, so he was right about the waiter thing.  And with that kind of credibility going for him, how could I possibly ignore the part about finishing my novel?

Answer?  I couldn't.  Can't.  Whatever.

So that's what I'm going to do!  Over the next few weeks, I'll fill in a bunch of the gaps in my plot - starting with the fact that the story begins on the International Space Station and somehow ends in a 15th century ale house - and develop some, whaddyacallem, characters, and, if I'm feeling extra brainy, I may even, oh, I don't know, solve the mystery and bring the murderer / Elvis impersonator / time share salesman to justice.

I'm very excited about all of this!  In fact, in honor of Gideon's marvelous suggestion and my novel's admission into rehab, I've composed a sonnet.  I call it "The Poem That Only Makes Sense if You've Already Read My Manuscript and You Have Fairly Relaxed Standards on Meter". 

I'm pretty proud of it.


November's dream, to tell a story true,
(Or true enough, if plausible's a choice)
Of goofy wanderers, ancestors who
Sing history's refrain in bandsaw voice.
And of descendants, mercilessly bound
To harmonize a tune relentless, which,
Despite dysfunction's tyranny of sound,
And obstinacy's strangle-hold on pitch,
Still hints at some melodi'us idee fixe,
Suggestions of a cadence near complete.
And though the choir's made up of nerds and geeks,
One soloist may keep the ending sweet.
       Unless the writing stinks, confirming fears
       That, Gideon-like, you'll wish you had no ears.

(I know, I know - don't quit your day job.  Well, that wouldn't be a problem, if all my piano students hadn't dumped me during my nap.)


LisAway said...

Oh! I'm jealous of you going to dinner with the Kazzys! Also I think you'd be surprised how many people would be willing to part with their ears in such a way. :) Your sonnet rocks and I'm buying your book.

T said...

I was paying attention really, and then you mentioned the Queensland salad.

Where are my keys? (only slightly better than losing my ears)

Momza said...

I was with ya right up until your wordsmithing went right over my head...bandsaw voice/idee fix?
It's just after 7am and I must google those words, excuse me.
They say to keep company with people who are smarter than know, to learn from them n stuff.
Maybe you should move to Colorado?
There's a house right down the street FOR SALE.
Yeah, there's no way I'd move to Las Vagas--for all the obvious reasons...and you've said before how much you'd like to live here.
Now's your chance--think of it as Humanitarian Service: To educate Momza. See? I'm feeling better about this already. very idee fix.

Garden of Egan said...

How fun!!! That would have been awesome to eat with Mr. and Mrs. Kazzy.
I'm sure they did go home earless.

I may have to try the salad too.

I think you didn't have a good waiter cuz he couldn't get in a word edgewise. Didja ever think about that?
You shouldn't be so judgy!

Becca said...

I once wrote a sonnet. I used it in three (3) different assignments in three different classes in one semester. I am a girl who can make a sonnet go a long way.

(Did you really order a salad at a steak restaurant?)

Kristina P. said...

I hope it's a pop-up book.

Stacy said...

First, I was very confused to see Kazzys pic on your blog. It took my morning-afford brain a long time to figure out whether I was reading your blog or Kazzys blog. Because I'm smart like that.

Second, all your students quitting at once? Bonus! Well, depending on whether you actually need the money...

Third, you just used idee fix in a sonnet. You're my hero. Next challenge? Deus iree!

Kazzy said...

Oh my gosh, we had so much fun and love you to pieces. And about the ears... Who needs 'em? Gid can just start wearing his contacts more and skip the glasses thing all together.

You are awesome! Whadda you say we wait tables together sometime?

Molly Doe said...

oh yes, bring the timeshare salesman to justice!

JBSquared said...

Write whatever the heck you want - don't even feel obligated to have it make sense. I will buy it. :)

JoeinVegas said...

Oh - a novel!

Mikki said...

Hmmm, I'm looking forward to this!!
Everybody is right. Whatever you write will sell big. You'll be rolling the $$$!

Kimberly said...

Sounds like Mr. Kazzy actually deserves our sweet friend. Yay!

And I love the idea of putting your manuscript into rehab. Makes me grin. Mine's slated to go in when school starts next month...

L.T. Elliot said...

I thought you did a damn fine job with that sonnet. ;) And I'd read your book any day!

Melanie J said...

"Gideon" (and I use " " because it's hard to believe he has a first name besides "Melanie's Film and Lit Professor" is also a great teacher. Even though I had to watch McTeague. And Solaris. But To Have or Have Not made it better. Jealous of your dinner bunch! So fun.

And yes, you should finish your NaNo novel. And mine. Seriously, you can tell me if you hate it as long as you give me ideas to fix it, 'kay?

AS Amber said...

Oh my heck. What's the deal with Outback? Their servers SUCK!! I heard one of the servers in Orem dumped a glass of water on a guest just this past Saturday! (Seriously, though. I work with some people that are so void of personality or table-waiting skills....they really do need to improve their screening process!!)

When you're hugly rich & famous you can fly me down there & I'll serve the hell outa you & the Kazzys!

Did you try mixing the tangy tomato with ranch? It's so yummy on that salad!

I'm so glad you got to meet this man! He sounds incredible and just who you need in your life to give you the encouragment you need!! Obviously, we're all waiting with...some kind of breath (Kim & I never can get it right)...for you to finish your book!

Allyson & Jere said...

Just tell me you enjoyed a sinful sydney sunday...'cause it would be a true SIN if you didn't.

Ok, with that said...I don't even know you and I'm SURE I would LOVE to have my ears talked off by you. I aboslutely love your blog and your humor. You make me laugh every time.

Good luck with your book writing, I'm sure you'll be fabulous.

Cheeseboy said...

Gideon sounds pretty gosh darned awesome and inspiring and a sonnet every day? Wow.

I should probably read your manuscript.

Marianne said...

Kazzy, if you're reading this, I think we should invite DeNae to our brunch in September. I've been wanting to trim some of my ear weight. Plus, all her piano students quit, so she can have mine. They drive me crazy.

And Gid, I think I'll start calling you Mr. Kazzy. Even better, I'll tell Dennis to. ;-)

Lara said...

I'm so jealous you went to dinner with Kazzy! And Mr. Kazzy! And well, YOU!

Terresa said...

I love that pic of Kazzy. Meeting her en persona @ the LDS Storymakers was awesome, unexpected, such a treat.

And poetry? I still don't get it, I just like to play with words...

Annette Lyon said...

I wanna try losing my ears at Outback if it means hanging out with you!

Great poem. The idea of writing a sonnet every day makes my eyeballs bleed. Wow.

And I'm glad Gideon got you back to your book--good man!

That Girl said...

Well, Kazzy always raves about her husband, and now I know WHY!

Pretty awesome stuff.

I'm already a proud owner of one of your books (which I've read three times), and I will be on the waiting list for any and all future books. And sonnets.

Gideon Burton said...

Sonnets are soooooooo 16th century. For DeNae, I'm going to give myself a true challenge and write her a set of five LIM-O-RIX:

There once was an author, DeNae,
who had so much going her way:
her music, her blog
her wordsmithing fog
and yet, does she know how to play?

Indeed, as she parries her wit,
we tend to get fed most of it.
But she's so rich in taste,
not a word seems a waste:
every verb seems to polish her spit.

Her dark side is cola that's diet
for which hungry mob's will not riot.
Caffeine burns a hole
in your gut, not your soul.
She's happy, egads, think I'll try it!

Her muse is a cowboy named Brett
who knows how to unstring her frets.
Was that line half dirty?
It's now past 10:30.
The Holy Ghost snores in the bed.

If she writes that novel for true,
I'll tell you what this man will do:
I'll quick spread the word
to those publisher turds
that she merits a million or two.

Oh, dear. I'm seriously worried about damaging my ability to write in iambic pentameter, so I'm going to stop right now.

You're awesome, DeNae. I thought you were legendary, and yet you exceeded even your own reputation...

DeNae said...

Gideon, I don't even know where to begin! Iamb in total awe of your gifts. Get it? Iamb? Ic? Pentameter?

Hee hee, I slay me.

I particularly enjoyed the use of the word "turds" and validation of my much-used excuse as to why I drink Diet Coke, namely, "it makes me happy". It's the same reason I wear red lipstick and read Terry Pratchett novels.

I hope all my friends over here pop in on your blog. They especially need to read your ode to Las Vegas buffets.

Poetry, Ralph. Sheer poetry!

Thank you for your kind words, my friend! I'll keep an eye out for your ears.

Rebecca said...

This post with its sonnet and comments with limericks just slayed me. Dead. (That's a good thing.)

Now I need to find time to read your manuscript! It sounds like it's right up my alley.

Oh, and I'm SO jealous that you all got to hang out with each other! I meant, happy. I'm happy for you guys.

Braden said...

Hilarious, the post and the follow up! Very talented folks around here

Baby Sister said...

Sounds like fun. Awesome sonnet...I'm excited about the book!

Jami said...

I'm looking forward to your novel.
First you need to finish it and publish it, and then I will buy it. I am nothing if not patient.

A sonnet a day? Impressive.

I remember years ago, my daughter had a first year teacher for first grade and they did a poetry unit. Haiku, check. Silly, check. Limericks, check. Sonnets? Really, sonnets? Are you kidding me? Sonnets. In first grade. My daughter listened to me gripe about it and went back to her teacher the next day. I got a conference call. Apparently my daughter let her know that mom said it was a "developmentally inappropriate assignment." Oops. My bad.

AS Amber said...

Those limericks were awesome! Loved it!!

wendy said...

How cool that you got to hang out with Kazzy and Mr. Kazzy.
I really don't understand poems unless they start something like
Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
DeNae plays the piano
and the Kazoo

I know, It's awesome
sonnet, shmonet

wendy said...

Oh WOW. Amber and I are so connected!!
she loved my limericks before I even wrote them
I am sure she was talking about my poem

Karen Peterson said...

Sometimes when I'm reading your blog, I wonder if you have any idea how awesome you are.

I'm guessing no. Because, if you did, you might not be.

myimaginaryblog said...

I was about to write a sonnet for this comment, but decided life is too short.

I cried when I was called to work in Nursery, but did manage to hold it in until the door had closed behind the bishopbric member. Then my husband got to watch me weep and wails. In the end I did end up enjoying the calling--it was just that my first week in Nursery was also the first week my 4th child was old enough to be *left* in Nursery, and I had really looked forward to leaving him behind and spending ONE day a week away from the company of little children. But then the little children kinda won me over.

Another time, recently, when I was asked how I felt after a change of callings, I said it was like "going from the frying pan to the fire." Oops. I meant to say, going from one wonderful learning opportunity and chance to serve, to a *different* learning opportunity and chance to serve.