Sunday, May 28, 2006

In Which I Veer Gradually into Rantville

My kids crack me up. Today it was Mollusc.

I bought my First Terry Pratchett book today. I think I may mark it down as a personal holiday from now on. I can't wait to read it, but am still inching through the Thomas Covenants. I know, I know, I know. It's been MONTHS. Sigh. Partly this is my fault, due to getting sucked into blogland rather than reading books. But mostly, this is Stephen R. bloody Donaldson's fault for writing sentences like this:

". . . and at the foot of the slope lay a still vlei with colors floating across its surface like a lacustrine portrait of the cachlan itself. Daphin moved onto the hillside and sat down, disposing her cymar gracefully about her."

I mean, really, WTH?!?! Can we not just say "puddle" or "pond" or what the hell ever? Must it be "vlei?" Who the hell says that?? Is vlei even in the online dictionary so I can link it for you? Reader, it is not. In fact, the site I found that DOES use the word "vlei," does so to tell how the word is a problem because it is not adequately defined. (ctrl f, "vlei" if you really are that interested, which I doubt) And the 3 non-agreeing definitions given lead me to believe that Donaldson misuses the word anyway. Or maybe he really did mean to refer to this seasonally waterlogged freaking boggy area as "of or relating to lakes" cuz that's what "lacustrine" means. I know, cuz I looked it up.

A few pages on, we get, "the Elohim enacted astonishment as if it were merely gratuitous - the spilth or detritus of their self-contemplations. But now each of these nonchalant theurgies appeared ominous to Linden, suggestive of peril and surquedry."

And a few sentences on after that: "Appareled in cymars and mantles, in sendaline, jaconet and organdy like the cortege of a celebration. . ."

OK, you know what? I am a sewist (I'm not yet good enough to be a seamstress, and "sewer"sounds icky) and organdy is the only fabric I recognised there. Sendaline isn't in the online dictionary I tried, but jaconet is apparently lightweight cotton. And you know, this probably wouldn't bother any of you, but I tend to get a bit anal about words. I'm this way about virtually nothing else in my life - a look into my house will demonstrate that rather effectively - but words, well, for some reason, even when the meaning is seemingly easily inferred, I feel compelled to look them up.

So why the Amazing Carnival of Compaining? Because in spite of all this, the story is actually interesting. I want to finish re-reading these so I can read the new sequels. Curse you, Stephen R. Donaldson. May your thesaurus curdle and rot, may your dictionary disintegrate into pulp and become hopelessly lodged in your toilet, may your server forever deny you access to websites of long-forgotten word stockpiles.

I went to his website just now and even though I rant, he sucked me in with this (in explaining a comment about one of the characters):

It's amazing what people can accomplish when they respect their limitations. I take a sparring class every Saturday morning, and everyone I train with has more speed, strength, and stamina than I do. As they should: they're all much younger than I am. Plus most of them can kick me in the head, and I'm just about flexible enough to reach their waists. But you know what they say about age and cunning. I don't stand around feeling sorry for myself--or, worse, drop out--just because I'm slow, weak, gasping, and stiff. Instead I work on timing, distance, precise technique, and tactics. In other words, I respect my limitations, but I don't use them as an excuse. And it's surprising how often those young guys with all their advantages get frustrated because they can't handle what I'm throwing at them.

Tae Kwon DO?!?! Sigh. I love him, I hate him, I respect him, I despise him. Mostly I'm just really freaking sick of the cephalalgia I get from perquisitioning lexemes I won't remember, and feeling like an idiot.

That is all.

15 comments:

Faltenin said...

OMG. Candy's sticking with a crappy pretentious author just because he does TKD.

Do you think SRD believes that if he's the FIRST to use each of these words, he gets some sort of copyright on them and it's a get-rich-quick scheme?

Or is it just so that if anyone googles "vlei" he'll get a hit (probably second behind you blog).

Reading that, my mind translated by "veil". Thought it was a typo.

Niel said...

"Vlei" comes from my mother tongue! As does "trek" (from Star Trek fame) and "aardvark"!

WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THOSE 3 WORDS. QUIVER, YE NATIONS.

anyway, it means marsh, i think.

this guy sounds like the new Conrad. there was a waffler. although he used recognisable words, mostly.

tshsmom said...

He's got diarrhea of the word processor! ;)

Fal, I thought it was veil too. You paint incredible pictures with common words. This author should take lessons from YOU!

Candace said...

Fal - NO! LOL! It's because the stupid stories are actually interesting in spite of the fact that I mostly want to wring Donaldson's neck. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;-)

You may be onto something with the copyright thing. Or maybe there's some kind of kickback deal with the Mirriam Webster Unabridged dictionary folks. I'm only half-kidding, LOL! These books are what prompted me to ask dh for an unabridged Webster for my 21st (?)bday. :-P

Ha ha! Now people who are reading the books and Googling the words will come flooding into my blog. Will they leave love or hate mail?

Thing to do before I die: go to Donaldson's dojang and visit sparring class so I can kick him in the head without legal repercussions.

Niel - OK, see, a marsh! Marshes do not have lake-like surfaces. I knew the guy was hosed. Thank you! :-)

Any more words? I'm going to write a book using all of them. Here's how it starts:

It was a dark and stormy night. The weary aardvark paused in his trek to the vlei and looked over his shoulder. That pretentious man wielding the huge dicionary and the even larger thesaurus was still chasing him. The trap was working. He trundled on, aardvarky lips peeling back from his aardvarky teeth in a smile of grim satisfaction."

You know, when I read some of the comments on your blog, I can almost understand them. Though looking at them makes me feel as if I've forgotten how to read English, LOL!

Candace said...

TSmom - *SNORT*!!! :-)

Yeah! What you said! (to Fal)

tshsmom said...

I'm SURE that you could have come up with more complicated words for "grim satisfaction". teehee

Candace said...

OMG you are so right! OK, ". . .aardvarky lips peeling back from his aardvarky teeth in a smile of obdurate self-approbation." And yes, Donaldson does use both of those words, LOL!

tshsmom said...

MUCH better! ;)

Karen Little said...

I wanted to say it, but Niel got there first - vlei is an Afrikaans word meaning... watery thing? Hmmm.

Afrikaans is also the proud owner of the word 'doos' which means 'cardboard box' and 'cunt'. I don't see the connection.

jackt said...

Dude I hate people who have to demonstrate their perceived superiority in their writing. It makes me so sick I just rang the butler to summon my lear jet so I can fly to this guy's home and knock his teeth out with my 20 carat diamond ring.

Candace said...

Karen - So it is seldom used even in the tongue of origin? Man that guy is obnoxious, LOL!

Well, people here do call it a "box" (among hundreds of other things of course) OMG imagine if Donaldson wrote erotica, LOL! Might have to do a post like that. . . }:-)

Jack - Thank you!! Take his teeth home with you and put them in your special caviar cooler until I can come collect them, LOL! :-D

Trundling Grunt said...

That's one of the reasons I got to hate Donaldson - he's so far up himself it beggars belief. If I have to read a book with a dictionary by my side I'll toss the book and read the dictionary itself.

The other reason is that he didn't produce one single character I actually liked or wanted to relate to in the first series. I got through to the end but was very disappointed that they didn't all die.

Candace said...

Well, there's Bannor and maybe Mhoram. Kinda. OK, yeah, that's a good point. I don't know why I find them interesting. I guess because he does create a unique and compelling (to me) universe for the characters to play in. But yeah, Covenant's a jerk. I guess Saltheart Foamfollower is my fave character, but he doesn't come in until book 2.

I am, however, remembering why I didn't keep my first set, LOL! Good thing these were very cheap on eBay. :-P

thisismarcus said...

I have been laughing for the last ten minutes because I was reading Mollusc's website. She's so funny!

Candace said...

Thanks, Marcus! That totally made her day (OK mine, too. I was hoping I wasn't just terribly biased about her writing, LOL!)