Three Act Tragedy

The latest selection by my book club is Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie. Apart from a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories that I read while still in high school, I haven’t read many crime stories — or “whodunits” — before. I had friends who were really into this genre, but it never interested me. I was more of a fantasy/sci-fi person back then.

As such, I approached Three Act Tragedy with caution — I figured there would be red herrings all over the place, so I didn’t want to jump the gun and place all my suspicions on anyone too early. Eventually I decided I didn’t want to even try to guess the murderer (the crime in question was murder), and just go along with the story. However, a friend told me that half the fun of whodunits was trying to solve the mystery before the characters do, so I got back on the trail again.

In the end, I did not guess correctly. It was quite a surprise who the culprit was. I was going to try to write this post without spoilers, but I don’t think I can, so please be warned that there will be spoilers

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happy days

It’s Sunday night here, but it’s a public holiday tomorrow, so it feels like Saturday. But yesterday also felt like Saturday, so I guess things are pretty good here.

I’ve been busy but not overly productive. I had the day off work on Friday, so I went to visit my friends who were preparing for their holiday to Canada (how I wish I could join them!) I helped them lock their windows, and get rid of rubbish, so they gave me cake and miscellaneous perishable food from their fridge.

A local brewery was doing a special Oktoberfest menu this week-end, so a friend and I went there for lunch on Saturday. We were there last week-end too, but the bar has such a relaxed atmosphere, and the staff are so chill, I’d happily become a regular. One of the owners was working behind the bar, and he actually remembered us from last week. I take that as a good thing. I’m sure they think our patronage is a good thing too.

Today (Sunday) I wanted to catch up with a couple of other friends. I reckon Sunday session friends are pretty high up in the unofficial hierarchy of friends. You know, the kind of friends you want to round out the week-end with, or the ones you can talk to for hours (hence the Sunday sesh should preferably start in the early afternoon, to allow ample time to chinwag until the sun goes down).

I’m not sure why, but I thought I’d be home early on Friday night, and I thought I’d be home for dinner on Saturday night, and likewise for tonight… But cleaning and other things went late on Friday, and we ended up at an arcade bar on Saturday, and I completely was not keeping track of time at all tonight. So the cooking and cleaning and blogging and writing that I had planned this week-end didn’t happen. Well, it hasn’t happened yet.

There is tonight, and there is tomorrow. And just now I got a feeling of deja vu, as if I’ve written this kind of post before, and very possibly I have because I guess this is the kind of thing I do not learn. But if I have a chance to go out and hang out with friends (and try some good beers), then I will take it. Chores can wait — I know I’m not that irresponsible that I’m never going to get around to them — and I will carve out time for writing.

Speaking of writing, I’ve started working on a new story. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make this novel-length, or maybe it’s better to just keep it as a short story, but it’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about an idea for a story, so I’m just going to write and let it develop into whatever it’s meant to be. I guess that’s kind of how life is…

5-7-5 x31

You’d be forgiven for thinking that I had intentionally waited until the last day of July to post this “month of daily haiku” recap, but that’s not really why I’m writing this now. (This isn’t much of a recap anyway, being such as short post. I suppose this is just to mark the end of the month.) I would have written and scheduled a post for Monday if I’d had time on the week-end. I did not.

The week-end was exceptionally busy — partly of my own doing, partly not completely of my doing (house stuff, appointment, long walks, book club, meet ups, airport pick-up, lunchtime catch ups, long chats, live music, etc, etc).

This upcoming week-end is looking like it’s going to be equally full, so I’m basically forcing myself to sit down and write this now (on a Wednesday night when I should already be in bed, asleep) so that I can stop worrying about breaking my weekly blogging streak.

I suppose in a similar way (but kind of on a smaller scale) I’ve been trying to not break my daily haiku streak. And I’m glad (and quite proud) to say that I haven’t broken it!

Thus ends haiku month,
But the journey’s just begun.
More haikus coming…

potatoes, cold mornings and bridges

We’re approaching the final stretch of my month of haiku now, and I’m feeling like I could actually continue this beyond July. Imagine how many haiku I could write in all the life ahead of me?

What I’ve started to worry about, however, is that I’m going to repeat certain themes, lines or phrases from one haiku to another. I actually pondered this back on July 11th, and wrote this piece:

How many haiku,
Already written, and still…
Many more waiting

Is it possible to exhaust all possible compositions of these three-line poems? With such finite syllables, surely you could only do so much? Continue reading

and the haiku-writing continues…

Looks like July has become the month of haiku-writing for me. I’m really enjoying this, and it really makes me smile to be able to look back on the haikus and the little memories they contain. I’ve tried the 100 Happy Days Challenge before, and I’ve kept daily gratitude journals before, but I think those things always focussed on the obvious joys (e.g. went to a concert, hung out with a friend, had dinner at this place, watched a movie, had a sleep in, etc)

And some days I had to search for little things to be happy/grateful about, but I also feel like it got repetitive after a while too.

It’s only two weeks into this daily haiku thing, so maybe it’s a bit too early to judge, but it feels like this challenge is making me look outside myself more, to seek wonder more so than happiness. I’m sure there’s a scientific paper somewhere that says wonder is an important feeling/sensation that all people should try to experience as much as possible.

But I think the other thing that sets this apart from other gratitude projects, is that instead of just taking and captioning a photo, or simply recalling every good thing that happened that day — instead of these relatively quick processes, haiku requires you to take inspiration, and then mould that to fit your finite syllables. In this process, you might have to shuffle words around, find alternative ways of describing something, and really focus on the most important aspects that you want to convey.

In short, there’s a lot involved! But it’s still pretty simple, and I maintain that anyone with a basic grasp of language can do it. Continue reading

daily haiku: week 1

I’ve now finished seven days of writing daily haiku, so I thought it would be a good idea to look back and share some of my favourites. It’s actually been more than seven days, if you want to get technical about it, since I actually started thinking up haikus before the start of July. My mind was sort of preparing itself for the challenge, like warming up before a marathon.

Since July started on a Monday, the start of the work week, I tended to think up haiku on my way to work: while walking to the bus stop, on the bus, in my car, or while cycling. (Yes, my commute was very varied last week.) This meant that several of my haiku are related to the outside world: nature, meteorological phenomena, animals, etc. Whatever I observed gained automatic consideration for haiku topics. Continue reading