Haiku Hysteria

December 26th, 2006

Today’s the day! What day, you ask? Why, the day Princess Diaries 8(Princess on the Brink in the US. After Eight in the UK) and 1-800-Where-R-You #5 (Missing You) officially hit store shelves!

It’s true a few copies may have snuck out early here and there, but officially they’re not supposed to come out until today. If they’re not available at your local bookstore, ask your favorite bookseller if they’re sitting in a box in the back somewhere, hidden under a pile of broken Christmas lights or some old copies of The Left Behind series or something. I’m sure he or she will be happy to dig a copy out for you—

–or better yet, phone ahead and ask the store to call you back when they finally secure copies for you. Bookstores are always happy to put copies on hold at no extra cost (this is how I get my copy of the latest Harry Potter before anyone else–no, it’s not my special “fellow author status.” They’ll do it for anyone)!

Anyway, I am sad to say it wasn’t a very merry Christmas at Casa Cabot this year. Not because I didn’t get everything I wanted (we don’t actually exchange gifts in my house, due to a little thing I like to call If I Want Something, I Will Buy It For Myself, Because You Will Just Get It In The Wrong Size Or Color Anyway, So Don’t Get Me Anything, Please, Just Don’t, I Will Just Have To Return It, You Didn’t Get Me Something, Did You?, with which we are both afflicted), but because of a bad clam.

I am not a big fan of the clam and rarely imbibe, so I was unaffected. But He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog ate clams on Christmas Eve, and will probably not be doing so again for a long, long time.

I felt very sorry for him and tried to be as helpful as possible. But there really isn’t much anyone can do for someone who is suffering from something like that, aside from offer cool compresses, Gatorade, and a new DVD every two hours (fortunately I went to Sam Goody the day before).

In any case, I had LOTS of free time for judging my holiday haiku contest. I have to admit I thought there wouldn’t be that many entries, considering it was a holiday weekend and people would probably want to spend time with family, away from their computers.

I thought I would probably get two or three hundred entries at most, and could read them lickety-split, not a problem.

I didn’t think I’d get over THREE THOUSAND entries.

But I was wrong.

Fortunately, I started reading them as soon as they started arriving, so I was able to keep up.

I have to say, they were all brilliant. It was very difficult to select a hundred winning entries (which is how many books I have to give away—I only get 25 free copies of each new release, so that’s how many were in each box) out of the thousands I received.

But I managed to do it.

All the authors of winning entries were notified as of 5PM yesterday. If you did not receive an email from me stating that your haiku won and that your prize would soon be in the mail, then your haiku did not win this year. That does not mean your haiku was bad. It just wasn’t in the top one hundred out of over THREE THOUSAND.

Please don’t think that just because your haiku didn’t win that I didn’t like it! Three thousand haikus is a LOT of haikus, so I ended up picking the ones that really jumped out at me, based on their creativity, originality, poignancy, or humor. The haikus I tended to like the most were the ones that were funniest (obviously. Remember who was judging them) or the ones that were the most personal…the ones that told me a little story about the author—namely, YOU!!!

Some haikus won because they showed me a little piece of the holidays I know nothing about. Like this one, for example, from Adriana:

Christmas is hot in
Puerto Rico but I love
All the parrandas

Or this one from Marie:

Tucson’s winter fad:
Santa hats on saguaros.
An odd tradition.

On the other hand, I like this one, from Maya, because I could so relate to it:

Here is a package–
It’s Aunt Dee’s Christmas letter.
It goes on and on…

Just like I could totally relate to this one from Ashley—especially this year:

Everyone is sick
With the flu over Christmas
Guess I’ll be cooking!!

No explanation should be necessary on why this one from Mary won:

Failed my driver’s test
‘Cause the DMV guy sucks.
Some merry Christmas.

This haiku from Mona won because it’s just adorable:

family is like
chocolate almond cookies
nutty but sweet too

As is this one from Ashley:

It sparkles and shines
beneath the tree, Gosh I hope
it is a pony!

And this one from Sally:

this holiday I
have lost my retainers and
am in big trouble

Some just made me laugh, like this one from Staci:

Christmas is coming,
the Greek family is near
Hurry, hide the food.

And this one from Grace:

What do you call a
man who is scared of Santa?
A claustrophobic!

And this one from Morgan:

No Brad this Christmas
The Girlfriend took him away
The New Year Will Suck

And this one from Valerie:

Santa agrees that
instead of coal, the starlets
will get underwear.

And Sara’s:

Christmas bells jingle
Every single stupid day
Please make them stop now

Some of them told a story, like Sophia’s:

The swiftest snowball
Ever to be thrown, flies fast
And hits me on the–

And Sarah’s:

It’s almost midnight
Here comes that guy who eats paste
I’d rather not kiss

And Kristi’s:

This year I’ll be good
Please let me explain, Santa
I didn’t mean to!

And Shermila’s:

So you’re wondering
Where all the candy canes went?
I think I might know…

And some of them were a little sad, like Maria’s:

Split the holidays-
mom’s to dad’s and back again.
Perfectly equal.

And Isabel’s:

Sneak in Mom’s bathroom
Looking for boxes with gifts
Not one is for me

And Sarah’s:

Lists of all the gifts
One plastic tree; house of lights
Bankruptcy till June

And Fiona’s:

It never snows in
Ireland at Christmas, or at
any other time!

Some were work-related, like Tovah’s:

All good toys sold out
Customers wicked crazy
Is my shift over yet?

And Jennifer’s:

I don’t know what your
wife wants for Christmas this year
I just work here sir.

Some were wistful, like Tara’s:

lay under the tree
gazed up, hoping and dreaming,
all gifts would be books.

And Katie’s:

For Christmas I want
Orlando Bloom with nothing
but a big red bow.

Some were about loving your family—but not too much—like Taren’s:

Do you hear that sound?
The family has arrived.
They can’t have my bed.

And Iman’s:

Hijab on too tight
Brother is so annoying
Why do I love Eid?

And Daisy’s:

Oh my family
You know I love you, but when
Do you plan to go?

And Rosana’s:

Nothing is better
than creaming your brothers with
thousands of snowballs.

And Rachael’s:

They may be funny
Or at least they think they are
But please shut them up!

And some were just plain classics we can all relate to, like Karen’s:

Pimple Disaster:
Oh My God! Just before the
Christmas Day Concert!!!

And some were a little cranky, like Tamara’s:

Please Grandma Not Socks,
You Gave Me Six Pairs Last Year,
All I Want Is Cash.

And Mary’s:

Hanukkah is cool,
They say, but do they know why?
Jewish Wannabes

And Rebecca’s:

Christmas, Hanukkah,
Kwanzaa, Festivus; shopping
means no rest for us

And Maureen’s:

Assembly required,
batteries not included,
love Christmas morning.

And Kanika’s:

I hate attending
Parties at this time of year.
Give me the remote!

The above is just a sample of some of the winning entries. Like I said, all three thousand entries were fine efforts and EVERYONE who sent haikus should give him or herself a pat on the back for a job well done.

I wish I could give you ALL books, but I don’t have that many to hand out. Fortunately for those of you who did not win, the new books are all on sale TODAY (and probably with their prices already heavily slashed)!

And I’m sure you have a gift certificate or two burning a hole in your pocket.

So what are you doing at your computer? GET THEE TO THE MALL!

I would like to close with the one haiku I felt summed up the entire holiday experience for me (bad clams included), from the wise and wonderful Heather:

Frak all the Cylons!
Let us have Earthly Christmas,
Toaster-free with Peace.

God bless us, everyone. Even the Cylons.

More later.

Much love,

Meg