Something weird happened as I worked on the second edition of Absolute OpenBSD: people started sending me haiku. The first edition included a haiku at the beginning of each chapter, something apropos to the topic.
Learn how it fits together
You cannot escape
I reviewed the old book before outlining the new version, and the haiku made me wince. They’re mediocre at best. I considered dropping them from the new edition, or perhaps replacing them with quotes on trust, but an informal Twitter poll came out overwhelmingly in favor of the haiku. This demonstrates that computing professionals have lousy taste in poetry, or that an author is permitted no opinion on the quality of his own work. Or both.
Frankly, the haiku my fans send are better than the ones I write. Some of mine are okay, but they can’t compete with someone else’s inspiration.
So, here’s the deal:
You’ll find the outline for the second edition in my September status blog post. Each chapter needs a haiku.
Post your English-language haiku here, along with valid contact information and your name as you’d like to be credited. If your haiku is better than what I have for that chapter, I’ll use yours instead of mine. By posting your haiku here, you give me permission to use it in the book. Winners will be selected by me, at my sole discretion, based on whatever criteria I feel like using at the time. Your best bet is to amuse me.
If you don’t want to post your haiku, you can email it to me. Use the subject of “ao2e haiku” to avoid the Horrible Black Void that awaits most email I receive.
What is a haiku? Real haiku are in Japanese. I can’t use real haiku — I can’t even read real haiku. For my purposes, a haiku has:
You might note that my leading haiku breaks two of these three rules. It amuses me, however, which is more important than any other characteristic. But if you can follow all three rules in a haiku about packet filtering, I’ll be slightly impressed.
Both entries and attributions must be PG-rated. As in, no obscenity. Sorry, folks, I know that obscenity is a staple in sysadmin circles, but AO2e is supposed to be a clean family book.
I’m not limiting entries per person, but I can say that if you flood me with dozens of mediocre haiku I’ll probably miss the the one awesome one you do post. (“Oh, it’s him again. Sigh.”)
So, what’s in it for you?
Selected haiku will appear at chapter headings in the second edition of Absolute OpenBSD, with attribution. This is your chance at eternal fame. Selected haiku-ists will get an ebook of the finished book. If I can swing a sufficient number of physical copies, I’ll give those out as well. Depends on how many winners and how many copies I get.
Competition will remain open until I finish the first draft of the book. I’m writing frantically, hoping to get a first draft done by mid-November. If I make that deadline, the book can exist for BSDCan 2013. That would be awesome. Can I make that deadline? Dunno. I’m holding the contradictory ideas “no, that’s impossible” and “sure I can!” in my brain simultaneously.
So, in closing:
Lucas is lazy
Your haiku makes him chortle?
Get free electrons.