Oh, The Poetry!

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I’ve been focusing on one item in particular on my 2017 To-Do List – Item #2: Publish Something. While I’ve got a few feelers out there (entries in three contests), I’m looking seriously into self-publishing on the digital platform.

While decluttering some shelves (another item on my to-do list), I found and stacked all of my haiku journals on my writing desk. My intention is to comb through all of them and select fifty poems to include in a digital chapbook.

The idea is to create a chapbook that includes some of my favorite haikus from the last few years.  At this point I have well over a thousand haiku – some have been published on my blogs, while others have not. I’m hoping to create a nice mix between reader favorites (that “Like” button comes in pretty handy!) and my personal favorites.

The selection process has already yielded some interesting insights. It’s amazing how a poem seems good when its first written, but in hindsight you wonder how on earth it even ended up in your journal. If anything, the bad ones make the gems stick out that much more.

It’s also interesting to see how I’ve experimented over the last few years. I started out with strict adherence to the 5-7-5 syllable/line structure, which then shifted to the looser format of less than 14 syllables (12 is usually my target) in three lines. Later experiments with monokus (one line haikus) and senryu are excellent trackers of my anthology reading and research. Admittedly, I’m still figuring out the monoku.

Perhaps the most enlightening thing to see was how my individual voice began to emerge through all the experimentation. While it’s still a work in progress, there is something remarkable about seeing a haiku that only I could write. It took a long time to get this point!

In many ways this project is a culmination of almost three years of constant practice in writing haikus. They are my passion, so creating collection just seems the next natural step.

Stay tuned!

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c.b.w. 2017

 

A Year of Haiku

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It all started with a journal and a goal. The journal had been sitting on my shelf for quite some time – I was saving it for something special as it had a gorgeous suede cover embossed with maple leaves. The goal came from a newfound love of haiku that started with haikubes and grew to an all out obsession after participating in a poem-a-day challenge.

When I realized writing haiku was a full-blown passion, I decided to fully immerse myself in the practice. That meant writing at least one haiku every single day. Suddenly my beautiful suede journal had a purpose!

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A beautiful journal for a haiku challenge!

While it sounds easy enough to write three lines (or less) of poetry each day, the comes with its fair share of challenges. In September 2014, I started the process by using haikubes, but quickly found it was very time consuming and didn’t always lend itself to what I wanted to express.

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My first attempts were quite overwritten with metaphors and superfluous language. Haiku should instead be clean and simple.

So, I started looking out my window, where I found loads of inspiration from the birds, changing sunlight, and weather. From there, I simply focused my lens of observation anywhere I happened to be.  I have haikus scribbled on napkins, typed on my cell phone, and written on the back of receipts. There are little moments happening all the time and the practice of haiku has helped me open my eyes to see them.

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The last page of my journal puts the first page in perspective. These last entries are little closer to the true spirit of haiku.

Hungry for more, I sought more inspiration and found it on National Haiku Writing Month’s Facebook page. While February is technically the official Haiku Writing Month, the organization offers daily prompts during every month. While challenging, the prompts allowed me to dig even deeper into my haiku writing practice. So deep in fact, I started writing well outside the traditional 5-7-5 format.

The jump from 5-7-5 to contemporary haiku was a big one, but I don’t regret it. While the rules are a bit more relaxed, the challenge remains in place. Instead of 17 total syllables, I aim to keep my haiku at 12 syllables or less. This decision in itself made me realize how far my evolution has gone – instead of adhering to strict guidelines, I am finding my own voice and rules within the established form. I’m not afraid to be myself and experiment.

My most recent shift in haiku occurred recently. Reading contemporary English-language haiku opened up a new format called monoku or single line haiku. One line captures all the essential elements of haiku and is usually under 10 syllables. While simple, it is also incredibly difficult. That said, I am fascinated by this form and will continue to play with it.

On October 9, 2015, my haiku journal project was completed. I filled every page (front and back) with haikus I felt were the best I could make them (so many more remain in draft form in my “brainstorming” journals). All told, my journal holds 880 haikus. Upon reflection it is quite astounding to see where I started and where I ended up in terms of form, style, and technique.

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Page after page of haiku!

Even after 880 haikus, I feel like I’m just getting started. Hence, the start of a new project – another journal is prepped and ready to go. Between the personal satisfaction and inklings of publication (local and online journals) my haiku practice has brought me, all I want to do is write more. Whether it’s the traditional  5-7-5 or ultra-modern monoku, I am anxious to see what another year of haiku will bring.

 

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c.b.w. 2015

Scribble Diary: Insomnia

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A small bout of insomnia gave me a little extra time over the weekend, so I pulled out my Scribble Diary. When I opened up to the next blank page, I knew it was meant to be – the prompts perfectly matched the day I had as well as some fairly recent events in my life.

Choice Of The Day:

My insomnia likely began because I got home late after a nice date with my husband. We noshed on Chipotle burritos and then headed to the nearest Half Price Books to peruse the used CDs. This is one of our favorite things to do because it’s the only place to find the music of what we call our era – the 90s – at an affordable price.

We spent a good hour combing through every CD, but then it all came down to the ultimate debate of what to get and what to put back. How nice that my Scribble Diary had a spot to record this momentous occasion! I’m already jamming to A Boy Named Goo as Goo Goo Dolls are among my all time favorite bands.

What I Can Hear Right Now:

Late night sounds are strange in my house. My dog was very upset that we were up waaaay past his bedtime and he wasn’t shy about letting us know he was annoyed. His high pitched whining is a lot like power drill on it’s highest speed.

Confession: I love true crime shows. Especially Dateline. I watch them all the time and my love of these shows baffles everyone I know. The happy-go-lucky, creative, nerd likes murder shows???? Yup, and my favorite true crime reporter is Keith Morrison. That guy can tell a story! Aside from him, I think my obsession with Dateline is two-fold. I’m fascinated by forensics and investigator methodology, but I also find comfort in knowing the bad guy is behind bars.

While the rest of the country is buried in snow, it’s 73 degrees and the crickets are going nuts outside my window. Summer is already trying to creep in and deep fry the air.

Something To Be Proud Of:

See A Haiku Victory!

Not To Do:

Obviously, sleeping was not in the cards so it ended up on this list until about 1 a.m.

Even though I had plenty energy the laundry pile was not going anywhere. And why should it when there’s another load in the dryer? I might as well take it all upstairs at once, right? Rationalizing is hard work.

John Carter was on television, so we decided to give it a try. I only made it through about half an hour before I decided this was a bad movie. The books are probably great, but the movie is just awful. No wonder it tanked.

In Conclusion:

A pretty good day!

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c.b.w. 2015

Scribble Diary: Survival Mode

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Scribble Diary: July 7, 2013

They say it’s a dry heat, but 110 degrees with humidity is fun for no one. Monsoon season is getting ready to descend on Arizona within the next few days. We haven’t seen rain in a few months, so I’m hoping those gray clouds do more than shout thunder and spew lightening. (And yes, I noticed I forgot the letter “h” in breathe. Some weirdo guy was staring at me when I was making this page and it distracted me).

While driving to the bookstore the other day, a quail with babies darted into the road and I instinctively hit the brakes. I do the same for any animal that crosses the road and I don’t care who’s honking their horn behind me. Critters deserve the same courtesy and respect as human pedestrians.

All I had to do was look in my “bookstore bag” to give me ideas for my survival kit. All of these things are with me when I head out or are present in my intended location. I have a classic iPod that plays both music and video, but does not have a touch screen. I prefer it that way and will probably keep my old iPod until it dies!

My muse obviously doesn’t go in my bag, but she never lets me go anywhere without whispering in my head. For that, I am beyond grateful!

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c.b.w. 2013

Scribble Diary: It’s Hot

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It’s been a long time since I dug into my Scribble Diary, but a recent heat wave inspired me to pull it out again and have some fun.

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Scribble Diary June 30, 2013

The wheel of “possible scenarios” reflects the varying degrees of a summer day in Arizona. From Friday to Sunday of last week, I’d say we were stuck in hell. At the time, I was reading The Inferno by Dante Alighieri, which is probably what inspired my interpretation of the weather. I’m still chuckling at how spot on perfect my reading choice was in relation to real life.

As for the “yet to decide” square, I’m still on the fence. One theater is playing the newest film version of Much Ado About Nothing, but driving 20 miles on a freeway full of potential heat stroke victims does not sound like fun.

The fact that I don’t have to work in the summer made the “ups and downs” chart a little tricky. I’m basically on vacation everyday, which means I’m in a constant state of “up.” However, once I took the heat into consideration it was easier to find the “downs.” For the record, I got my chocolate home before it melted thanks to smartly bagging it together with frozen peas.

Happy Birthday to my sister, who I love so much!

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c.b.w. 2013