Another 100 Day Challenge – Haiku

It’s Day 100 of the Haiku Challenge.

I now have over 1,000 haiku of indeterminate quality. Some of them aren’t haiku, some are senyru. Some are more like fragments, or notes. And many of them are merely bad.

Having taken all that into consideration, was it worth it?

Undoubtedly. I’ve learned a lot from the experience, including that in any 100 day challenge you are going to come to hate what you are doing. Whether this holds true for my new challenge remains to be seen.

I first came up with the idea from reading this this post whilst browsing the net for haiku-related posts. I then moved on to reading this article, which is a lot more ambitious.

My “rules”, garnered from the article, were simple. Ten haiku a day for 100 days, avoiding too much censorship and writing extra to catch up if I couldn’t manage ten one day. As the article admitted that experienced writers were only getting one good haiku out of ten or twenty attempts I felt justified in taking a laid back attitude.

So, what did I learn?

Well, I became more fluent in my writing and found ideas came more easily.

I became addicted to writing and couldn’t rest if I didn’t write at least ten a day. Apart from the days I needed a rest, because there were several days where I hated haiku so badly that I couldn’t write one. That did happen a couple of times, but I soon got over it after a day off.

I also ran out of nature several times. Despite becoming more observant and making better notes as time went on, I found I was struggling with enough nature observations to keep myself going. You don’t see much nature when you are just driving through town to work and back, and magpies and bare branches are simply not enough to feed a heavy haiku habit.

Towards the end of the time I noticed I was writing three line poems with the rhythms and vocabulary of haiku.

That last point is quite important. I started with a lot of long words and details which aren’t really needed in haiku. A three syllable word in a haiku, remember, is three thirteenths of the syllables needed for a modern haiku (seventeen is now considered old-fashioned). Three thirteenths of a sonnet is near enough three lines, so you can see how condensed a haiku is, and why you can’t waste a single syllable.

That was probably the most important thing I learned.

Now, it’s time to take Number Two Son to work.

Over the next few weeks I will do some rewriting and may show you a few poems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tearoom Tour – Number 1 – Thoresby Park

I’ve been meaning to start a Tearoom Tour of Britain, with a target of 100 in the year. Julia has indicated disbelief in my ability to do this (citing logistical difficulties rather than my lack of capacity for cream teas).

Rather than put a number to it, I’m going to start and see where we end up.

Today we went to Thoresby in Sherwood Forest. It’s not the best of the grand houses in the forest but it’s free and the service is a lot better in the cafe than the off-hand, rude, inefficient and useless service encountered at Clumber. Clumber is a better attraction in general, though expensive if you aren’t a member of the National Trust. But the cafe at Thoresby is a lot better. You may have formed that idea after reading my comments on the disgracefully bad, lamentable, terrible, rotten service at the Clumber cafe.

That’s why we won’t be rejoining the National Trust this year. We aren’t saying we won’t rejoin in the future, but for the next year or two their surly waiting staff will have cost them money.

Anyway, back to Thoresby. We didn’t have much time so we had a quick snack – I had the cream tea, Julia had the toasted teacake and we both had plenty of tea. Very palatable, served efficiently by pleasant staff and in nice bright surroundings, There was no time to look round the courtyard, which is partially closed for the winter, but we have done before, and it is worth a visit.

The downside – the scones seem a bit regular and industrial, rather than home made, but they were still good.

I’m happy to recommend Thoresby to anyone. £8.90, in case you are interested.

To be fair, I’m happy to recommend Clumber to anyone who wants grudging, slow, inefficient service in a dingy room, but it’s a niche market. It’s also slightly more expensive, as I recall, but you do get a free snarl and a long wait thrown in as extras.

 

 

Day 101

To be accurate, it’s really only day 75 because I missed a day. While I’m on a roll I’m going to go for the extra 25 and make it a genuine 100.

That’s probably all I need to say about that. From tomorrow I’ll stop rattling on about targets and just get on with it.

I have a few things to do and then I’m going to set to work listing suitable subjects for future posts.

The morning started with sunlight streaming into the living room and dazzling me. An hour later it has now gone grey and the temperature has dropped significantly.

That will do for now – I’m feeling a bit slow due to the pain in my face and Julia needs to go out.

Here are some cheery photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 100!

Finally – day 100 in the posting challenge!

(Well, really day 99 out of 100, but as I’ve averaged over a post a day I’m allowing myself to claim it as completed.)

I’m treating it in a suitably low-key sort of way and celebrated by having a tooth extracted. It wasn’t particularly enjoyable, but it could have been worse. Next time I have a celebration I may stick with the traditional cake-based version.

They gave me a form to fill in afterwards, asking how likely I was to recommend them to a family member. It’s difficult to give a useful answer to that, as I’m not likely to recommend that any member of my family spends half an hour in the dentist’s chair with pliers and power tools in their mouth.

So, what have I learned from my 100 days of posting?

Tricky…

I’ve learned that it’s possible to run out of things to say, and that photos of flowers and cute animals are an acceptable substitute. I’ve also learned that you can grow to hate blogging at times, and that setting a target makes you more likely to do things.

However, I knew that.

I suppose the main thing I’ve learned is that it is possible to set myself a long-term writing target and stick to it. That’s not always been the case in the past.

I also need to list subjects for posts and write some in advance.

That, I think, is about it.

Now, what should I do tomorrow?

On the Way to Work

It was a blood testing day today. I went down for 7.30, missing the initial rush, and found myself third in the queue. Just minutes later I was in the chair, bled in seconds and was out of the car park so quickly there was no need to pay.

After that I picked Julia up, dropped her at work and was at the shop for 9.30. Keen or what?

We had 20 parcels to pack and after a brief pause to eat my marmalade sandwich (I don’t like to eat before the blood test) I set to work.

“A prudent bear always carries a spare marmalade sandwich tucked under his hat in case of emergencies.”

Paddington Bear

I sent a parcel to Slovenia today, which is a personal first, and another to Hawaii, which is a first for the shop. Last week I sent a parcel with a ZIP code of 90210. I’d been close a few weeks ago with 90211 but today I landed right on it. It’s little things like this that keep me happy during the day. I looked the areas up on Google, and it makes me feel quite exotic for the rest of the day.

That was as good as it got. I had the afternoon off, pottered about, listened to the radio as I drove up to Clumber Park, decided not to bother with Clumber Park as the light had gone…

It wasn’t, to be honest, much of an afternoon.

The photographs were taken while we were stuck in traffic on the way to work. We could do much in the way of composition but the colour was nice. There have been better mornings for colour, but not one where we had the camera out and a queue of stopped traffic. Then, being cocky, I took one of a reflection.

Reflected sunrise, Nottingham

Reflected sunrise, Nottingham

 

Some New Challenges

Whilst shopping this afternoon I had a flick through the cookery magazines.

That’s two challenges in one. The first is to stop buying magazines. They are expensive and never as useful as you think they are going to be. I’ll only be buying magazines this year if they have enough free seeds with them to justify the price.

To reinforce the message I’m going to remind myself that it takes me half an hour to earn the money to buy an average magazine.

Second challenge is to find some new recipes.

It’s easy to get bogged down with the same old things. Traybake, pasta bake, vegetable curry, fish pie, cottage pie, stew, hash…

I could do with some new ideas.

Fortunately, I don’t need to get ideas from magazines as there are loads of new ideas on the internet. I will have to see what I can find. I also have a big stack of cookery books. They have all come from charity shops and the food looks lovely.

Time too, I think, to get the slow cooker out again.

Not a Happy Man

Left home at 5.45 this morning to get Julia to work. Face was a bit puckered – felt like I’d been sucking lemons after a night of saline mouthwashes. I’m due at the dentist on Tuesday for round two of the epic tooth tug and want a nice clean mouth.

Went to the airport after that to pick up Number Two Son. Arrived 6.30. His relief was late and we didn’t get away until nearly 8.00. I used my time wisely – having taken a notebook with me, but the sunrise was a depressing, though dry, grey, so no photography.

We got home at 8.45, after a detour to reurn his office keys when he realised he still had them in his pocket.

Fortunately we hadn’t gone far.

Wrote this, mentally ticked another day off my 100. Going back to bed now and will hopefully rise, refreshed, to do the shopping.