Category Archives: poetry

A Haibun about Editors

Editors

In my mind’s eye I see them sitting in their turrets, pale creatures with staring eyes, their unkempt hair laced with cobwebs.

Muttering, they read my submissions and slash at them with their editing quills, using ink mixed from the blood of kittens and the bitter tears of disappointed authors.

The rejection stings, but it does no lasting harm. Ten minutes later the urge to write a witty but insulting riposte has gone and the feeling of worthless failure has faded. In my mind’s eye I now see someone much more respectable and less likely to be cruel to kittens.

We need editors and as I mellow I begin to feel grateful for their efforts in running magazines. 

I start work on another submission, but I can’t quite shake the feeling that if I was to send a gift-wrapped unicorn it would turn into a donkey under the scrutiny of editors.

 

editor’s email

opened with hope

read with dismay

 

I don’t generally publish my own poetry and I will, later, write about my thoughts on self-publication, but I thought I’d give it a shot this time as this one is unlikely to be accepted. I like haibun – they are like writing a normal blog post and adding three short lines of poetry. You can add more, but I didn’t want to spoil you.

(Sorry about the double spacing in the haiku – I don’t seem to be able to get rid of it. Come to think of it, it’s actually a senryu not a haiku. Ah well…)

Inspiration

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Heavily stamped envelope

This is my version of the Random Idea Generator. I just stick a load of stamps on and take a picture to remind myself later.

Spanish Armada, Fishermen, Sign Language, Tropical Fish, Horse Chestnut, The Mallard, Landscape, Flowers, Gramophone,  Postal Union, Fire Engine, Radio Broadcasting, Inigo Jones building, Inigo Jones masque costumes.

That’s just a taster. Many of them lead on to other thoughts.

Here are a few others.

More Stampish Inspiration

More Stampish Inspiration

 

Roald Dahl, Cats, Morgan Le Fey, Merlin, Christmas, Cricket, Edward Lear, Pathe News, National Trust Cliff, Bittern, a couple I’m not sure about (including a French Horn), Rugby League, Golf, Football, something to do with Springtime and Queen Elizabeth II.

I really must read them more thoroughly next time and remember what they are.

I’m not sure they will convert to haiku very easily, but they should work for haibun and other forms. The prompts will be incorporated into my writing challenges. (Because they aren’t already hard enough…)

 

Haiku Challenge – Day 27 – Ups and Downs

I was going to post a couple of days ago when it was day 25. This would have been quarter of the way through, but I was diverted and didn’t get on with it.

However, if I had updated at that time I wouldn’t have been able to include details of my latest rejection, as mentioned yesterday. Nor would I have been able to contrast reality with my comment in the previous report. I said:

“However, I’m not going to make any boastful claims just now. I’m going to send some of the new haiku off over the next few weeks and see if any editors like them.”

It’s fortunate that I didn’t make any boastful claims, as I did send some off to an editor, and the editor returned them. It’s difficult to tell, but I suspect this indicates my haiku writing hasn’t improved as much as I thought.

Set against that, there is the Autumn edition of Wales Haiku Journal. Near the bottom of the page is my first published haiku. It’s under the name of Simon Wilson rather than Quercus, but it is me. If I was going to lie about it I’d have chosen a better one…

Grumpiness Level Rising

Interesting day.

After my first post I mooched round the house a bit and gathered the washing. I just managed to get the first two loads into dryers when a crowd formed. It was like a flash mob of people with bags of wet washing. Several of them scowled at me for my temerity in having two machines. I had three loads to do so I deliberately split the last load between the two washers and sat there looking smug to the bitter end.

I hate people who use the dryers without using a washer in the launderette.

I’m not keen on people who scowl at me either.

To be fair, they probably aren’t keen on me either.

Then it was off shopping. There were a lot of people in the shop who explored new and inventive ways of getting in my way.

I hate…etc…

They should be identified as children by their tendency to dawdle and sterilised. That way they might be able to get in my way but they won’t have a brood of useless children to help them in the activity

By this time I felt the need to sit in the car and write haiku.

Unfortunately I ended up writing a haibun about people getting in my way.

It didn’t help.

I feel the calming effect of Japanese poetry might be wearing off.

 

Decisions…

I’ve delivered Julia to work, I’ve re-set my car clock to GMT and I’ve had a drive round to look at nature from the inside of a heated car.

I hadn’t intended driving round so didn’t have a notebook with me, and have returned with two haiku and a couple of notes scribbled on the back of a car park ticket. I keep meaning to get a recorder to carry with me – this phone doesn’t seem to offer that facility.

I’m now facing a big decision. Do I do the laundry or do I write a post? I think you can probably guess the answer from the fact you are reading this.

It will save time later, as the days soon pass and I’m so disorganised that it could easily be close to midnight before I actually press the button to publish. That’s what happened last night. I  started writing around 7.00 and it was close to midnight when I eventually posted. It didn’t, as you may guess, take me five hours to write. But somehow I managed to fill the rest of the time with eating, napping, watching TV, talking to Julia and surfing eBay.

At the moment “out of control” is the theme of my life. The garden needs tidying, the house needs a serious declutter and I have letters to write regarding both health and finance – all important stuff.

I have also lost control of my haiku. I don’t know how many I’ve written on my challenge (though it is at least ten a day, so I’m keeping up with it) and I still have a lot to edit,  type and index. It’s the indexing that’s tricky. They don’t have titles. They don’t lend themselves to numbering due to my habit of making and keeping multiple edits. Quite often they have the same first line (see previous comments on multiple edits). All in all they are slippery little creatures and trying to keep them under control is like trying to herd hamsters.

Looks like I’m going to have to look at numbering again, or risk upsetting an editor.

This post marks 21 successive days of posting. Early days yet, but I’m starting to establish a habit.

At this point the 21 days could be significant, as the old saying is that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This, as with so many things, is a myth. Newer research indicates that it takes between 18 and 254 days to form a habit.

Writing haiku, which was a development of my normal poetry writing only seemed to take a week to take hold but my broken blogging habit doesn’t feel established after 21 days. Eating salad would probably take 254 days to become a habit. Even at 254 days it wouldn’t so much be a case of forming a habit, more like breaking my spirit and me losing the will to live.

A Beautiful Morning

I picked Number Two Son up from work this morning. At 6.30 it was still dark. In fact at 7.00 it was still dark. A few weeks ago I witnessed a fine sunrise at this time and a month before that it was full daylight.

The year is clearly declining.

However, by the time he got to the car at 7.10 the sunrise was starting and after we’d driven a couple of miles it was forming a great backdrop to pictures of trees and electricity pylons as they rose from the early morning mist.

On the other side of the road a power station rose, massive and mysterious, from more mist. The mist of the Trent Valley is one of the under-rated sights of Britain.

I had my camera with me, but there was nowhere to stop.

This is a shame as I can’t share the glorious morning with you.

But it’s also a good thing, as these photographs rarely look as good as the real thing. I have, several times, cheapened my memories with photographs that don’t reflect the true beauty of the scene.

 

It’s very tempting to add a haiku to this and claim it as poetry. In the next post I will explain why I didn’t.

Haiku Challenge – 1st Report

A thousand haiku in a hundred days.

I seemed simple enough, even after reading this article.

Buson started his original challenge on Buddha’s birthday.  Joan Zimmerman started hers on 4th July. I started mine on the day I thought of it. That was the first lesson – if I’m going to be arty I have to start looking at the details.

So, how is it going?

Well, I’m twelve days in and should, to be on target, have produced 120 haiku. That’s a lot, particularly as I find them quite tough. I actually missed a day but managed to pull it back by writing extra the next day.

I’m actually ahead of the count, but that’s not really important.

My main problem with haiku is that even though the 5-7-5 syllable count is not now considered necessary there are still several rules to follow – season words, cutting words and such – and I tend to cramp up when composing.

Making myself write haiku in quantity was hard for the first few days but I’m now more relaxed about it and they are coming more easily. I’m even writing a few decent ones. In time I hope to become both more prolific and a better writer.

So far it seems to be working.