Category Archives: writing

Haiku Challenge – Day 66

I’m two thirds of the way through the challenge and it wouldn’t bother me if I never saw a haiku again.

I’m still plodding on, because I don’t want to give up on it, but it’s becoming a chore.

On the other hand, when I had to write thirty last night to catch up on the last few days I managed it in an hour, so my fluency has definitely improved. This is a good thing, despite the accompanying negativity.

And that’s my post for the day. I’m two thirds of the way through the challenge and it wouldn’t bother me if I never wrote another report on the challenge again.

 

 

 

A Good Start to the Week

Just thought I’d mention that if you happened to be browsing Haibun Today there are a couple of haibun in there under my name (Wilson, that is, not Quercus).

I was just looking through links, deciding which editor to inflict my next group of submissions on, when I remembered that they should be out. They are, and I had a pleasant moment seeing my name in print. In fact, there have been intermittent feelings of happiness all day, with a touch of smugness now and again.

It’s a mixed feeling. I’m happy to see them published, but I’m also slightly embarrassed because there are far better ones published in the same edition and am now thinking that I really should do better.

It’s similar to the problem I’m having with my next round of submissions. When I had nothing published I had nothing to lose. Now that I have had a couple of acceptances I have a standard to compare myself to, and work that would at one time have been sent out, is now sitting in a file because I’m now not sure it’s good enough.

I suppose this is fear, and fear is why we don’t do things. It’s good in some ways, because I’ve avoided lions, poisonous snakes and bungee jumping, which are all potentially fatal. However, the fear of foreign travel, salad and failure may well have held me back from a more interesting life. I do try to see failure as a step on the way to success, but it can be hard.

I am now going to look at my name in print again. Despite my misgivings there are worse things to do.

The photos have nothing to do with the subject of the post, but everyone loves a baby seal, apart from fishermen and furriers, so I thought I’d use it again. The seagulls are just there because I decided I wanted a floating bird of the day.

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Black-headed Gulls in winter plumage

 

 

 

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…)

 

A Lack of Ideas and a Tour of the Internet

I tried another writing prompt – “Write about your day so far”. I’ve only been up an hour and I haven’t actually set foot outside the house. It could be tricky.

So I tried again – “Write about something you got for free”. After much thought I  remembered that I had a free blood test and, because everything went well, my car parking was also free. I think I covered that in several previous posts.

At least I’ve started writing. For a few minutes at the start I just sat and stared at the screen. I’ve been doing that  for the last few days. It’s not that I’m lacking inspiration, it’s just that there’s so much of it that I don’t seem to be able to get any work done.

I’ve just been watching a TV programme where Tanni Grey Thompson has been looking into her grandfather’s service as an air raid warden in WW2. I learnt a lot I hadn’t known before, and was very impressed with some of the things I hadn’t realised.

This set me off  on a tour of Wikipedia as it’s a subject close to my heart. I recently read a piece that referred to people who didn’t serve in the forces as “shirkers”, which didn’t strike me as fair or accurate.

Seven thousand Civil Defence workers were killed in the UK during the war – something I hadn’t realised before. One of my grandfathers was in a reserved occupation during the war. He volunteered for the RAF twice and his employers applied to have him back twice. He served as fireman in his spare time and found himself called out during the air raids on Liverpool and Manchester.

His brother, a railwayman, was also in a reserved occupation. He was in the Special Constabulary when he wasn’t working.

Strikes me that it was hard work being a shirker.

The Downward Trend Continues

Since I last wrote of my dull day things have showed little improvement. Nothing interesting has sold, nothing interesting has been loaded on eBay and nothing interesting has happened.

I say “nothing interesting” but had better qualify that. Nothing good and interesting has happened. I removed one of my dental crowns whilst chewing a caramel, which was interesting, particularly as I have a history of swallowing them.

I’ve wedged it back in for the moment as my six-monthly check up is due in a couple of weeks and I’m hoping to avoid a special trip to the dentist. It’s only come out twice since then, one of them being when I flicked it out with a toothpick.

Then there was the car insurance – it’s gone up by 15% so far and we haven’t even discussed my unfortunate brush with the speed camera. Someone is taking the mickey.

This morning I woke and as I sat on the edge of the bed I noticed blood dripping onto my legs. It was a bit of a surprise at the time but I have a history of nosebleeds so I’m not unduly worried. The main problem is getting the blood out of the pillowcase. (You may want to bookmark this page under “Famous Last Words” in case I’m wrong).

Minutes later things took a turn for the worse when I was informed that Julia was ill. She did this by groaning dramatically, making a sweeping arm gesture and croaking “I’m ill.”

She slept all day and has consistently refused food so it’s quite serious. I hope she gets well soon because I had to make my own sandwiches this morning.

Finally, I had a rejection on my last haiku submission. That was depressing for about twenty minutes, but after that I had plenty to do and forgot about it until now. I’m having a think now, not sure whether it’s part of the downward trend or something I should zone out.

According to my current thought process every rejection brings an acceptance one step nearer, so a rejection is actually a good thing.

 

Challenge Reports

The 100 Posts/100 Days Challenge is on course, with seventeen successive days done. Only 83 days to go.

I’ve done better in the past, so I’m not getting too excited yet, though it’s nice to see things taking shape. I’m struggling at the moment, to be honest. I have plenty to say but  either a lack of enthusiasm or a lack of skill seems to be slowing me down. It will come. I have plenty of things to say but I’m struggling to write them down.

I’m sure it will get better.

Meanwhile, the Haiku Challenge is going quite well. Sixteen days in and I’m starting to find things a bit easier. With writing regularly I’m finding it easier to understand the structure and, as a result, easier to write things that look and sound like haiku.

Now that I can do that I’m able to relax and generate more ideas.

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.

That’s all for now – I just thought I’d let you know that life isn’t all fun and curry.