Tag Archives: challenge

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another last minute post!

We had 12 parcels to pack this morning, including seven of bulk coins. It wasn’t one of my favourite days because bulk coins are fiddly to pack.  You have to pack them tight so they don’t rattle like coins, but you also have to pack them so they are flat enough to go through the post as a large letter. It would be a lot easier to pack them as rolls, but more expensive, and customers want to buy coins, not stamps.

During that time we discussed what we’d done on Sunday, which wasn’t exciting, and what we had planned for the afternoon. This wasn’t exciting either.

I went to McDonald’s in Arnold for lunch, but there was a long queue so my healthy eating resolution survived a little longer. Then I thought about fish and chips, but there was nowhere I could think of that allowed me to park close enough (let’s be honest, I make a sloth look industrious). Finally, I bought a chicken sandwich from Wilko.

That, to be honest, wasn’t a great decision, as it was on white bread, but it was next to the stationery, which is what I’d gone in for. They are fixing the surface of the rooftop car park at Wilko. I include this detail not because it is interesting, but because someone reading this blog in 100 years may find it to be a valuable historical nugget.

You never know. A child doing a school project in the next century might want to know about Arnold, or car parking or 21st century diets. Whether they will benefit from an insight into my life is another question.

Back home I made a fish pie and a vegetable curry – one for tea tonight and one for tea on Wednesday. The Tuesday evening meal will be the warmed up stew from Sunday, one bowl for me and one for Number Two Son. Julia is going out with her coven of friends for a meal and will escape the leftovers.

It’s taken a long time to write this, and I’m left with just nine minutes to post before midnight – please forgive any ragged edges but I have a deadline to meet and a challenge to face.

 

 

 

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse…

I unlocked, turned off the alarm and went through to the back room to switch on the lights and computers…

Nothing.

A lot of the sockets were dead and a look at the fuseboard showed one of the two power circuits had tripped. We couldn’t reset it but we did manage to arrange a couple of extension leads to run the phones, a computer and the credit card machine.

It’s likely that the heavy rain has been getting in again. The electrician is coming on Monday and we will find out then.

Apart from that, my watch broke. Just as I found the power was out one of the spring-loaded bars in my watch strap broke and the watch fell off.

It never rains but it pours…

That may not be an appropriate expression if it turns out to be an electrical fault caused by water. I have had experience of that before and ended up with a surprise and a sooty burn mark on my hand.

In the evening I went to collect my tablets, using the prescription I picked up yesterday. I noticed, when reading the prescription, that I have the normal slew of threatening messages about reviews and appointments and, this time, a demand that I book an appointment for epilepsy screening.

This is why I don’t normally bother reading notes and letters from the doctor – I’m now worried what they know that I don’t.

 

 

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…

A Drive in Derbyshire

1st November and, by coincidence, it’s Day 25 of the 100 Posts/100 Days Challenge. So far, so good, with posts on 25 successive days.

I’m cutting a few corners to keep to the target but it’s not too bad – I’ve always done that, even when I wasn’t trying to keep to a target. It’s not as if the written version is ever as good as the version I have in my head when I sit down to type.

We went to Derbyshire today – looking for autumn colour and fresh air. The air was certainly fresh, but most of the colour seemed to be either dull or, as we got further North, lacking. At the top of the county only the beech trees seemed to be showing any coloured leaves. The rest of the trees were bare.The header picture shows Wingfield Manor, one of the places Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned.

 

 

Some Photographs

This is what happens whe you are on a mission to post every day, when your wife is going mad looking for something and you can’t concentrate because of the noise and bustle. Yes, twenty four days into the 100 day self-imposed challenge and I’m sticking in three photos to make sure I don’tmiss a day.

I really should do better.

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Silver Birch Clumber Park

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Clumber Park

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Dead Trees –  Clumber Park

 

 

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.