Monday, January 6, 2014

Haiku in the New Year

When I was privileged to be the writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Florida a couple of years ago, I tried writing haiku from time to time. It seemed appropriate. Kerouac wrote haiku, and sometimes very good ones. It wasn't always traditional, the 5-7-5 syllables, the mention of season, the juxtaposition of thought. But it was interesting, sometimes poignant, sometimes even funny, and always, it seemed Kerouacian cool.

My haiku? Well, the poems seemed amateurish. But they got better, I thought. It was fun to write them, at least.

So in this new year, I've been trying to get back into some semblance of meditation. Simple stuff. Just a way to clear my head and ground my thoughts. And from time to time, jotting down a haiku or two. Not as a writing process really, but more as a "moment in time." Just something to add to my meditation.

I worked on a standing meditation this morning, breathing and soft, light movement. The 15-minute meditation produced this:

I follow my breath
    the icicle hangs from high
In a silent day

And, in a more modern approach...

I stand and move
    a slow silence
The dog sleeps

Any good? Hell, I don't know. Really don't care. It was just an exercise in thought, in emotion. I offer this as a suggestion. When you're approaching something new, something creative, set no bars to jump. Just do the thing. Let it be. Let it happen. No goals. No judgement.

Somehow this seems appropriate for writing haiku, and for the New Year.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Have I Bit Off Too Much?

I'm not much of a resolution guy, at least when it comes to the New Year. I think of it more as a refresh or a reawakening. 

This year I began several new initiatives and I'm concerned I may have given myself too much to consider. Well, maybe not. Honestly, I don't know. 

I started meditation. Light stuff. Something I had done, and done poorly, before. But I found a new book - "Mindfulness" - that is helping. We'll see. 

I also started a new food plan to lose a few pounds. That, has been, so far, going incredibly well. I actually started this a day BEFORE the New Year. All so cliche, right? 

And today, I also began a new story, one that was inspired by several storylines in movies I've seen lately. Inspiration from other stories is not unusual (and not copying, by the way). These storylines and my own life experiences have been bubbling on this one for some time. It's about a banished professor who returns to the English countryside where he wrote his first and only book to be confronted by a young woman who insists he has written about her life. She is compelled to meet him. He is reluctant and impatient with her, considering her a bit of a nutcase. But when she begins to reveal her story, he is haunted by its precise detail, details from his book and his life. Well, at least I think that's where it's going. You know how that is...the story will ultimately tell itself. 

I also returned to my work on pet stories, a group of essays I hope to complete this winter. 

All too much? 

Maybe. But, if all of it doesn't stick, some of it will, right?