I started out writing haiku kind of as a joke while working in corporate America. I’m sure you’re familiar with such a place, one of those three-initial companies that’s short for Hell On Earth or similar.
It was a way for my friends and I to poke fun – maybe even just a smidge nastily – at our unbearable coworkers and seemingly never-ending sentence in such a soul-stealing environment. And it was a way to unleash my creativity that really had no other outlet at that time.
I began writing them before I went back to school in 2003; I started dating them in January of 2004 and haven’t stopped.
Work makes me happy.
I love all aspects of it.
Am I lying? Yes.
early haiku, circa 2003
Once I started writing haiku in my orange composition notebook, I couldn’t stop. They just became a natural expression of my mind and
creativity. I loved the process of really thinking about the words I’d use because there is no room for fat, so to speak, when writing a five-seven-five syllable per line haiku.
It didn’t take long, especially once I went back to school, for the haikus to turn more into stemming from random inspirations like the sound of the train that rolls by the end of my street or the smell of my neighbor’s cigarette wafting up from his porch than being driven by my unhappiness at work.
A few years later, I discovered tanka poetry – a five-seven-five-seven-seven cousin of the haiku.
the scent of childhood.
A full bush, roadside;
pond glistens, azure sky,
green field dotted yellow.
one of my first tankas from 2007
While these Japanese forms of poetry generally take their inspiration from nature, mine sometimes dig much deeper – and darker. I’ve written about death, loneliness, the dissolution of a long-term relationship and even vampires.
What can I say, ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to be one …
And of course I’ve written the anthesis of those subjects with happy subject matters like my current relationship, sunny days, nature and plenty of trips to New York City.
Here are examples of both ends of my spectrum:
An icy river
flows between the two of us,
though not strong enough
to destroy “us” as well as
we have destroyed us ourselves.
If this is not how
“it’s” supposed to feel, then we
The orange notebook is nearly filled now, eight years after I first wrote in it. I’ve changed, my subjects have varied and I’d like to think I’ve grown as a haiku/tanka writer.
I always said that when all the pages in this notebook are filled, I’d pick some of my favorites to publish as a book.
I already have the title for it – but that you’ll have to wait for.