Sunday, January 31, 2010

Haiku #261

patience:
winter hawk hovering
in this bitter wind

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Haiku #260

factory smoke
frozen in the sky
this winter night

Friday, January 29, 2010

Haiku #259

delicate pink moon
the softest and sweetest breath
would tear you apart

Haiku #258

bright moon
aspen's shadow
on blue snow

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Progress

Ah, I've written 7 haibun so far. Two more today! I won't post the new ones quite yet. Something is building. A project. Songs for Ryokan.

Haiku #257

clothes
line jumping
in the wind

Haiku #256

yellow cat
tiptoes over light
dusting of snow

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter Journal: Haibun #3

UPDATE: This work has been accepted for publication at Haibun Today. As soon as it appears in early March, I'll let people know how to find it again. Working with Haibun Today has been a great experience. Response time was short and editorial assistance first rate.

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I have removed this haibun because it is currently under consideration at Haibun Today.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haibun Moleskine Journal 2010: Entry #2

Photograph, pen & ink, acrylic wash, pastel.

Winter Journal: Haibun #2

I walk in the back field with the dogs. Snow is melting. The bare ground shows in places: brown stubble.

puddles
hold ice and leaves
bubbles on the surface

Plant heads are delicate baskets full of seeds. They wave on long stalks. The dogs want to run ahead. I call them back, afraid of the coyotes. Only when we turn toward the house do I let them go.

two black and white dogs
run toward home
disappear in silver fog




Haibun Moleskine Journal 2010: Entry #1

This is how the actual paper journal entry turned out. Collage: photo; pen & ink, acrylic wash.*

*Note: I amended the entry after it was scanned. The two haiku now read:

they sparkle
two dark eyes
in the brown face

black fields
and then a white house
no lights on

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter Walk

Seeds: Waiting

A Yard Spirit that Allen made.

On the trail leading to the barn.


The Airstream: Writing place



Sweet Pea (Left); Buddha (Right)




Winter Journal: Haibun #1

Tandoor: crowded tonight! We drink beer, toasting our dead relatives. Before leaving, my husband puts on his white hat. A small boy watches him from another table.

they sparkle
two dark eyes
in the brown face

We take the slow way home through solitary farmland and small towns.

black fields
and then a white house
no lights on.

The first entry

My next post is going to be the first entry in my new paper journal. I just spent about an hour drafting it. The new journal is a haibun journal, a combination of prose and haiku. Like haiku, the haibun has compressed language and it emphasizes the image over explaining. I'll try to put the entry in the new journal tomorrow.

Characteristics of haibun, according to The Haiku Handbook (Higginson & Harter):

1. Written in prose, usually concluded with one or more haiku
2. Brief
3. Abbreviated in syntax; grammar words, sometimes even verbs are omitted.
4. No explanation of the haiku; the connection between the prose and the haiku is often like linking in renga.
5. Imagistic; relatively few abstractions or generalizations.
6. Objective; the writer is somewhat detached, maintains an aesthetic distance, even when describing himself.
7. Often humorous.

I believe the haibun journal will be good for me for several reasons.

*For one thing, I'm requiring my poetry students to keep one. I think I should keep one as well.

*Two: one of my major breakthroughs for the novel happened as a result of writing haibun this past summer.

*Three: it's always good to get aesthetic distance from every day experience.

*Four: Compression is important for me to practice, as I have a tendency to be wordy.

*Five: focusing on imagery is also important for me, as I have a tendency to be vague.

*Six: Basho says we don't have to say "everything" in each piece that we write. Haibun will help me to accept that, to be happy with saying one thing as well as I can.

*Seven: humor; I need to practice giving my writings a lighter touch.

As for the journal itself, it is a Moleskinne with heavy paper.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiku #255

opossum
pale in the headlights
this moonless light

Starting a new journal

Quick sketch of Sweetpea playing with a ball.

I'm going to be starting a new paper journal soon. I bought some cheap Speedball nibs today, and I want to do the journal in waterproof ink. The journal will be a combination of writing and sketches.


I got Higgins ink but was a little disappointed that it's not as deep and black as the India ink I remember from my youth. (I haven't done pen and ink like this since highschool). The ink I used to use was very black and glossy.


I need waterproof ink because I may decide to go over the writing with watercolors.

Experimenting with the nibs, I did this tiny page in my regular journal, the one I use to jot down thoughts, make sketches, etc.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiku #254

On the eating man's sleeve--
tiny and shaped like a crab--
winter spider

Haiku #253

growing smaller
a January surprise
melting icicle

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Winter

When the ground is snow-covered you really wonder why this isn't called Winter Semester.

I looked around my livingroom this afternoon. Since we gave up TV, the chairs are no longer pointed at the tube. They are pointed at the woodheater. This is one reason why I love winter, the woodheater. I love it that fire is the focal point of our house. I always feel sad when spring arrives and the heater goes dead.

I am excited to think of my students reading James Wright and Georg Trakl together.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Floreta and the Ohio

Just had a great editing session with the second Floreta story. I think it's ready to send out.

I have definitely decided that the Floreta stories will comprise the Ohio River novel, which I have been working on for four years.

The Ohio River novel has been tough going, not for lack of material but for lack of story. I've had touble finding the right characters and a central conflict that works. Everytime I'd get the narrative action to Pittsburgh, the story would die. I'd lose interest.

The only way I can stick to a project is to be curious about what will happen. I now have a character with a compelling problem, miles to go, and enlightenment waiting. Getting her to the end is going to be a lot of fun.

Now that I have two Floreta stories, essentially Chapts. 1 and 2 of the novel, I can see exactly how to structure the novel. I did an outline of it tonight (a very sketchy one) and was so excited because the entire project looks like something I can accomplish now.

I have all the writing I did at Provincetown and writing I've done since Provincetown. I just have to figure out how it all fits into my scheme.

The trip out west this summer showed me what I needed to do. A similar thing happened when I was working on my first novel. I floundered for many years until I took up weaving. We bought a floor loom and I learned how to use it, making rugs and scarves. It was such a meditative practice and it taught me that I am a weaver not just of yarn and cloth, I am a weaver stories, too. So, to emphasize this new awareness, I made my main character a weaver in that first book.

The western trek changed me: As a result of that trip, I understand so much more about the world. The unusual landscapes spoke to aspects of myself I had not formerly explored, had not known existed. So as I introduced the loom in my first book, I have brought the westward trek into my second. This provides structure and also meaning.

I start back to school Monday happy about what I accomplished over break. I hope to be able to keep writing, although I know this will be a very busy semester. Then I hope to make real progress this summer. It would be so good to finish the summer with a full first draft of the book: maybe I'm overreaching here. I guess I'm just excited. I realize the task of writing even one story is harder than it may first appear. There's no end to the trouble that a writer can run into. But I've hacked through some serious weeds the last week, and the view is much more clear ahead than it's ever been.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Packing to Go Home

I was very amused by one of my recent dreams. The meaning of the dream is obvious in the context of my activities in the days prior. I'd been working hard on my second Floreta story, and it was getting too big and complicated. It had lost its narrative drive, its ability to make a powerful, clear point. I was frustrated because I couldn't fit everything into the story that I wanted to.

So I dreamed that I was in a strange city--Paris--and I was trying to pack my luggage in time to get on my plane. But I found I had too much stuff, and it was all disorganized: it was everywhere! I was stuffing my bags but then I'd find more stuff under chairs, heaped in piles along the walls. And time was running out to catch my plane. I was afraid I'd never get home.

So obvious, right? Needless to say, the next day I dismantled the story in its overblown form, realizing that I had at least three good stories in that one manuscript. I laughed about that dream all day.

And I finished a story I'm proud of with lots of stuff to spare for more stories!

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Northwest Ohio, United States
"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken

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Fave Painting: Eden

Fave Painting:  Eden

Fave Painting: The Three Ages of Man and Death

Fave Painting:  The Three Ages of Man and Death
by Albrecht Dürer

From the First Chapter

The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

My Original Artwork: Triptych

My Original Artwork:  Triptych

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