When I started this blog something had happened to my brain.
It was as if there was a faucet or spigot in my brain and I could turn it on and haiku came out.
At the time, I was working for Television News and commuting to downtown Atlanta with a 1 hour drive each way morning and night, 5 days a week.
I was surrounded by words.
Often the odd combination of words as they crossed my brain created the 5-7-5 combinations of syllables that haiku required.
I started to write down and then post these odd little word combinations in a ‘blog.’
At some point I started adding short essay’s that told how the haiku came together.
These essay’s evolved into longer essays of social comment and autobiography that to tell the truth, really surprised me in their length, content and reception.
I was seeking a personal creative outlet.
That effort this found an audience was and is beyond words.
Then I changed jobs.
I was no longer in news.
I no longer had 2 hours a day to contemplate and think in the car.
And the spigot of haiku got turned off.
At least that is was I like to think.
I also became more aware of my audience and that also freaked me out a little.
Any way, the haiku stopped.
After two years of these word combinations spewing out of my brain, they stopped.
Smugly, I had chosen to title my blog entries with the day’s date.
The day’s between the dates grew longer and longer.
Those gaps and my lack of enforced isolation and my change in location all combined into a cruel writers block that fed itself.
I slowly came to terms with my audience.
I slowly came to terms with my loss of two hours a day of isolation.
I slowly came to terms with my day.
But those gaps in my lists of haiku gnawed at my soul.
To overcome this I started creating haiku from word combinations from just one book.
I noticed that some authors had a way of choosing words that appealed to me and often a haiku or two or more would jump out at me.
I started putting these haiku together and back-posting them in my blog to feel in the gaps.
I hope I do not create an atmosphere of disingenuity by implying that these haiku were written on the date they were assigned.
My blog my rules.
So there it is.
Filling in those gaps has helped me go forward with a little more less awareness of those gaps and fear of having gaps.
Much like an overdue homework assignment that will never get written, I needed to get these gaps out of the way.
Each haiku still appeals to me for the way the words come together.
I don’t want to say they were thrown together as space fillers because they weren’t.
I often regret a haiku that is banished to some far date back in March or April and I know no one will read it but then no one was ever supposed to read it so not reading does not diminish it an any way.
Those are these haiku.
At this time these are the major haiku series:
Adapted from the book, The Art of Travel (2002, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton
Inspired or grounded in visits to the beach and when, at this time, I saw beach, I mean the beaches of Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.
A Week at the Airport
Adapted from the book, A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary (2009, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton
Architecture of Happiness
Adapted from the book, The Architecture of Happiness (2009, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton
Based on the essays of Henry Louis Mencken was an American journalist, essayist, satirist, cultural critic, and scholar of American English.
I also wrote the rest of this essay to explain the series.
I hope I am forgiven for this license in titling my haiku.
As I read and explore old and new books I am often struck by an author’s ‘turn of phrase’.
If it is a new book or author or one that I haven’t read recently, I find myself saying, ‘that would make a good …’ or ‘I like how those words connect, I could turn them into a …”
For example, HL Mencken’s work.
I have always admired the work and writing of HL Mencken.
Mr. Mencken stands alone in his work on American English as a language.
Through his work, his construction and vocabulary is a wonder to behold.
Then there is Mencken the man.
A man with many prejudices say some critics.
Not prejudiced, say others, he hated everyone and everything the same.
At least everything and anything that walked with pretention and falseness.
In the play about the Scopes Trial, ‘Inherit the Wind’, Gene Kelly, plays the reporter, HE Hornbeck, a role modeled after Mr. Mencken.
The Clarence Darrow character named Henry Drummond, played by Spencer Tracy, gets tired of Hornbeck and yells, “Hornbeck, I’m getting tired of you. You never push a noun against a verb without trying to blow up something.”
The point here is that I am going to work with Mr. Mencken.
I am going to look for his construction and vocabulary and see what kind of haiku might be fashioned.
Along with Mr. Mencken, as I go through new books, I may turn out a couple of (or maybe a dozen or maybe more) new Haiku.
When this happens, I will enter those Haiku as a series based on either a certain author or book.
Looking for the words here.
I often picture an author crafting a certain turn of phrase and I hope to bring recognition this.
Witness CS Forester in his book, Beat to Quarters of the Hornblower series.
Mr. Forester wrote: “Twice had that ill-omened lugger been seen in this very Gulf of Panama, and twice she had been the bearer of bad news. Hornblower wondered, with a twinge of superstition, what this third encounter would bring forth.”
Long have I admired the use of twice twice third and then forth.
I imagine Mr. Forester writing that with a chuckle and an editor reading it over with a sigh.
I can turn that into:
twice twice bad news third
two times bring forth what
Also I recently came across the writing of Alain de Botton.
According to Wikipedia, Mr. de Botton is a Swiss-born British philosopher and author. His books discuss various contemporary subjects and themes, emphasizing philosophy’s relevance to everyday life.
I am not sure about his philosophy or philosophy’s relevance to everyday life but I was very much taken with his use of language.
Almost every paragraph of his might be adapted to haiku just because of the words he uses.
I have to appreciate that and Mr. de Botton’s work has been the source of many fill in haiku.
Look for series of Haiku based on authors or books throughout this blog.
And let me know your thoughts.