"A book of verses, underneath the bough,
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread -- and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness --
Ah, wilderness were paradise enow!"

-- Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as translated by Edward Fitzgerald

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A small medium: 1 X 17 X 285

A small medium:
large ideas at times,
rarely complex ones.

In the spring of 2010, we took a hiking trip in the Grand Canyon.  The trails required us to concentrate on our footing, but at the same time we were always mindful of the beauty that surrounded us.  After the trip, I wanted to apply that experience to my daily routines -- to focus on what was in front of me, but be aware of what was around me.  I am fortunate to live somewhere that is often lovely and always interesting; I wanted to keep myself aware of the loveliness, the entertainment, and the good fortune.

During the same period, I was adjusting to a large tangle of responsibilities I had been handed at work.  (In that sentence, I thought "responsibilities," but first typed "personalities."  Well, yes.)  My mind was often racing, often somewhat incoherently, from topic to topic and problem to problem.

I learned some meditation practices.  I could never quite "not think," as is the goal of meditation, but I learned to better manage the frustration and anger that kept me thinking in circles.

In the course of this, I set myself a challenge of posting a haiku every day on Facebook;  I posted the first on August 10, 2010.  This was after decades of writer's block I went through after college -- I wrote extensively for work, but I could never get past a few pages in my personal writing.

In this challenge, I fail, but I'm learning not to get stuck by my constant small failures.  I do average several a week.  I have rules for myself, although they're not the rules the haiku purists prescribe (of which I'm skeptical for anyone not writing in Japanese).  Write from personal experience; focus on a single image or idea until I can express it in the 5-7-5 format; let it go: post it once it fits the format, even if I don't love it.  (Occasionally I do rewrite verse later.)

I've been deeply grateful for the encouragement people have given me.  Without it, I would have stopped.  (Maybe it's shallow to be like Tinkerbelle and require applause to go on, but there it is.)  I know my verse are sometimes not very good, but other times they are.

Thank you for your kindness.

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