Haiku Weekly

 
 
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This is one of two daily projects that I have decided to do in 2008. The other one was called One Place at A Time and is visual. The basis of this project was very simple. Every day this year I wrote a haiku, without thinking too much about it. A haiku, in case you have forgotten, usually comes in three lines. The first and third lines are five syllables long. The middle line has seven syllables.

this is no haiku
the middle line has seven syllables
or damn well ought to

The following is what I wrote at the beginning of the project.

Introduction

I have no doubt that many of these haikus will be banal at best. The point of this project is not to produce great pseudo-Japanese literature, though. It is to train my writing muscles by actually writing. The point (of both the projects) is to commit myself to focusing for a moment every day – visually and verbally – and the reason that the projects are as they are is because I wanted to devise something that I could credibly imagine that I could keep up.

I could have decided to write a children’s book, and committed myself to writing a chapter a week, but the simple fact is that I know I wouldn’t keep it up. Something would intervene and I would lose the thread. How difficult, though, can it be to scribble seventeen syllables into my Clie at some point every day?

The rules

Since this is as much a training exercise as a literary endeavour there is only one real rule: the haikus will all follow the traditional 5-7-5 discipline. There is nothing sacred about their spontaneity. I will go back and revise them, if a revision occurs to me. I will, however, make a note of where I have revised them.

I am beginning the process by arranging the haikus into weekly installments in the untested belief that my moods change during weekends, and that there may well be a general theme or mood flowing through each week’s entries.

I will change this if it proves to be a useless schema.

The changes

Several months later: not useless, perhaps; but certainly misleading.

Originally this was called The Daily Haiku and, as outlined above, my intention was to post a haiku every day. Wha I have discovered is that the weekly sequences have begun to take precedence. I have not been writing daily in the same way that I have been taking photographs every day. What I have been doing is finding a theme for each week and then writing and revising a sequence of seven related haikus during that week.

It therefore seems more honest to rename this Haiku Weekly, and so (on June 20th) that is just what I have done!

The haikus

January
Week 01: winter blues
Week 02: clear sweep
Week 03: radio breakfasts
Week 04: snowfarers
Week 05: office hours

February
Week 06: if everybody sings...
Week 07: jungle fever
Week 08: jungle cool
Week 09: the joy of damage

March
Week 10: baggage collection
Week 11: bacon rolls
Week 12: some bears
Week 13: daddy's taking us

April
Week 14: a different country
Week 15: no teacher
Week 16: the music of maps
Week 17: postcards from london

May
Week 18: vappu ferry
Week 19: the butterfly truck
Week 20: the life of larry
Week 21: the shadowed men
Week 22: horror show

June
Week 23: the week of the creepers
Week 24: harmonica tunes
Week 25: vocabulary
Week 26: chicken cubes on sticks

July
Week 27: neck wire bikecart
Week 28: pellinki days
Week 29: fresh documentation
Week 30: my how the time does fly
Week 31: fishing line dances

August
Week 32: monsoon people
Week 33: the story of A to E
Week 34: her heart of darkness
Week 35: mail train from xanadu

September
Week 36: staging posts
Week 37: leaving the party
Week 38: watching the days get shorter
Week 39: the famous delivery

October
Week 40: code red
Week 41: the fox and the mouse
Week 42: flying east
Week 43: needles and pins
Week 44: slow motion recovery

November
Week 45: out of the hole
Week 46: bright red everywhere
Week 47: toad speaks with forked tongue
Week 48: see dick count see jane count

December
Week 49: simple ways of attachment
Week 50: music of the world
Week 51: the bunting trauma
Week 52: slippery mornings
Week 53: a happy ending