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.
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?
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.
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!