Ever suffer writer’s block? Naw-w-w-w, only about once a day for me.
But I started my rehab program for overcoming these dropped calls from my Muse. Whether it’s a blank screen on your laptop, or a pure white sheet of nothing on the paper, start your composition with this exercise…a haiku.
Westerners often oversimplify this literary form, which is permissable. Entry-level poets lay down three lines of words in a 5-7-5 form of syllable-count, which does constitute the basic haiku, as such:
the skin and the bones
of this middle aging house
groan under grey clouds
But the Japanese discipline, which dates at least back to the 17th Century, includes influences and references to the seasons as well as Buddhist and Zen underpinnings.
I have liberated my own communications from blandness with the help of my personal daily haiku bootcamp. Early mornings are more conducive for these:
my illusion breathes by trance I hear snake
in and expires possession prints push branches of clover
I don’t own a thing toward the limestone
These came to me, almost in the manner of automatic writing, immediately after my morning meditation, as I attempt to remain still for 10-minutes or so, listening to my breathing pattern.
Seasonality in the haiku is more of a concern among the Japanese. There is thought that a haiku should contain a word to refer to the current time of year, in nature. In fact, the practice of haiku is precisely an observation of our natural surroundings, and the seasons reinforce the the nature of change as well as a balance of harmony and one-ness in our world.
I find that beyond the practical benefit of daily improvement in skills, a soothing fulfills my spirit. Traditional haiku is nuanced in layers of spiritual foundation that escape through our mundane language:
I breathe in breathe out those puffy pink clouds
I try to be here and now hanging over the highway
my morning worship do not know we’re here
A hike on a high mountain trail directly inspired this, which I titled:
I recollect, the
returns home with me
I’m a believer in the playfulness that is necessary in all art forms:
if I could stand up
side down like a boy in June
grass stained in the yard
And, simplicity is another vital ingredient that the haiku simmers to perfection:
we bow before black
raspberries in the ripe breeze
our summer bounty
Another benefit for me is that these daily capsules serve as a brief but germane journal entry that will spur my recall years later upon my re-read.
Finally, I can craft what surfaces from my inward development, to crystalize a particular spore of spiritual enlightenment before it dissipates:
the breath I expire
drops pantings of memory
on the path ahead
Obviously, a convenient social media channel in which I can perform my haiku workout is Twitter. With the constraint of 140 characters, it’s a natural platform for tweeting haiku, #twiku. Follow mine @Jim1Coe
My takeaway…after a short period of applying this writing exercise, I have broken through my blogger’s block and posted for the first time in weeks!
Please let me know how you deal with your slowdown in writing momentum.