This project came about, almost by accident, in several senses. The daily work preparing the Jennicam archive had become a rote job with little scope for artistic creativity. And while leaving for work in the early hours of that first morning I had seen a fresh snowfall which promised a repeat of the previous evening's sidewalk clearing. Somehow, during the last few minutes of the walk into the office, a haiku had formed in my head. And in it I recognized the solution to my Jennicam problem.
The other accident was my getting involved with haiku in the first place. A few years before I had spotted in the library a book which offered to teach the reader how to write haiku and teach haiku-writing. I took it out because a very close friend of my youth had once spoken with great delight and interest about haiku which he had discovered though a graduate course in Japanese Philosophy. I thought anything which had so piqued Colin's interest would be worth further investigation.
So I read the book and really appreciated the care, elegance, wit and feeling that the haiku displayed. I thought up several and wrote some specifically for a project on Postmodernism. And here it come up again. This time I intended to keep writing one haiku a day until one year from the day I started. Each would be about whatever seemed most important about the day. In the beginning the haiku were short and to-the-point; but they did not follow the exact rule [3 lines, 5 syllables, then 7 and 5 again]. As time wore on I was easily convinced by commentators that I should follow the rules more precisely and so I did. More recently I came upon a more precise analsis of the rules of Japanese haiku which suggested that the English 5-7-5 poems were much too long because the English syllable can be much longer than the Japanese one. The suggestion was to use a 2-3-2 rule for accented syllables. Since the late fall of 1998 I have worked mostly within this new restriction and I have been quite pleased with the result.
But I suppose the oddest point of this whole story happened when I spoke to Colin about my taking up the writing of haiku to which he had introduced me because of his great interest. He had no memory of the occasion and had in fact no interest in haiku at all. As Alice [of Looking Glass fame] once said, "curiouser and curiouser".
EPILOGUE: As it happened I didn't stop the haiku project a year after it started. It went on three years and was then traded [in March 2001] for a different literary project, The Snippets Project, after more than a thousand haiku had been written. Eventually the daily expenditure of creative literary effort came to have a limiting effect on my other endeavours and I viewed it's end with longing. Though the new project will still provide a daily literary tidbit on my web site it allows me to do the work in chunks rather than having to make a constant daily effort. Check it out... The Snippets Project.
|the first year|