how a haiku is made


Haiku might not be as tasty as sausage, but at least you’ll recognize all — or at least most — of the ingredients.

I’ve been writing haiku for over 25 years now, and I find that I’m writing more, and at a much more rapid clip than I did when I was younger. Sometimes I think I must have more time on my hands, but I know that really isn’t the case. And far from having more inspiration as raw material, I find less of it while living and working in suburbia than I did when I spent ten years commuting into downtown Boston. So how do I account for this increase in productivity after over a quarter century?

For one, I no longer wait for inspiration to walk over to me and introduce itself. I write about where I am, where I’m going, what I’m doing and what I see around me. It may or may not be interesting to anyone but me. If it strikes my fancy, I write about it.

As for making time to write, while I do try to find some “quiet time” every day, sometimes I just have to pause whatever I’m doing for the 30 seconds or so it takes to gather my thoughts into words. Technology helps in this regard: a voice recording app on my cellphone enables me to capture words when I’m driving or otherwise don’t have access to a keyboard. Here’s an example, written about 3 hours ago and immortalized via my voice recording app:

Spring Cleaning Haiku

For those who would rather not hear my voice, here it is in plain text:

spring cleaning —
choosing the memories
I will keep

Never mind that it isn’t Spring. Rather than a seasonal activity, “spring cleaning” has become the mindset my wife and I have adopted ever since we decided to sell our home of over 22 years. And while it’s one thing to put a house on the market, it’s quite another to scrutinize birthday cards, Christmas gifts and other mementos of intangible value, deciding in an instant whether to save them or relegate them to the recycle bin. To state the obvious, it’s a pretty draining undertaking.

So I took a break from sorting through drawers, shelves and boxes and made my weekly drive to the Wayland Town Dump, knowing that I was about to part with innumerable time capsules of various shape and form. Somewhere on Route 27, between West Plain Street and Old Connecticut Path, the words formed in my head, and I knew I needed to record them before I pulled into the dump and lost my train of thought.

That, in a nutshell, is how this particular haiku was made.

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3 Responses to how a haiku is made

  1. Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #7: Paul David Mena shows how a haiku is made!

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