July 13th, 2011



The first half of this year has totally disappeared. Hopefully some of its challenges are behind me.

I haven't been online much lately. My new job involves travel, which has been great because I've been able to spend a lot of time in a part of the country unfamiliar to me. While I was in the Northeast for a seven week project, I was able to attend the annual Haiku Circle in Northfield, Massachusetts as well as a meeting of the Boston Haiku Society. But, for those of you who were hoping I might make ReaderCon this year, that project has ended and I'm back home again.

Everybody keeps asking to see my New England haiku, but I've found that it is much easier to write about the environment you know than the one you are exploring for the first time. Oh, I can write about these new experiences, but they sound...like new experiences. The resulting haiku, therefore, disappoint me.

So, it's not that I haven't written any haiku from these past seven weeks in Central Massachusetts, but the landscape there just hasn't soaked into my muse enough for me to be
satisfied with much of what I've written.

I think it is about layers. A good haiku will have layers of meaning, layers that come about because the writer, to quote Basho, "becomes the branch" versus simply writing about the branch. When you live in a place for a long time, the environment soaks into your essence so when you write about it, you are also writing about yourself. I can write about Los Angeles smog in a way that is completely different from trying to write about a wacky once-in-two-decades New England tornado.

The smog is part of me. It is something I have lived.

In the area of Massachusetts I was visiting, almost every day, I saw wild turkeys crossing the road or looking in the windows of the office building. I'd never seen a wild turkey before, so the sight of them were such a novelty that I haven't managed to adequately express my reaction to them in three lines.

This was a surprise to me, because I've always been very inspired by my trips up and down the California coast, so if you had asked me three months ago, I would have told you that travel, in particular, really inspired my poetic muse.

But, I think it's because I've went up and down the California coast so many times in my life that the entire Pacific coast feels like home to me.

ocean crest
and then the ebb...
home again