The Haiku Road
I know how it began. In high school someone showed me haikus by Basho. They were unbelievably profound. So some classmates and I tried writing them. Eventually, the novelty wore off. We stopped. Fast forward to the New York Times Haiku contest in 2014. I forgot to enter it. But in April, fed up with pictures of cats, brunch and boobs, I decided that Facebook was best used for photos of the sky and haikus. I don’t know exactly how this idea arose. Maybe Twitter was better because then the little poems would disappear in an ocean of words, never to be seen again. Oh well. After a while, I lost count of how many I had posted, so I put a number on each one, like a upc on an organic tomato.
I continue. Today I posted number 471.
Why do I continue? A great question that deserves a legitimate answer. Unfortunately, I don’t have one. Maybe it’s a sign of my obsession. Maybe it’s because there is no logical stopping point. Maybe I’m deriving some special benefit from these. Maybe it’s simple. I enjoy it. And I was right, Facebook is a great place for collecting Haiku. And it’s contagious: some of the comments have themselves been haiku. That’s wonderful.
Is there some benefit from this? I hope so. I was stuck on the manuscript for a novella. I haven’t worked on it for a few months. But I notice that all of the haiku are gently loosening up whatever obstructions there are in the manuscript. We’ll see whether I go back to it, or whether it becomes one of those projects that just gets abandoned.