Welcome back. Today’s blog is about this and that.
It is not news that 2020 has been, and continues to be, a crazy and somewhat stressful year. But it is December, and soon it will close and make way for 2021. I have tried to stay focused on the craft of writing in my blogs. And your response has been uplifting and brilliant. Thank you for that. I hope I responded to all of your comments; I believe I have. Some of you raised questions not directly relevant to my blog craft for that month. But I did respond. I would like to share some of that with you here in this blog. So, that’s what I mean by “this and that.”
First, allow me to wish you all a delightfully magical season and a hopeful New Year filled with good health and peace. I congratulate our President-elect Biden and Vice-President-Elect Harris for their victory in our 2020 elections confirmed by our electoral college.
Sadly, we lost the brilliant John le Carré and 300,000 brothers and sisters to Covid. And too many other lovely people across the globe. This has made it challenging to write, thinking what’s the point—but finding escape and solace through writing. Writing has always been my transport to exaltation, and so I must write.
One question was about poetry. In response, I had to borrow from what others have written. It was explicitly about Haiku vs. Senryu. George Swede of Toronto, Ontario, who co-founded Haiku Canada in 1977 and active in the international haiku community, provides the most straightforward and logical answer I have found. After studying haiku types, he concluded that English-language haiku consist of “three content categories”: Nature haiku, Human haiku (senryu), and Human plus nature haiku (hybrids). “Nature haiku have no reference to humans or human artifacts and often have season words or kigo. Nature haiku comprise only around 20% of published work (in the best periodicals and anthologies). Human plus nature haiku (or hybrids) include content from the natural and the human world (and) often include kigo. They are the most frequently published kind of haiku–around 60%.”
I confess I love the challenge of the 5-7-5 syllables (in Chinese, the 5-7-5 is very different, and so I often present my poetry as only poetry) in a poem; often I want to title the poem, but only if the title adds soul to the poem itself. For example, my poem “The Dog’s Boy” in 5-7-5, with a title that I feel adds to the poem. What do you think?
On the other hand, I have not found an appropriate title for my three-stanza hybrid “Perdition” (I don’t like the title – maybe it shouldn’t have a title), any suggestions? Anyway, here’s that poem in three 5-7-5, stanzas.
The space between “feel” and “me” is intentional. Many folks know way more than I do about poetry, and please find them on a dozen or more sites and at the Wisconsin Writers Association (site given below).
Another question was more about finding the idea for a short story or novel. My response was and is, find a plot that interests you. For example, Dumbo did not need the feather to fly; the magic was in him. Your muse is within you. I just watched “The Queens Gambit,” and it wasn’t the drink or drugs that was her magic feather. The magic was in her all the time. So, pick a plot, pick a story – a flying elephant or chess champion – and now that you have the “what,” you need to ask “How?”
The most important thing is to write. I disagree with those who say, “Write what you know.” I say, “Write what you want to know.” You’re going to spend a great deal of time with research and writing; make sure it is something that interests you.
Finally, on finding support groups for writers, I highly recommend the Wisconsin Writers Association. Go to, https://wiwrite.org/
Thank you for sticking with me throughout 2020. I am optimistic about 2021, so let’s meet there.
In the meantime, keep writing, and please stay brilliant, healthy, and hopeful. ~ Nick