Over the past month or so, I’ve found myself writing poetry. Haiku, in particular. I like the discipline involved with expressing an idea within seventeen syllables. The classic five/seven/five structure of a haiku forces a would-be writer to make some choices. “Dad” must sometimes be used in place of “Daddy.” In a similar vein, “brilliant” can be conveyed as “bright,” and “happy” can also be stated as “glad.”
Economy of syllables is important, but the meaning itself is paramount. It’s something like trying to fit a thought into 140 characters on Twitter. It can be a challenge, but it’s also exciting to see it come to completion. And if it doesn’t, that’s OK too. This is nothing of great importance, after all.
The creative medium that I use for this is a black Sharpie and the paper from teabag envelopes. I tear the envelopes in such a way that leaves them intact, with a small bit of white space that I think of as a creative challenge. I don’t have the time to compose anything terribly profound, but I can make the time to string a few syllables together. Anyone could do that, if they decided it was worth the effort.
An example of the haikus that I write appears above. It’s a bite-size piece of word play, determined by the vocabulary I’ve built up over a lifetime of reading, together with lots of counting off syllables on my right hand, since I write with my left.
Haikus can be created in three minutes or less, and the process that I use gets my creative juices flowing. That’s the sort of thing that can have benefits all day long.