Getting creative with my morning tea


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.

Quarterly Report #10

Ten quarters is two and a half years. Throw in the quarter where I blew off writing one of these, and I’m almost three years into writing this blog. My output last quarter was just under a post a day, and some of the posts I added weren’t more than a picture and a few words. But it’s clear to me I still enjoy doing this.

This quarter I quit drinking coffee, on the theory that I would sleep better at night if I cut back on the caffeine. And I also created an avenue for artistic expression with the teabag haiku thing that I do sometimes. I have fun with it, and that’s the best reason for doing it.

Last quarter I also didn’t eat at McDonald’s once, which is probably a good thing. I still overeat in other ways, and other fast food outlets may get a visit on occasion (darn you, Colonel Sanders) but on the whole this is a change that I’m glad to have made.

I also commented on some celebrity deaths last quarter, including Philip Seymour Hoffman and Harold Ramis. We all die eventually, and a classmate of mine from high school died very suddenly this month,too. I didn’t know her very well, but again it’s a reminder that we have to enjoy the time that we’re here.

And lastly, I contributed a few things to four other websites, so that cut into the things that I put here. But it’s all good, because taking a thought from my head and then sending it out to the world always feels great.

The next one of these will be in the heat of the summer. Until then….

More tea and poetry


Sometimes a little scrap of paper is all you need to get creative. Instead of taking the Lipton tea bag out of its envelope, I leave it attached and see what comes to mind.

We’re waiting for the snow to arrive as I type this out, 12 hours after I wrote this little throwaway haiku. Hopefully the snow won’t be too bad, but that’s still to be determined. My creation will last for longer than the snow, at least.

They had me at #Starbucks


I’m sitting in a Starbucks, with some time to kill as my daughter works with her tutor. It’s mundane now, but these are moments I’ll probably miss some day in the future. So I’ll spend a moment capturing it before it slips away.

Since I gave up drinking coffee a few weeks ago, going to Starbucks feels a bit strange. It is as much a player in the coffee business as anyone, yet they want people who don’t drink coffee to come on in, too. So the result was “Starbucks Coffee” is now just “Starbucks” instead. And evidently that is enough. They had me at “Starbucks,” it would appear.

A haiku with my tea this morning


In honor of Bill Hicks and his suggestion that creating and sharing is what we are here on earth for, today I wrote a haiku on the back of an unused tea bag. It hit me in an instant, and it took longer to find my camera and take a picture than it did to actually write it up. That was the “create” part.

Now, with a few minutes to spare before my family sits down to dinner, I’m typing up this post to share my flash of whatever this is with my blog and, thus,the world itself. I’ve done this sort of thing before, and I hope that I’ll be able to do it again, too.

I love coffee, but I’m proving to myself that I don’t need it. And if writing things down on a tea bag wrapper makes it more amusing, then why not?