One year ago today I discovered a daily hashtag game on Twitter called the #HaikuChallenge, hosted by @baffled. First, a word about hashtag games for those who are unfamiliar. Someone posts a prompt or subject and invites others to post related tweets with a common hashtag (a string of words or letters that begins with #). Anyone who is interested can search for that hashtag to find all the related entries. Every day, @baffled posts a single word and invites people to create and post haiku using that word. For the last year, I’ve been a daily contributor.
Haiku is an ancient Japanese poetry form. A traditional haiku creates a sensual impression of a fleeting moment in nature in just 17 mora, the equivalent of syllables in the Japanese language. The English version is most commonly rendered in three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, though there are other variants.
I confess to not being a big poetry person. Haiku, though, are small enough that I can get grasp them, but challenging to do well and offering endless chances to improve. Some days my poems come out clumsy and dull, landing with a thud. Occasionally they strike a spark and take off, soaring. Once in a while they make me laugh. Mostly they plod along, serviceable but not memorable. The main thing they are, though, is constant. At least one haiku every day (and three on Saturdays last April).
I’ve been involved in haiku in three ways.
- I discovered the A to Z Blog Challenge back in 2016. It involves posting 26 times in April each year, with each post linked to a letter of the alphabet. I’ve posted a haiku puzzle for each day of the challenge every year since (this year’s puzzle series starts here).
- As I mentioned above, I stumbled on a daily haiku challenge on Twitter on twitter just a year ago and jumped right in. I’m proud to say I haven’t missed a single day since: a solid year of one haiku a day, without fail, no matter what else is going on. Some people meditate; I write haiku. If you look in the widgets on this blog, either on the right side of your monitor or down on the bottom of your phone screen, you’ll find my twitter feed, and somewhere in the last day you’ll see a haiku from me.
- Then last November, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, a new challenge appeared on Twitter. #ScifaikuSaturday is hosted in alternate months by either @HawkandYoung or @_IreneDreams_. This challenge combines two of my loves: science fiction and haiku. It’s only once a week, which means there have been 29 of them as of yesterday, and I haven’t missed a single one.
This week I’m celebrating my love affair with haiku: four years of the A-Z challenge, a full year of the daily #HaikuChallenge, and six months of the weekly #scifaikuSaturday challenge. It keeps me grounded, and keeps me writing even when everything else dries up. Thank you, haiku.
So, how about you?
What’s the creative outlet
That keeps you going?