Of Empty Wallets and Washing Gifts

While I’m on the subject of haiku this morning, Mark Redfearn’s haiku about after-Christmas window-shopping gave me a chuckle.

And today I must tackle Mount Wash-more, as the FlyLady calls it, which brings to mind another after-Christmas scenario:
New year’s laundry
my red towel gift set
pinks hubby’s pjs

If you enjoy haiku, Mark consistently posts some of the best verses I’ve ever read. Another haikuist, Charlotte Digregorio, posts a collection and often showcases other writers on her blog. Who doesn’t love the rush and whistle of a train? Here’s a verse she’s posted that I really like, written by UK haiku poet Alan Summers.

I also follow poets Bill Bisgood at The Write Idea — here’s one of his verses I enjoyed and you will, too — and Ron Evans at Haiku Odyssey. Here’s one of his haiku. Ron moved this fall, so his site has been inactive for awhile. (Hope all went well with that, Ron?)

Though I haven’t written many this year, I’ve posted all my haiku at Treetop Haiku.

I think everyone should try their hand at haiku — or short verses of that kind. It takes mind-power to get a whole thought condensed into a few syllables without sounding thrill-less. Like:
I went for a walk
saw footprints in the snow
someone else has been here

Haiku is not just a line of words strung together. It takes skill to compose a verse with a twist, something that makes a reader think or imagine without giving them the answer. For example, here’s mine about a scarecrow – which in Japanese haiku symbolism represents an old man or old person.

Too telling, IMO:
this sorry scarecrow
grown stiff in autumn frosts
wishes for summer days

My final version:
this sorry scarecrow
grown stiff in autumn frosts
sighs for the tasseling corn

Which one do you prefer?

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A Tale of Time Past

Un-Boxing day has begun at my house. I’m peeking into some stashed-away notebooks and finding a few poems to share with you. One of the Word Press suggestions for this week is a post on retrospection, so I’ll share these two haiku:

Goodbye, Old Year

clock-golden
how did I not see
those hours slip by like thieves
stealing my moments

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

time like a shadow
touches me in its passage
leaving so little

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Relaxing With A Book

I’ve finally mailed out the last of my Christmas greetings, now I can just relax and occupy my mind with editing the adventure story for teens I wrote for my grandson. I’ve been working on it some this month, before abandoning it in favor of sending out our Christmas cards.

In my story two sets of brothers, cousins to each other, are working together on a building project. My beta readers are telling me that four primary characters seem to be too many — “Too busy,” one reader said. So I should really eliminate one of them. Trouble is, by now I like them all!

If you’re a writer, did you ever have to eliminate one of your characters? Did you find it a tough decision? Seems almost like trying to decide, “Which of my friends shall I banish to Siberia?” But I want this story to be the best it can be.

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
—Stephen King

Another thing I hope to do this month is post a few book reviews. Speaking of which, if you want a nice relaxing, interesting read over the holidays — or in January when a blizzard sweeps down and you’re snowed in, check out The Christmas Sweater: A Short Story for Christmas, by Janice L Dick

Amazon link here  /  Kobo link here

Jeanne, recently widowed, is dreading her first Christmas alone, but tends to cocoon herself in her grief. Until an old school friend moves back to town — right next door. And she shows up frequently just to chat. Using their past friendship and a good bit of prodding, Debbie gets Jeanne out of those old sweats she’s been dragging around the house in, out of feeling sorry for herself, and back into life.

While Debbie’s friendship proves invaluable to Jeanne, there comes a time when Debbie has to draw support from Jeanne’s friendship as she faces her own trials. It is a great story about how friends can help and encourage one another.

Now I’d best do some mental calisthenics from Lumosity Brain training program, then relax with another good book.

book store aisles
many voices calling me
magic carpet rides

Word Press daily prompt: relax

Life At the Bottom of the Food Chain

THE SAGA OF ONE POOR MOUSE

Not really a poem; not prose. No real sympathy, either.

We were both sitting here in the office last night
when our black Angus cat slipped into the house
through a secret passage among the bathroom pipes
bringing with him his newest toy, and joined us
for a rousing bit of fun—since his toy was alive.
We both rose out of our chairs as Angus dropped
his wiggling toy, who immediately sought refuge
among the piles of paper this bookkeeper keeps.

This scurrying toy intrigued Panda, our other cat
who joined in this playful game of Catch the Mouse.
I declared, like dear Queen Vic, “We are not amused!”
as dear hubby and I both roused out of our chairs
And the chase was on. Said mouse at last was captured,
evicted to the outdoors — where Pookie was waiting.
Angus joined him; poor mouse never had a chance.
Yes, it’s a tough life at the bottom of the food chain.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And this little experience spawned my latest haiku:

one mouse
caught between two cats
ah, life is cruel

Posted simultaneously at Tree Top Haiku

Getting My Act Together

As I mentioned in my last post, one of the things I gleaned from the writing workshop last Saturday on “Finding Your Niche” was that we can’t spread ourselves too thin. We have to pick one main thing and work at that until we succeed, rather than bouncing all over the place genre-wise.

Our instructor told us that her husband compared her to a sprinkler: shoot a bit here, a bit there, always in motion. (As I watched her constant movement around the front of the room as she talked, I could easily picture this simile.☺ No wonder she’s thin!)

Another illustration she shared (from another writer) was that of taking a cruise. Let’s say we won a spectacular cruise — a month in any location of our choosing. So we decide we’re going to Italy and get on the ship, but when we’re half-way there we decide we’d rather go to Iceland. So we change course (or hop ship in mid-ocean) and head for Iceland. We’re almost there when we decide this is silly. Let’s rather head for exotic, sunny Morocco. So we change courses again.

If we keep this up, in the end we’ll have spent a month on the ocean and never arrived anywhere. So it is with people who try to write gardening articles, devotionals, poetry, sci-fi, Christian romances, children’s non-fiction, etc. You will end up with a lot of nothing in particular. Generally speaking it’s best to pick one genre and work in this niche until you succeed. Finish one project. Then if you feel you need to branch out, you can try a different genre.

As I listened, I realized it all boils down to making a decision — and I hate making decisions. Always have. I am probably Queen of the Wish-Wash Niche.

I also like things stored in neat compartments, which is why I have four separate blogs plus a blog in partnership with my cousin Linda (our family tree). And as I wrote yesterday, our workshop leader was not very encouraging in regard to this diversity. Something about digging too many holes, then tripping over them. ☹

After serious thought, I’ve decided to drop my poetry blog, “Swallow in the Wind” and slowly add those contents to this, my main blog. “Tree Top Haiku” will remain as is, but will include some of my short poems as well. It seems best to me right now to continue posting my fiction on “Christine Composes” but I will post links to those stories here.

Experiences, opinions, stories, ornithological observations, daily prompt responses: I am me, with all my creative tangents, and I’ve decided to let this site reflect that variety.