A haiku a day keeps my crazy away
In college, I took a class to fill a “science for non-science majors” credit solely because it fit into my schedule while allowing me to continue my work-study. The class, “Theories of Creativity,” was every Thursday from 4:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. the second semester of my freshman year, and although I certainly dabbled in the art of writing bullshit papers before this class, it was in this class that I became a master. There simply was no other way to write these papers without unsupported conjecture and flowery language and psychobabble.
I remember nothing about the professor or most of the other students (although I do remember a girl named Kale), but I got into a heated debate with a third-year sociology student because I insisted that “creativity” had to do with the impulse to create, and she said, no, that creativity was how good the creation was. It was, no doubt, the debate that every other previous “Theories of Creativity” class had grappled with, as well.
And while my viewpoints have changed on lots of issues that I was once passionate about in 1999 (vegetarianism, the decency of Bill Clinton, the absolute unfairness of trying to restrict Napster, the entertainment value of "Ally McBeal"), I still pretty much feel that I was right on this one: Creative people create. Whether what they create is of any value is a separate question, impossible to settle on any objective level.
I consider myself a creative person, if only because I have a weekly deadline for which to create content, but even still, I am a rule-follower to my core. As such, in addition to the more free-flowing personal essay-style writing I do here, I enjoy writing things like sestinas, sonnets, villanelles. And I especially love haiku.
A bit of trivia: My first-ever published piece, in the Edward Hynes Elementary School literary magazine, Kaleidoscope, was a haiku: “Graceful white flowers/Gently blowing in the breeze/Like ghosts flying free.”
In the past year or so, I have increasingly started to write haiku as a creative outlet. It might be a symptom of our modern times – I’m way too busy and distracted to write a sestina, but I can write five decent haiku on my morning commute, plus texting encourages brevity – but I find it immensely satisfying to tell a story in 17 syllables. I feel like it helps me distill my thoughts and channel my emotions.
And since I know I am already The Weird Mom as far as Ruby is concerned and since I struggle sometimes to know what to put in the daily emails that I send to camp (“Hi, Ruby, it rained today (again) and we ate pasta for dinner. Love you lots, Mom.”), I decided to write her a haiku a day for every day that she is away.
These are the ones I’ve written so far:
Your dirty socks are
Balled up on the floor and yet
They make me miss you
I know you’re thinking,
“Ugh, Mom, why are you like this?”
Ha, you’re stuck with me
Takis are still in my car
Can’t bear to toss them
I finally ate
The lone pineapple Dum Dum
You left in my purse
And although we haven’t reached this milestone yet, I already have one written and ready to go as soon as it’s applicable:
We bought milk today
By the time it expires
You will be back home