1. How did you start with haiku?
I’ve been writing poetry since I was a teenager. Years ago, while browsing at a garage sale, I came across an old book of translated Japanese haiku. It was a dusty little book with yellowed, dog-eared pages filled with verse by Bashō, Issa, Buson, Shiki, and many others, called Haiku Harvest. It was such an easy read, and I found the simplicity charming and refreshing. Being an artist, the concept of a form where few words could deliver a powerful visual punch was very appealing to me and I believe that well-written haiku will do just that. Then, one day NaHaiWriMo showed up on my Facebook page presenting an opportunity to try my hand at this particular writing style. The daily prompts have become a welcome challenge and on those days that I don’t get to write I record the word and get back to it, sometimes combining a few prompts into one haiku.
2. Tell us more about yourself.
A native New Yorker, born and raised in the Bronx, I abandoned city life to set up house in the suburbs when I got married. I have two amazing adult children, a rescued parakeet named Pretti , and a red violin. I wear many hats—artist, poet, designer, healer. For the past twenty-four and a half years I have also worked full-time as an administrative assistant at a local college. I’ve exhibited my artwork at various locations and have a line of note cards—“Girls with Attitude by Andrea”—that sells in gift shops and at craft fairs. I hold a New York hairdresser license and teach floral crafts for an adult education program. In 1999 I became a Certified Reiki Master Practitioner, an experience more profound and rewarding than I have words to express. I often donate artwork and Reiki gift certificates to local charity fundraisers and have provided Reiki treatments as a volunteer to the horses at a local therapeutic riding program. I enjoy writing poetry, yoga, tai chi, and archery. In the winter I like to snowshoe and in the warmer season into the garden I go.
3. What does NaHaiWriMo mean to you?
I consider myself quite the amateur in the world of haiku and so I view NaHaiWriMo as a “no judgment zone,” a safe haven for me to flex my creative muscle by playing with words and sharing them with a community of kindred spirits. NaHaiWriMo has been an enjoyable, rewarding, communal learning experience for me.
4. What one piece of advice would you offer those who are new to haiku?
As with most things in life, consistency and practice are the keys to success. Write haiku. Read haiku. Go deep with it if you feel so inclined, but remember to be gentle with yourself. We all tend to be like the young colt at the starting gate, ready to go, go, go, determined to be perfect from the start. Strive for expression—perfection will come with time.
5. Please share three of your favorite or best haiku.
Here are a few favorites that I have written in response to daily prompts on NaHaiWriMo:
orbs of dew
adorn the flora
i wipe my brow
stuffed in a suitcase
I am grateful for this opportunity and hope my prompts inspire you to light up your creative fire. Peace!