Thursday, November 22, 2007

Haiku. Was that a Sneeze?

In the spirit
of a new writing obsession,
haiku poetry

Haiku is such a difficult style to achieve perfection with because the tiny poem must convey so much emotion, visual flow and conclusion using just 17 syllables. I considered writing this entire blog in haiku style but it is Thanksgiving morning at 8:30 and I do not have that much brain power just yet. Instead of a haiku blog, how about I share a little haiku history lesson & some of my newly created haiku poetry from this week.

Here is one I wrote to submit to a contest:

Coffee to the brim
is spilled on the motherboard.
Ship it back damaged

Here is one I wrote from the point of view of a kid:

Run and run around.
Everyone fights for a seat.

There are two parts to a haiku – the phrase & fragment – which basically refers to the fact that there is a distinct break & sentence structure in each line. The Japanese typically use kireji at the end of each line (a word which implies a break) but in English we more commonly use punctuation to imply the rhythm of the poem. This creates two very distinct types where Japanese haiku (potentially originating from the linked verse form of renga) is one continuous flowing sentence and English versions tend to be multi-line poetry.

Hokku in early 19th century Japanese culture was sometimes written with regard to nature and followed closely to Zen practice thanks to Kobayashi Issa who helped to develop a somewhat new form of haiki, drawing from his own sad life experiences. After the 18th century this former beautiful art of wordplay fell into a time of overall frivolity but was soon redeemed by Masaoka Shiki with an introduction of interest in Western culture. Shiki is considered the first true haiku poet as he helped to transform the ancient art into a new and beautiful form of expression. In haiku today themes not previously explored are prevalent such as sex, love and technology.

Last night I actually went to sleep dreaming about how to format a great haiku poem relating to falling asleep. Unfortunately the theory that if you think about it before you fall asleep you will remember in the morning did not quite work out for me today. Well, it worked to a point, I remembered there was a poem in my mind but what the words were is a mystery given up to eight hours of dreaming.

History lesson
researched. Wikipedia
was the resource used.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

First Date Jitters

So that whole ‘Maybe it is fate telling me that this is truly the time to be done with that nasty habit’, quitting smoking, blog thing I wrote about was such a great idea that I decided today was the day. So far it is working great. Being home is a blessing because I have no way to smoke while I am here. I quite purposefully smoked the last butt in the house last night right before bed so when moments like this one arrived I could resist temptation. What I am doing instead is walking 50 steps on my stair stepper while alternating between glasses of orange juice and water every time I have that pang for nicotine.

Apparently the addiction was smaller than my fear to stop doing it because it is 3:00, I have been up since 7:00 and I have only walked 150 steps. For you math novices out there that translates into 3 pangs, pings or pongs depending on the time of day & what else I was doing at the time. There is no denying that while paying attention to how my body feels with this change I am noticing how much it was a habit that I fed right into one too many times. I am actually staying home today on purpose because I am afraid I will drive myself right to the smoke shop and we all know what happens then.

Driving was one of the only habitual times I had not altered in the last couple years. The habitual times would be when there is an activity occurring that sparks some firework in the brain to think about smoking at the same time as the other activity, always. When that happens it is instinctual to light up; no one is asking me do I want a cigarette and it is not always when someone else is doing it. The old adage ‘caffeine & nicotine’ is one that works here. Well, it is an old adage to a smoker. Trust me. Ask one.

How I will interact with other people now is really just a big old mystery. I am sure it will be tough at first since my cigarette burned the smoke that formed my safety blanket from actual interaction with anyone. I could always be distracted or have something to do so I never really had much to say to other people except ‘got a light?’ Poor Matt. He is sure to bear the brunt of any special brands of crazy that result from my detox; the kind of crazy you only discover on the most rare of first dates, the ones that never result in scheduling a second date. I would just like to apologize in advance for that one babe.

OK, in the spirit of truth is stranger than fiction…

The very moment I was writing that line about apologizing to Matt he called. After our conversation I would just like to change my mind to say I hope you bear the brunt of a whole sock full of crazy tonight hunny. Thanks for, inside our mere 3 minute conversation, letting me know you were just hanging out having a cigarette before grocery shopping. When I promptly bugged my eyes out and said ‘gee thanks for letting me know’ with heavy derision, you paused for a mili-moment to wonder what the issue was. As if you feel my heart and eyes leap out of my body, you remember to ask ‘how’s that going anyway?’ as if it was something you knew you should ask but abhorred doing since you didn’t care about the answer. I am no longer one of your people.

Maybe it is a good idea to stay home tomorrow too so the good idea of quitting smoking remains good and not most of the contents of the crazy sock.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Tomorrow Will Soon Be Today

My first faux project begins tomorrow; I go over in the afternoon to prep the surfaces. It is something totally liberating and scary all at the same time to be completing the first faux job for an actual client on my own. This business was never something I even planned to start but when Matt accepted a position in Boston it was clear I had to do something so this business began to take shape. It makes me glad because not all people can say they truly enjoy what they do for a living and I love that other people feel happy through the artistic contribution I bring to their homes.

The reality that I was looking to run my own business is true but faux finishing would not have been what I would have considered two years ago. After completing 2 years of design school my brain was going to explode if I had to make any more labels for a CEO so when I came across the job ad it was like my creative nature began to smile. I dove into finishing with reckless abandon, and OCD, just like I tackle everything else. Working with those crazy LI gals was the best education I ever could have asked for! Now, with every job I complete on my own I will think of all the time we spent working together and inevitably start laughing hysterically.

Although my job does not define me it does encompass such a large part of my day that it is important for it to provide some joy while I do it. As my business begins to take off I am reminded of all the things I love about doing finishes. Number one is the level of satisfaction to stand back and enjoy the beauty of the final result. It is also gratifying to mix a color perfectly to match what a client is looking for without having more of a reference than what they are telling me they would like. I guess the final joy would be that it keeps me in shape; thousands of steps up and down ladders will surely tone my butt over time. No drama. No stress.

Things that are happening right now that are long overdue:

The world is catching on to going green and reducing CO2 emissions
Writers are going on strike
Jason Mraz is working on a 3rd studio album
Newscasters are hosting SNL and proving they are funny
Brett Favre is helping to lead the Packers to an amazing winning season
New England sports are at the top of everyone’s radar
Designers are contacting me to view my faux portfolio

A plane is landing in Boston today with sick crew members and the dark side of my brain immediately begins to laugh as the movie Airplane comes to mind. “Chump don’t want no help chump don’t get no help.” I am sick this week with some heavy coughing and yucky green stuff which is forcing me to cut down on smoking. Maybe it is fate telling me that this is truly the time to be done with that nasty habit. This is the year I have pledged to quit after all. Life keeps moving and shaking through all its many ups and downs and I plan to do the same.