Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Writer's AHA Moment

When we write, we like to talk about the reader's AHA moment. What about a writer's AHA moment? Here it is my writer's AHA moment. For writers, rejection is one side of the coin. No one will feel happy about it, but what can I do? Since writing plays, I have developed a "survivor's mechanism." Sending the manuscript out to other places right away? Well, yes and no. For my plays, yes. However, I don't do that for my haiku, haibun, and tanka unless I am sure they are really good. What do I do? First, I dissect the poems. For haiku, I first separate the fragment and the phrase and look at each part, checking the juxtaposition. Doing so, it comes my AHA moment--I see why the poem doesn't work. The same goes to tanka. Since a tanka has the upper verse and the lower verse, I separate them into two parts. "Aha," I say to myself. "I see why it got rejected." The process of dissecting is not joyful; the discovery is. Such is my writer's AHA moment.

Here is a tanka of mine published in Lynx XXXVII: 2 June, 2012, with my own Chinese translation.

autumn approaching
yellow leaves begin to fall--
back home
what fruits are in season now?
it's been so long since I left


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Writing for a Prompt

There are two kinds of writers: those who can write for a prompt; those who have a hard time to do so. I belong to the latter. I write when an idea, an emotion, an event, an observation, or a piece of news hits me. Back in 2011, when I participated in the National Haiku Writing Month activity on Facebook, every day, I posted a haiku unprompted. I seldom followed the prompt given by an established haiku poet. However, I did write for themes for a couple of times, such as "the unspeakable body", a special feature of Atlas Poetica, a tanka journal. I did that because the themes had a very broad base and also I could take my time to ponder and better yet I could write up to ten poems. Happily, one of my tanka was accepted for publication for this special feature. Imagine how many parts and organs a body has that I can writer about! I think I can write for prompts only when I can take time to write and feel strongly about. That's right, when I feel strongly about something, I can write for a prompt for that thing.

Here is my first published haiku in English and in its Chinese translation done by myself. It appeared in Notes from the Gean 3:1 June, 2011. At the time Lorin Ford was the haiku editor of the journal. The publication gave me huge encouragement.

my childhood dreams--
steam from the wok


Here is my haibun entitled "Another Era" in Haibun Today, Volume 7, Number 1, March 2013:

Haibun Today