Latest from Līgo Haībun!

Fly Indie bookshop, in conjunction with 

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Williamson Books

a small publishing company, is collecting haibun for an upcoming haibun anthology.to be published in early summer.  Please visit here, where more details will be published shortly, as well as this blog site.

We are currently open for submissions. Please click on details on ‘About Haibun‘ in the link if you are not sure about requirements.

DRAWINGS/PHOTOGRAPHS  We are in need of artwork and photographs too. Be aware that in many ebook versions and possibly on the paperback version this will be rendered in black and white!

If your work is accepted, payment will be equal distribution of profits if this sum exceeds GBP500.00, and an automatic free copy of ebook. All paperbacks purchased by haibun contributors will be sold to them at cost, which is at about a 70% reduction on the listing price. Haibun authors are then free to resell these with no restrictions. Should minimum profits cover paperback costs then 1 free paperback will be allocated to each contributor.

Un-published material only please. Haibun previously published on a blog will be happily considered pending the publishing date, and upon agreement that the haibun be deleted from the blog upon acceptance All rights revert back to the artist after publication. All writing should be in Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1.5 line spaced, by pdf file.  Please include a five-line bio.

All submissions should be sent to williamson@flyindie.today

or by skype to fly.indie

Thanks!

Notes on the LĪGO HAĪBUN CHALLENGE, the Web’s Original Haibun Challenge

Come join us in our weekly LĪGO HAĪBUN CHALLENGE! Here’s some notes about haibun to help you get started.

 

  • Haibun is a passage of prose with at least one haiku.
  • Haibun usually relate to a journey, whether the travels are exploration or  internal, and/or should be in contact with nature.
  • They can and ought to contain an epiphany received through experience.
  • The concept of a haibun being part of the series, or an ‘episode’ is a very important one, and often overlooked. Your haibun should tie together by some strand, either theme, location, journey or other.
  • The haiku describes a moment or happening. As part of the haibun it might serve as a ‘mirror’ or look at the prose in a ‘different’ way.
  • Use of a ‘season’ word is a classical way of writing a haiku. These are words that signify a given season and give the haiku earthing or anchoring.
  • Each week, at the Līgo Haībun Challenge here is a choice of two prompt words, quotes, or visuals. Please choose one for your haibun.
  • Wear the Ligo badge below with pride on your blog! And pin the Circle of Appreciation to your blog  if your haibun is one of the monthly  Honourable Mentions in Dispatches

Click on the url below to join the challenge!

Haibun as a literary form really started when Basho, the ‘father’ of haiku set off on a 2,400 km walk through Japan, deliberately straying into the mountains when he could. The travel journals were a mix of prose studded with haiku, and were published titled ‘Narrow Road To The Deep North’. Frankly, it is a wonderful book, and started a very special form of writing. Basho claimed the art and heart of haibun as his with his reflective writing, awareness and sharp imagery.

While seen as a classical form in Japan, haibun has seen a revival in English over the past decades.

People should write their haibun in the way they like to write. However, I do think that the register of the language used, not the style, is important. There is a difference.

The above looks difficult, but in fact we are not talking about a story with a twist here – at all, though a moment of discovery or epiphany in a haibun fits very well.

The first thing I look to in a haibun is if the writer was at the scene or not him or herself.  The scene may be a memory, or a plan, merely witnessed or interacted with, or a mix of many or all of those.

It is not a story, though is a narrative. Personally I find it hard to read a haibun not interacting with nature. Indeed, an emphasis on emotion and not imagery is something that does not work in a haibun as a whole.

I am personally not a fan of direct speech, or lengthy direct speech in a haibun.

Remember that with the prose comes one or more haiku, and they must relate – when they do it is wonderful reading, but those who write a beautiful prose and don’t carefully tie it together with a powerful haiku miss something, I think.

I do very much see haibun coming in a series, rather like a diary, so would accordingly expect each haibun written by a given writer not be completely and totally separate from the one before. But if you are writing about your thoughts, actions, journey or a period in your life this seems logical to me.

A deeper meaning to the haiku might be found by the reader, but that is the reader’s prerogative, not the writer’s.

  • Līgo is the largest summer solstice festival in the world very much connected to nature, and located in Latvia. Of recent years a similar New Year festival at around the same time has been gaining popularity in Yakutia and will probably catch on in Kazakhstan.

 

 

Carpe Diem Haibun – Raindrop

Everyone remembers rain. I think rugby players have a special affinity for rain, when it is pouring down, and you are losing by 2, or 3 points, with as many minutes left to play. Chests are heaving after a break in play, trying, fighting to get oxygen and energy in, and vapour is rising in steam.

The rain pours, the drops skirting eyelids, sliding on the vaseline smeared there if you are a forward, part of the pack, but not noticed anyway. The captain making a secret signal, ball in hand, ready to take the free kick, the referee about to blow his whistle for the kick to be taken, but checking his watch anyway.

The ball about to be tapped, then thrown like a bullet into my chest, where I must grab it and hold, and be pushed over the line to get those 5 points. Must not fumble that slippery ball, or tumble when my team hit from behind to shove me over the line, as the other team line up, ready.

Then my team mate sees the butterfly in our path. Breaks away, scoops it up carefully, runs to a woman with an umbrella, watching, puts the butterfly on her arm. The referee looks on, bemused, then blows the whistle. The ball slaps into my sodden chest in the pouring rain. We charge, hit, hard.

But the butterfly is safe.

in the monsoon
one raindrop lands
on a butterfly

I learnt something that day. And life goes on.

Carpe Diem Haiki, Mandara-ji

I could show you a magic trick. I could give you a book for you to take home, for those long rainy nights alone. I could bake a chocolate cake for you, or show you my favourite film, or fashion a copper bangle for you, that shines in golden evenings.

Under a streetlamp, as the last snowflakes of winter drift downwards, I could kiss you. And then I would write a haiku for you.

of this emptiness
that cannot be filled with words
-even snowflakes melt

rain-dancer

If Jesus Was a Woman (For Magpie Tales)

el greco feast-in-the-house-of-simon 1610 (1)


Feast in the House of Simon, 1610, El Greco

If Jesus was a woman
and not a lesbian
Would there still be feminism?
Would religion start to make sense to me?
And would she have worn a bra?

Could she possibly have had
better hair?
Along with line in fine lingerie
for those seeking salvation
in the arms of a woman

Would her twelve disciples have been women too?
Would they have cross-dressed
or simply just had more style?
And would she have hung from the cross?

And would Peterina
Upon arrival in Rome
have been hung upside down?

If the Buddha had been all-woman
would she have sat under tree so long?

If Stalin had been a little girl
from somewhere deep in the Urals
would the gulags have functioned so well?

Its only Mick Jagger
that would remain the same
if history could be changed
To be herstory
And of course me
Though then
I would be une Lesbienne
-as I secretly am

magpie tales statue stamp 185

Somewhere (for wedrinkbecausewerepoets.com)

there’s a place
in my past
that I passed by
with a smile
when I should have stopped
and taken that turning

perhaps then I would not
have dropped
swatted like a fly
and instead I would have hovered above
like an eagle dressed as dove
pretended to care
for the welfare
of those with too much love

I would have worn fur coats
paid politicians to sit in my pockets
employed slaves
for my factories
and from my big fat car
I would always gaze afar
and learn to ignore
those polluted streets

but as I look back on that place
somewhere in the past
at a crossroads in my life
I’m still glad I chose me
even if they stole my dream, in those years in-between

For I still feel the taste of victory
despite it all
they never destroyed my home
never droned
me, never bombed in shock and awe
and instead just took my health
slowly
bit by bit
those criminal corporatist rich
and their itch
for more of what I do not have

And I’m still
alive

crossroads

wedrinkbecausewe’repoets

Ligo Haibun Challenge – Image Week

Thanks to everyone participating in the Ligo Haibun Challenge – if you would like you can post your haibun at Medium here, and label it under the “Beautiful Haibun” collection. This gives you further readership and gives you a step out of the ‘WordPress world.’

My apologies for the lateness of the post this week. I was a bit exhausted after travel and duties, and have a lot of catching up to do. There are a lot of fine people out there and I don’t want to lose them…so I will be catchng up, especially as I want the Ligo anthology out soon – so send your haibun!

I will be contacting folks very shortly about their haibun – that probably means you reading this!

This week is picture week. As usual choose one to write your Beautiful Haibun. I certainly encourage all glancing here to have a read of the haibun, which are of very high quality in an art form that in itself encourages beautiful writing.

If you are new to the form ask here for details..

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Please give us some beautiful haibun! Link up with the blue critter below..

http://goo.gl/KAbZf4

Ligo Haibun Challenge – Word Prompt

…Here’s 3 haibun we particularly liked from last week  and are mentioning here:

After two hours yesterday and nearly an hour today, I still cannot and will not nominate one over the other. The haibun are all so good for both very similar and different reasons.

See what I mean….

The prompts for this week are continued

 

The Heat Is On!

Well here we go, my first foray into marketing. I’m laying down the tools, the brass hammer and stamp used to tap peoples’ names and messages into copper amulets and bangles I design, and the pen for the notes I take in-between.

My rifle is hanging up where my coat should be and I set no traps. It is going to be tough moving from sustenance-living to using invisible money (a card issued by the bank) to buy meat wrapped in plastic from the shop.

Its hard to sell though, when one is used to giving things away. But marketing takes time, and the time spent finding food and preparing fishing nets is now to be spent creating awareness about my book, which might lead to selling a copy or two, which means I’ll be able to queue up in the supermarket. Its a strange world.

I keep thinking of that coffee chain, you know that one, and that a good read is as satisfying as a good coffee, which taste so much better from my kettle over an open fire, the beans ground Ethiopian style than it does in that chain.

A good read lasts longer, much longer though, for the same price. My book might not be a good read for all, but it will change my readers, that is for sure.

Its coming out on Amazon and Kobo soon, and surely on ibooks as well, then the paperback will follow shortly. I’ll be giving some copies away of course, thus this post: so here goes with the marketing!

I’ll pose 2 questions every day or so at this first attempt, and the 3 people with the highest amount of correct answers each get a free copy. That’s questions over 21 days, though not every day. I’ll give the answers to the very hard kickoff questions in about 5 days, meaning next Wednesday.

Some questions will be factual, as below, and some won’t, meaning they’ll be guesswork, as below.

  • So here’s the first question. Which republic inside the Russian Federation is the biggest? (Russia is a mix of republics and oblasts.
  • Here’s the second question. If I wasn’t here in Lappland, beyond the Arctic Circle, which region of the world would I like to be? Countries and physical descriptions accepted.

I’ll check your answers before displaying them, so others cannot copy you.

Best of luck!

Now, where is that can opener, and how do you open cans anyway?

northern-light-31

Friday Fictioneers 100 Word Fiction – The Invisible Man

adamickes-childsbootsThe invisible man is known to us all though precious few admit it. He’s the one we ask for advice when we need it the most, the one we say goodnight to, though there are some who keep him up all night by their pillow in vain. He’s sometimes behind you and not gone when you spin around, but then why would he care?

Some call him their absent friend and others mistake him for a lover, and ignore his childish nature. You’d think, though, that he’d get bored hiding the car keys, and remote, and reading glasses after all these years, wouldn’t you…?

………………..

For Friday Fictioneers, run by the admirable Rochelle - photo this week by Adam Ickes

A Writer’s Lair ~ Lappland

When I used to teach Creative Writing I sometimes would have the students troop of out of classroom or lecture hall into a nearby forest or field, just after the first snow had fallen, or at least a good frost, or when a coating of thin ice had covered grasses and branches. They were not allowed to wear coats or gloves, and I’d have them plunge their hand into the snow for a minute, or breakthrough the ice over puddles.

Then I’d tell them to write their last letter to the world. Some would be shivering. But all would write – and fast – creativity used to come crystal clear. On most occasions these student would be using English not as their mother tongue, but as a second, or third language. Most could knock off a few pages in minutes. I would walk around the group that I would scatter far and wide throughout the forest, motivating them by telling them how cold they felt, how their fingers were getting numb (they were) and how they had to get their ideas out on page before it became more and more difficult to write.

I prefaced these sessions by looking at Scott of the Antarctic’s last letter, or a meditation exercise, or other features, before going outside.

When the students read their ‘letters’ at a later date, some of the material was quite emotional.

For those who want to write, have the will to write, need to, have to, breathe to, but still get blocked, there is sometimes no other way than to put one’s self into a position where only by concentrating on the given story and getting it out onto paper brings warmth. Forcing the story that you know is there out of you.

This winter I am heading north again to Lappland, to live as the Sámi did, in a tipi for as long as I think will be beneficial. There its write or..well, there is no ‘or’ in these conditions. Writing is the only way to escape the cold. And the book must come, or defeat stares back, numbing defeat, mixed with the plunging cold. My method is not madness, as you instinctively know – those who know that the novel is not merely scribbled out onto paper, or tapped onto screen over a pre-planned duration of something commonly known as time. You already know the toll. The difference here is to keep the turmoil physical as much as possible, so that mentally, it flows – instead of the normal opposite when writing.

So buy a thick sleeping bag, the kind that can see you to a mountain top in the Himalayas. You will need dried foods, a small burner, a mattress, animal skin or straw, tea bags, coffee, pens and paper, gloves with fingers, a spade – the spade is to ensure the ‘floor’ of your tipi has two levels, so that the cold air settles down at a lower level than where you are. Lastly you will need candles or torches. Candles are extremely dangerous for obvious reasons. There is no daylight for the winter months in northern Lappland. This works to your advantage, but it is often more motivating to write in the beginning of the year, when daylight slowly creeps back for a few more minutes every day; somehow that fits well with the progress of your work.

arcticphoto.co.uk

Try it. Or try it with me. The productivity and creativity reaches record-breaking levels. And yep, it hurts. But is there one writer among you who can say it doesn’t; whatever approach we use to get the best, the very best work out?

jokkmokkguiderna.com

Sámi in summertime (source local)

Sámi tipi in summer

Ligo Haibun Challenge – Quote Prompt Week

Winter on one side, summer on the other, we drift into December. There were some beautiful haibun last week, making the choice of Honourable Mentions absurdly difficult again. Thank you again, wonderful contributors.

This week is quote week again. Please choose one as always continued…

Weekly Ligo Haibun Challenge – Word Prompt

The Ligo Haibun challenge is here. This week is the word prompt challenge.

Now, regarding the Honourable Mentions. Again difficult this week, maybe even more so, as contributors have been cultivating the style. This means that you know haibun, and have decided how you will write your own. We looked at these haibun closely first.
the need to be out in nature is exemplified in this haibun here, and one emphasises with it very much.
The interaction with nature was exemplified in http://nicolethelocalartist.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/ligo-haibun-challenge-a-handful-of-earth/. Just look at how nature has influenced the people in the haibun personally – in the prose and seamless verse.
In a similar way, but using well selected objects, http://bastetandsekhmet.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/ligo-haibun-challenge-picture-prompt/ creates tension so well, and again her verse and prose work together so well.
http://julesinflashyfiction.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/a-ligo-haibun-regrets/ also pulls emotion to the reader, in again a haibun where the prose and verse interact so well.
http://seraphim6.me/2013/11/26/cold-stone-mountain/ did something very interesting. Her haibun was based around a message to the reader, something I’m normally a bit wary of in habun, but she has put her style onto the haibun, and created her genre, and I enjoy her writing so much. I think many would agree with what she is saying, and the writing flows very nicely.
  • The Honourable Mentions. We like to select no more than 3, but will go as far as 1/3 of participants in a given week, which is what I have done, so we have 4 this week.
http://twoscamps.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/ligo-haibun-challenge-7/ a very poignant piece, with an underlying theme that really resonated. I also liked the idea, simple but effective, of looking at a moment in the past, but this haibun goes further than that.
http://creativemetaphor.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/exhale/ this haibun is a journey itself. I am always quite surprised, to say the least, when writers can write a beautiful piece then go on and better it the week after. This haibun is quite beautiful, and I almost do not want to say anything more about it – would much rather you went to the site and read it, then you’ll agree.
http://peripateticeric.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/ligo-haibun-challenge-misty-mountains/ a pause in an exotic location high in the mountains. There is only one writer who masters these moments so well. He is mentioned for this one and the others he wasn’t mentioned for, all of a high standard.
http://friendlyfairytales.com/2013/11/26/letters-from-japan-haibun/ this haibun is as orginal as they come, and looks deceptively easy to do, as everything that is done so well. A very impressive haibun, for its originality.
Continue reading for this week’s  word prompt…

Only Days Away…

Well, it’s only days away from coming out. My newest. Already I’m staring at brochures of the Caribbean islands where I plan my immediate retirement,  à la Noel Coward. Can’t remember which island Mick Jagger lives on but Mick and I go back a long way, so he’ll surely be happy I’ll be around. Maybe.

Or.

I’m looking at those dustbins outside. I’ve never quite done them yet for my daily dinner, but I’ve come close…to be honest they scare me.

We’ll see…

bc_Yulvia_3001_completed

This Week At The Ligo Haibun Challenge

Haiku is the  customary close to a haibun’s prose, and fits so well, but in our innovation week we are not obliged to limit ourselves to haiku. What we must not forget is that the haiku, either one or more, is a distillation of the prose, in a contrasting form, and seems to enhance the prose, while of course the prose itself raises the haiku up.

In saying that, there are other forms that might also work with prose to create a particular magic.

So this week, in innovation week make a choice between haiku or tanka, or pathya vat from Cambodia, orthanbauk from Burma, now Myanmar, to go with your prose. You may also choose another form, though I would hesitate to go much further in volume than a tanka, which does make me slightly uneasy, as the balance just may be ‘wrong.’ 

Pathya vat is a four-line poem, with 4 syllables each line – and line 2 and 3 must rhyme. Here’s one I tried.

my forest walk
is long enough
to stop my rust
-meditation

XXXX
XXXA
XXXA
XXXX

Yes, I know, not very deep – but there isn’t prose behind it, and to be honest a couple of paragraphs describing my feelings among the trees might go nicely with this.

Thanbauk is poetry of three lines with four syllables on each line. The rhyme pattern of thanbauk can be seen below, with 4th, 3rd and 2nd syllables rhyming in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines. Here’s my first attempt, without any prose to give it more depth as a haibun.

X X X A
X X A X
X A X X

a coffee poured
eyes adored, hers 
her, bored, so tired

As you have noticed I haven’t mentioned syllable requirements for the tanka. Let’s generally label the requirements frameworks. In tanka they are  (notionally for Ligo Haibun) 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. 

Should you prefer to use the haiku as is customary, there are 3 forms that are variants. One is the 5-7-5 syllable English language format, which stresses form over meaning. another one that is popular is the haiku over 3 lines with no more than 17 syllables in total, but no line requirement, and the third is freestyle with no syllable count over 3 lines.

This week is quote prompt week. You do not need to include the quote in the haibun, and normally it is not included but used as inspiration for your haibun. As always, choose one.

It is not enough to know how to ride – you must also know how to fall.–Mexican Proverb
It is solved by walking. –Algerian Proverb

WEEKLY LIGO HAIBUN CHALLENGE HERE