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 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

The View – Friday Fictioneers

hay-bales-sandra-c

”That’s a nice view you’ve got over the village, Count.”

”Indeed, Inspector. So what was the visit about again?” The Count arched an eyebrow of inquisition as he loomed forward behind him to better hear.

”The missing young village women,” the Inspector said turning sharply at the window to the sudden shadow.

”Ah yes, rather unfortunate affair, has somewhat punctured the village’s image as a location of private repose,” the Count said humbly, as he proffered a plate of dark cakes; ”biscuit?” he added.

”Why thank you, Count,” the Inspector said, ”chocolate?”

”Dried blood, actually,” replied the Count, absentmindedly.

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99 words, pic this week by Sandra Cook  ¤ un grand merci pour Rochelle!

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

 

A Writer’s Lair: Africa!

Nowhere better actually. Just nowhere. The people are wonderful in every country, the tragedy is galling, but the smiles are pure music. The headscarves, wraps, dresses are all magical, and my two favourite ‘perfumes’, the diesel and the dust, are everywhere. There is nothing not to love about the continent: they must make it, just must.

I cannot pin point the best country or town and seat in Africa to sit and write your novel, but where ever it is, the novel will swirl around you, day and night. The difficulty is squeezing it into your pages quick enough. 

Once an ex-US Marine
gave me a job in Sierre Leone
my job was not too complicated
he said
wake up in the morning
sit on the front of a truck
with a shotgun
during the diamond run
and also bring back the pay
the very same day.

As a writer I could not refuse
and I knew
nothing is more similar to the holder of a pen
than the trigger of a gun.

 

nationsonline.org

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Pilgrim

I wonder what the difference is between pilgrim and refugee. Both seek shelter from the world. It is true that they both might pass each other on the road, dressed in similar clothes, with the similar, hunted look in the eyes, or upon the face. Of course, the pilgrim wants to come back, and the refugee does not. And the pilgrim is rushing to his god, while the refugee is running away from someone else’s god. But aside from these differences, they are both somewhat similar in nature, more or less.

shooting star at night
or floating ember from fire
grasshopper guesses wrong

 

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 ‘ Writer’s Lament

c2a9dawn_q-_landau

“Well this here would make your perfect writer’s retreat.”

“I’m really not sure about it.”

“Oh you wouldn’t be the first writer to rent here.”

“Getaway, you’re kidding me!”

“Nope. Why even The Shinning was written here.”

“I think you’ll find its called The Shining.”

“Nope, Shinning. I should know, author still owes me rent.”

“Happens.”

“Yep, does. He’s to finish the title in lieu of paying rent.”

“I see, well-”

“He’s right there, see.”

“Pardon?”

He looked over the steps at the bearded, haggard figure, tied with a large rusted chain to his wrist..

“Yep, used to tie him by the ankle, but since the shinning…”

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Friday Fictioneers – run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Thanks Rochelle! Photo this week by Dawn Q. Landau

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

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

A Writer’s Lair @ Starý Smokovec

Despite an ex-boxer prime minister who arranged to have the country’s president’s son kidnapped, beaten up, and dumped at the border, Slovakia was one of  my favourite destinations some 15-20 years ago. More particularly, Starý Smokovecin the Tatra mountains.

Slovakia was a country with an attitude in the early 1990s. In next-door Hungary the prime minister had just announced he was not prime minister of Hungary, but of all Hungarians; tantamount, just about, to a declaration of war. With its sizable Hungarian minority, history of being invaded by Hungary (the last time in 1968, as fighting strafed the streets of Prague during the Prague Spring), and while Yugoslavia nearby crumbled, Slovakia tensed.

Mercier, the infamous Slovak prime minister, argued for Slovakia joining the newly formed CIS, formed from the ex-USSR, to become the”richest state in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) instead of the poorest in the European Union, and banned shops using only the Hungarian language on their signs.

I loved the atmosphere of turmoil in Eastern Europe at the time. Writers need tension, conflict and pressure – just ask the Czechoslovak authors who wrote the masterpieces they did under the communist regime, permanently fighting censorship or worse.

But most of all I loved coming to Starý Smokovec.

Starý Smokovec

I was in various locations in Eastern Europe in those early years of the decade, but whenever I wanted to add a few more chapters to my burgeoning book, I would head straight for the mountain town for a few weeks, in summer, winter, spring and autumn. I stayed in various different pensions, each one clean, charming, with a table in a room with a view. Considering the pensions started around €5 per night at that time, I was able to spend all my breaks ensconced in a room, coming out for breathtaking walks among trails, or a few Tatran beers, surely the world’s finest beer, made on site.

Tatran beer advertisment

Tatran beer advertisment

Starý Smokovec

Starý Smokovec church

Starý Smokovec was the ideal writer’s retreat. A small town in the Tatra mountains, with clean air, not too much to do except walk, and write, a language that I did not understand but was charming to the ear, and prices that meant I was able to concentrate on the book without worrying about where my next meal would come from.

Starý Smokovec train station

One of my ‘residences’ in Starý Smokovec

The Tatra mountains were just right for the writer – easily accessible but out of the way, with those great mountain hikes and lubrication. Even the tea was good. I wrote in all seasons, in chalets and pensions and bars, over garlic soup, cheese and bread. I took trips to Moldavia, in the new Czech Republic, just as Dubček, one of the architects of the 1968 Prague Spring died in a mysterious car crash. I took trips down to Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia, where I travelled with false documents as the Serbs in Belgrade tried to get rid of Milosovic and his Lady Macbeth, until the Serb police got rid of me. I took trips to Romania, during those infamous days when miners were paid to come to Bucharest to crack a few demonstrating student heads open, after the fake ‘revolution’ that got Ceaucescu and his Lady M out of the way (more about that in my book!). And I travelled to the Ukraine, with its visas issued not to the day of departure, but hour.

And I returned to Starý Smokovec to write. Those were special days of change.

Mountain chalet above Starý Smokovec – for short writing excursions

You can set your dramatic assassination scene at the cable car station at the mountain top above Starý Smokovec

Starý Smokovec town lay-out