THE DAILY HAIKU themes have often created deep emotional outpourings, including from myself, that feel liberating and from the way members engage, supportive and nurturing. Directly evocative themes of grief, depression, love, family… have all provided such opportunities to reach out, share personal memories and emotions. But crucially it is the group within this particular social media setting that seems to offer a confessional ‘safe space’, allowing people to share often deeply painful or hidden feelings that might have surfaced initially from the thematic prompt but also through the example of others sharing their feelings. Sharing feelings can also foster deeper connections and friendships, exposing our frailities is a leveller.The brevity of haiku also seems to help this process and ability to gush, but within an edited format by choosing the nuggets of an emotion to share or for some, including myself, beginning to address emotions in a more open and organised way. This editing process can feel very cathartic.
This all feels like a really good thing as well as often providing an entry point into writing that focuses on expressing oneself without stressing at that point too much on craft. A first novel is frequently one that relies on autobiographical details and known emotions, a Künstlerroman that shows an artist’s growth. T S Eliot’s concept of the objective correlative would disapprove of such gushing and highlights this in his essay ‘Hamlet and his Problems’ describing the play as being an ‘artistic failure’ where emotion out manoeuvres crafting of that emotion compared to Macbeth – hence my blog title ‘to gush or not to gush’. Of course I disagree with my own title, nothing should be either or, I am an advocate of widening our approaches, being open and flexible, using rules, discarding rules, playing with words, learning more about haiku… Eliot champions subtlety to provoke audiences to feel what Hamlet does through images, actions, chain of events and characters (objective correlatives) ‘which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked’  as opposed to merely describing emotions. Show don’t tell – a more prosaic slogan here.
But raw emotion has its place, as does a more crafted evocation of emotion. Motivation comes into it, what do we want to express and why? For Yvens a young immigrant learning to write English the most important thing for him about writing is to ‘say it with your HEART’.  Motivation is as important to understand from the writer’s point of view as it is from the reader and listener, so that judgemental assumptions are avoided and a more careful approach is fostered that appreciates our differences. Sometimes we want, even need, to get something off our chest, to release a feeling and to share this feeling through haiku then see what comes out within the constraints of the form and go with it. We may also want to speak from the heart, be more autobiography than novel, clearly our bestseller lists let us know that real life stories are popular and relatable. But we may want to use our personal feelings and experiences to spark a haiku, to take the seeds of an emotion and evoke something new from it, detach it from the personal, add a dollop of creativity and imagination, change the script, pretend, dress up, lie… In my creative practitioner work it is always a revelation to those who are just starting to explore their writing that they can make it up, they can change facts that they might want to use from their lives; for some reason when we first start to write we are drawn to wanting to be true to what we feel, this is compelling. So whilst expressing our true feelings can be liberating, cathartic and nurturing, playing with the truth, exploring new ideas, changing our writing patterns and writing comfort zones might just be the adventure we are seeking next.
We all have different motivations to write a haiku, this may also change from day to day, one day I gush, another I resist, but at the heart is a desire to be open, learn from others, listen to others and enjoy reading the amazing haiku that spring from our daily themes, prompts and threads.
 ‘Hamlet and his problems’ T S Eliot, 1919 https://www.bartleby.com/200/sw9.html
 ‘Writing with my Heart is Better than Writing with My Brain’, Yvens, 2020 The Immigrant Learning Center https://www.ilctr.org/immigrant-students-writing-from-the-heart/