1. Introduce yourself (include any previous writing experience if any)?
Introductions are clumsy things. I understand the need for them but I can’t help but feel like a badly decorated Christmas tree assorted with labels that rest uneasily on my shoulders. I’m the husband to an incredibly brilliant woman and a father to a beautiful three-year-old son. Later this month, I’ll become the father of a little baby girl, too. I am 41 years old and currently live near Cape Town, South Africa. I work as a software developer for a company in Canada and I hope – once Covid-19 is a bit more subdued – to be joining their company in British Columbia. Before returning to South Africa, my wife and I spent 6 years living in Mie Prefecture, Japan. In fact, our son was “Made in Japan”. I also consider myself to be the world’s worst minimalist.
I have little-to-none writing experience but I find writing cathartic and have often threatened to write more. Then, near the end of last year, I started playing a video game called Ghost of Tsushima. Haiku featured as an element in the game and I thought to myself, “17 syllables. That sounds like a minimalist writing style that I can commit to.” So, I resolved – as my 2021 New Year’s Resolution, to write a haiku each day.
2. How do you approach writing haiku? (chance to offer some insights into your writing process, whether you include visual and other material?
Otherwise, my process is to observe the simple things in my environment that mark the passing of the seasons and wonder about how these simple images can be used to convey something beyond the literal.
By illustration, it’s early autumn in South Africa and under a nearby oak tree, I found myself standing on acorns that weren’t there 2 weeks ago. In a sense, I meditate on the acorn as my seasonal anchor, and explore what we can learn from it, what about it is surprising, or what quality about it is admirable?
Oh, to be buried,and then soon forgotten;the young acorn’s dream.
3. What do you enjoy about being a member of The Daily Haiku group?
Honestly, there’s a lot to love. I love that it’s a place where I can share my writing and can learn from the writing of others. I really like how welcoming the group is and how inclusive it is of all kinds of styles; haiku of course, but also other short forms. In my view, TDH is not a haiku group; it’s a community that orbits around haiku as a theme. A Facebook group that is a community first is rare and incredibly special.
I also like that – in a world of echo-chambers – this group transcends age. I love that there are many avid writers in their seventies and eighties (and hopefully older)! It’s lovely to hear what the older generations are thinking and feeling; regardless of whether I agree or not.
4. Do you have any comments on the wellbeing aspect of being part of a creative writing group?
5. Do pick out two of your favourite haiku that you have written?
A toadin the beak of a crane;smiling.
Something lost returnswith each soft undulation;at the water’s edge.