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Compost: Philosophical Haiku

Philosophers

The haiku in the series A Haiku Book of Days are arranged by eight seasons and seven themes. For instance, the haiku in the Haiku Book of Days for Philosophers, Scientists, and Other Ponderers exhibit the themes of questions and answers, right and wrong, rationality and thought, the meaning of Life, and others. In this Late Autumn/Almost Winter season they also may have themes corresponding to this time of year and in a person’s life, such as death and ancestors, light and dark, wombs and pregnancy, cold, patience and impatience, waiting and longing, trust and suspicion, and others.

Here’s the philosophical haiku for today:

December 15
oh how sweet it is
to give without keeping score
for we own nothing

You can purchase this book on Amazon here.

Haiku Friday: Chains

HistoriansToday my haiku is from my new book A Haiku Book of Days for Historians, Storytellers, and Other Guardians of the Truth. You can now purchase this book on Amazon here.

The haiku topic for today is “Chains”:

ghosts do not wear chains
the whole point about ghosting:
you are free at last

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

Ghostwriting for a Dog: Canine Poetry

AnimalsAlex Terrgi here. My human is all jazzed about her newest books of poetry. There are seven of them, but in my opinion one is clearly the best one. That’s the one titled “For Students of Animals, Birds, Insects, and Other Teachers” – although I think she could have left off the Birds and Insects, and just concentrated on the animals – actually she could have left off all the other animals and just had poetry about dogs, and then the title would have been a lot shorter – A Haiku Book of Days for Dogs. The haiku about dogs are my favorite. For instance, for today’s date, December 8th, here is the haiku in this book:

December 8
before you eat him
do you thank the oyster for
giving up his life?

 Now I guess that’s an okay haiku about oysters, but here’s the one for December 13, which is clearly so much better – don’t you agree?

December 13
chasing dog buddies
through the chilly twilight hours
there’s nothing better

If you want to read more of these fine dog haiku (or you can read about oysters, or owls, or orangutans too, if you must) you can buy this book on Amazon here.

Haiku Friday: Mist

GardnersToday my haiku is from my new book A Haiku Book of Days for Gardeners, Tree-Huggers, and Other Nature Lovers. You can now purchase this book on Amazon here

The haiku topic for today is “Mist”:

December 5
one of those mornings
hints of trees peek through the mist
time to light a fire

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

 

Compost: A Month of Haiku

9781881849292.mainThis month I’m dedicating my blog to haiku, because today I am launching my newest project, The Haiku Books of Days. Hooray! It has been a labor of love, and a labor of time. Over twenty years of labor, in fact. Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction to these books, telling how this project came to be:

For the past twenty-plus years, one of my writing disciplines has been to write one haiku poem per day. When I began, I did not know that this haiku practice would change my life, but it did. At the time I worked for the marketing department of a large technology company, and tried to pacify my lifelong dreams of being a “real” writer by writing “on the side.” One evening while on a business trip and staying in a nondescript hotel, I was reading a book about writing I had brought from home. I have since forgotten the author and title of this book; the only thing I remember was that the author suggested would-be writers might try to write just one thing per day, no matter how small. Even a three-line haiku would be enough, the author said, to prove you were a real writer, a real artist.

“I can do that,” I thought. Even though I was a single mom with a demanding job, surely I could manage seventeen measly syllables each day. So I determined I would try. I wanted to fulfill the dream I’d had since childhood. I wanted to lay claim to that powerful statement, I am an artist.

It worked – boy did it work. Five years after I began writing my one haiku a day I left my corporate job and became a full-time freelance writer, writing not only haiku, but many books of fiction and non-fiction, blogs and articles – both for me and for others as a ghostwriter. And despite my – and my family and friends’ – fears of poverty, it is what I am still doing today.

But until recently I thought of my haiku practice as “just for me” and had no plans to put my haiku out into the world, although sometimes I shared one on my blog. The conventional wisdom is that poetry does not sell, so what would be the point? Then I began to wonder if my children would find my disorganized haiku files after I was gone, and maybe they’d like to preserve them as a family keepsake. Perhaps I should make it a little easier for them.

Most writers want to be remembered (we’re all Shakespeare-wannabes) so this seductive idea took root in my mind. And maybe the conventional wisdom was wrong. Even if it wasn’t, even if my haiku did not sell, so what? The reason I wrote haiku was not for money or admiration. It was because I am an artist and this art form is beautiful.

That brings me to this new project, the Haiku Books of Days. When you write one haiku a day for twenty years you end up with a lot of haiku – like over seven thousand of them. Of course not all of them are good haiku – some are pretty bad. (However, many are excellent.) But what was I going to do with seven thousand haiku?

The Haiku Book of Days is the answer. I reviewed my seven thousand haiku and winnowed out the bad ones, then the mediocre ones, then the almost-really-good ones (that was hard), and ended up with more than 2500 haiku that I thought were my best. As I sorted the haiku, I took note of the broad themes that recurred often, and eventually came up with seven. Therefore the Haiku Book of Days series consists of seven books, each book containing 366 haiku, one for each day of the year (including February 29) organized into eight seasons. Each book’s haiku reflects a different theme. The books are:

My vision for this series is that readers can read just one of the books, or all of them, or some of them, in any order. They can read one haiku a day, or a bunch of them whenever they want. However they are read, I hope readers enjoy and ponder them, and perhaps be inspired to write their own haiku. Every Friday on this blog I hope you play a game of Haiku Friday with me.

So for the rest of the month of December, I’ll be sharing some haiku from these seven Books of Days. Here’s a haiku for December 1st from A Haiku Book of Days for Spiritual Seekers, Dreamers, and Other Lovers of Magic & Mystery

December 1
your lamps will burn out
wait in the unmoving dark
something holy comes

 

Haiku Friday: Worms

haiku pic 1Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Worms:

don’t open that can
unless you’re ready for worms
to turn into snakes

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

Plus! Next month my new book series titled The Haiku Book of Days will be released! Seven books of 366 haiku each, each book showcasing a different theme. More later …

Ghostwriting for a Dog: Thankful Dogs

file9561275423505 - SquirrelAlex Terrgi here. This Thursday my human and I are going to a party on Thursday. The party is called Thanksgiving and humans do it every year so they can be thankful for stuff.

I wonder if humans realize that dogs celebrate Thanksgiving too. Because we do. The difference between us dogs and humans is that we are thankful every day, not just on one special day. I’m thankful I have good food to eat every evening. I’m thankful my water dish is nearly always full of fresh water, and even if it gets low I am thankful that my human will fill it up soon. I am thankful I get to sleep in a warm place next to a warm body every night. I am thankful my people pet my fur the right way. I am thankful my human sees that I go walking every day so I can make sure there are no aliens in my yard or on my street or in my dog park. I am thankful for all the wonderful smells in the world. I’m thankful I get to go to parties like the Thanksgiving party we’re going to this week, so I can spread my happiness and love around and suck up all the love I get back.

And oh yeah, I am grateful for squirrels.

Haiku Friday: Joke

zen gardenHere’s my haiku for today, on the topic of “Joke”:

make a haiku joke
mix laughter and poetry
play the fool for Art

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

Compost: Ghostly Sales Pitch

SALE on speech bubblesHere’s another question I was asked during a consultation on ghostwriting from one of the participants in my course Learn to Ghost.

Q: Do you go into the first call with a prospective client with the goal to embed a sales pitch in the consultation, even though the ghostwriting sales cycle can be very long?

My answer: I operate under the assumption that before we set a phone call consultation, we’ve exchanged some information via email and I’ve directed them to my website so they can get some idea of who I am and how I work, and that now they’re interested enough to spend time on the phone with me. I especially direct them to my “rates” page so they don’t waste their time and mine if they expect to hire a ghostwriter for a full-length book that takes at least 6 months to write, and pay what amounts to a pittance. I also ask via email for a general idea of what the book will be about. So I do not push for the sale at all. Working with a ghostwriter is a very intimate collaboration, and the client and I have to feel some kind of connection before it can work well.

There are many things to know about ghostwriting. If you’re a writer who is curious about ghostwriting, check out my course Learn to Ghost.

Haiku Friday: Puzzles

Here’s my haiku for today, on the topic of Puzzles:

this is who we are:
puzzles with pieces missing
never to be found

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.