The Journal of Paganini Jones

The Hunt for Inspiration - Essay for the Tadpole Society and all
11/17/2011 01:27 p.m.

Some days writing is a dry business and I know some here are finding it so. In these circumstances for me one merit of haiku is that they are short! So there's a good chance I can write something even in the most unpromising mental state.

Some days inspiration comes from the world around me eg. glancing through the kitchen window to see a flock of small brown birds descend on our holly bush to eat every single berry before leaving. This is of course the perceived proper way to write haiku. We are supposed to have an 'Ah!' moment: a zen insight that demands capture. And of course, at its best our writing in this way makes us more observant and more appreciative of the small delights around us.

Sadly, it doesn't always work like that and at its worst, believing that this is the only way to write haiku (or indeed any other type of poem) makes us a slave to 'the muse'. It seems to me to be rather like a runner who insists they can't run except when they are 'in the zone', so they won't train today. But only with regular training can any runner expect to find the zone. So it is with writing. And so many days I

look for inspiration in other places.

1) Looking at an everyday object
(I have posted an exercise based on this in the forum in the thread 'Autumn Desert') We are surrounded by things which we use and or give our lives meaning. On my desk is the computer I am writing on right now, a torch, glasses, small notepad, pencil sharpener made to look like an old fashioned roundabout, my watch, a tape measure, two CDs, a theology text book, desk lamp, my empty coffee mug etc... Any one

could be the inspiration for a small poem.

Simply imagine the object in a variety of places. The torch could be used to look for something (where and what might be found?), to prop up something, played with by a child etc. The notepad could be used to write on (what might I write?), folded into origami (what might I make?), lost (where?) and so on. How do the different contexts change how you see the object itself?

2) Reading haiku
There's haiku to be found all over the place - books, online blogs, magazines, forums (and here on Pathetic of course). Reading haiku thoughtfully to get inside the poem can reveal new techniques, delight us with new gems, provide us with subjects etc etc which jumstart our own writing. Sometimes what is read can provoke another haiku in response. Sometimes (dare I confess?) I read a haiku which I itch to rewrite. And doing so gets me writing again.

3) Reading about haiku
Again, there's a plethora of material to read, from our own bookshelves and the library to online materials. Have a look at essays from the varius haiku societies, read about the form as it is used in teaching, search academic essays and look for online challenges or exercises too. Usually something will provide inspiration.

Some inspirations
Frogpond, the Journal of the Haiku Society of America has a wealth of resources whether you want to read haiku, or about them. The homepage is HERE

This is an odd document but it lists season and other words and phrases kigo/05-muki-saijiki-TOC which may just trigger your imagination.

Aha Poetry, Jane Reichold's website is a wonderful resource. She has been writing haiku for at least 30 years. As some of you know, I consider anything she writes to be worth reading: I have learned so much from her! GO HERE to explore her site

If you have other links to share, please add them below!

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02/11/2008 10:40 p.m.
The map below shows which countries in the world I have visited. 17 countries which is about 7%, so there is still some scope left for interesting holidays!It would be interesting to compare maps with other members of Pathetic - do you have a passport? Have you visited other countries?

create your own visited country map
I am currently Somber

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Less than 24 hours to go
09/29/2007 09:48 a.m.
Or why, despite the lack of training I will still take part in the Great North Run.

What can I tell you? The training schedule went to pot some weeks ago. Tennis elbow followed by a week's holiday followed by my Father being admitted to hospital have all taken their toll. Obviously I am too easily distracted!

Dad 'fell' several times in the last 3 weeks. Two times he was taken to hospital by the ambulance crew called out to pick him up. The last time they came my mother was told my Dad would be discharged to respite care - she had had very little sleep because of caring for him in the night as well as during the day. When we went to visit him a few hours later we were told he was medically fit for discharge and had to take him home. In the end we did. He could hardly walk. His co-ordination was worse than ever and he was dragging his right foot. To us he looked like he had had a stroke but the hospital were convinced there was nothing wrong, and that my Mum was able to care for him.

That night Mum was taken ill. I still don't know whether she got the tummy bug doing the rounds or whether it was a result of the combined lack of sleep, stress, and distress of his discharge. Whatever the reason I took the day off work and went round to do basics like washing, dressing and feeding Dad. My first task was to get the bedroom door open. It was blocked by a heap of fallen books and Dad. Mum was curled on the bed feeling rotten and running a slight temperature.

That morning I picked Dad off the floor three more times. I also made a complaint to the hospital about his discharge, and talked to social services about possible respite care. I then got Dad admitted to hospital again and finally convinced staff that there was something wrong, and that even if they thought there wasn't, that it was unsafe to discharge him home where he had fallen so many times in one morning.

You'll be glad to know that Mum is much better. Dad has now been in hospital a week. Since the mini stroke he may or may not have, had he has become fully incontinent, unable to walk even at his usual slow shuffle and almost unable to find words. He sleeps a lot. Staff are trying to teach him to walk using a walking frame (walker). He dislikes it and gets cross that they want him to do so. He wants to walk unaided. So there have been a couple of falls in hospital.

This afternoon Mum went to visit him. He politely enquired who she was. She told him and he seemed pleased she was there. At the end she reminded him of her name. He tried very hard to remember who that name was but it meant nothing to him. Six days ago it was their fifty-seventh wedding anniversary. She feels abandoned and bereft.

At the moment I cry every day at the little losses, and because of the grief I would turn away from my Mum if only I could but can't. And so I will 'run' on Sunday. I'll probably cry a lot then too, but hopefully nobody will notice. I'll do it because the Alzheimer's Society needs every penny to help other people like my Mum and Dad and to campaign for drugs to be available to everyone who would benefit. Dad has deteriorated so much faster since the took him off the medication because he didn't meet the required points.

I'll run on Sunday because my Mum is proud to tell people I am doing so, and will look out for me in TV. And I'll do so because when my Mum told Dad about it today, even though he didn't know who she was and probably remembers me as a child if at all, he laughed at the idea. He's right. It is pretty funny! What on earth do I think I am doing? And what a daft way to raise money, don't you think?

Look out for me. I'm number 48150 - probably the one near the back, coming in after about 4 hours. Sponsor me if you can and think it a good idea. And whatever, give a wave and cheer as I pass.

I am currently Sad

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I like this. Have a go!
09/06/2005 10:24 p.m.
Your IQ Is 125
Your Logical Intelligence is Below Average

Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius

Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius

Your General Knowledge is Above Average

I am currently Tired

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An explanation of my poem 'London, 10th July 2005'
07/11/2005 09:19 p.m.
The references - the Poppy refers to "In Flanders Field" by the Canadian poet Col John McCrae. Following the publication of his poem the poppy became a symbol of 'Life' and 'Resurrection': the red petals were the colour of the blood that stained the battlefield; the yellow/black centre represented the mud and desolation; the green of the stem became representative of the forests and fields where generations of men have died to make their land free; the stem itself symbolized the courage of the fallen soldiers. Life and freedom, all in this tiny flower. The single brand plucked out of the air also referes to this poem. The childs scarlet coat on a grey day is a reference to the film of "Schindler's List" (ark) (remember that long shot following a child who is destined for the gas chambers, the red coat the only colour in an otherwise monchrome film?)

The last 3 lines refer to the first world war poet Rupert Brook's poem "the old vicarage, Granchester"

In the UK at least, poppies are worn on Armistice day to mark and remember the nd of WW1. Last Sunday (the date in the title)was national commemoration day in Britain. It marked the final day of 'celebration' of 60 years from the end of WW2, being a halfway point between VE day and VJ day.
On Sunday over London 1 million poppies were dropped from a Lancaster Bomber. Each poppy symbolised a life given during that conflict.

And of course only 3 days previous we had the bombs that went off in London's underground and on a bus...

I guess the rest of the poem is trying to use images to catch the myriad layers of meaning surrounding all these events and memories.

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Remember THIS poem??
06/24/2005 10:31 p.m.
We Flew!

Today we flew over the Alps
Can you understand the wonder of it?
gazing out of an airoplane window
onto mountains so high,
so snowy that I could not
plan the climbing of them,
yet laid out, a miracle
exquisite in detail.

And we flew over the alps
How great my wonder of it!
mountains like frozen water
whipped to peaks by a lashing wind
or like ice cream
carved sharp, precise,
then threaded with wisps and strands
of brightly spun sugar.

We flew! The wonder of it
Over the Alps, floating in blackness
backlit by a red, dying sun
pinpricks of light marking
hundreds of people with busy lives
of work, and television and food
in Leipzig, Salzburg
or some other such

Today, we flew over the alps
And I cannot tell true my wonder of it.

16 October 2000

Remember this? (One from my pre Pathetic days) Well in the morning I fly out to Salzburg and then drive to Niederau in the Tirol to spend a week walking in the alps! If there are any good photos I'll post the best on my return, just to prove I went.

I am currently Excited

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Werneth Low, near to where I live
06/07/2005 11:30 p.m.

Image hosted by TinyPic.com

I have a new camera and am quite excited about the photos I have been able to take with it.
This one was taken at the end of an evening walk with the dogs. Don't go thinking that we live in the middle of nowhere! If you could see down in the valley you would see the houses of Hyde and Hattersley. And if you could look left down behind the monument, you would see urban sprawl all the way to Manchester.

What I like about this picture is the contrast between the skyline and sky, and the wonderful crinkled-silk look of the sky itself.

I am currently Content
I am listening to Byzantine chants

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Welcome, Abigail Heather
10/31/2004 07:33 p.m.
So, after some discussion those of us who could fly went on holiday in Tunisia leaving Philip at home with Gemma and the dogs. Gemma being in the third trimester was not allowed and of course Philip was not going anywhere without her.

Just as well! Abigail was born at 12:45 on Friday 29th October, six weeks early, whilst I was still in Hamammet. I found out by voicemail as my mobile phone (cellphone) would not accept calls from outside the country.

At 3lbs 2ozs (about 1.4 kg) Abigail is small even for 6 weeks early and she is in an incubator. Mum is fine and Abi is pretty good too. Got a good pair of lungs on her but mostly seems very content and sleeps a lot. She's a bit jeundiced today but that was to be expected and UV light will sort that out.

Phil finally had the courage to hold Abi today after watching Gem change her nappy for the first time. He is so afraid that she will break because she is so small and he feels so big and clumsy in comparison. Well, he COULD hold her in one hand, just about! She had been crying but his stroking her face and head soothed her almost immidiately. I wish you could have seen his face! It was love at first sight.

Me, a grandmother! *Big cheesey grin*
I am currently Blessed

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In the midst of death...
06/09/2004 09:13 p.m.
Forgive me. I have no poetry in me. My Aunt has died after 5 weeks in hospital. None of our family knew she was in, nor even that she was ill. For 21 years we nore of us saw her. She refusd invitations to visit and did not encourage us to visit her. She had been a widow for 21 years, was an only child and had no children. She was 90 whan she died. Her will leaves most of her (not inconsequential) estate to charity and one nephew who is as baffled as the rest as to why him. My Mother tells me my Father used to ring regularly until finally discouraged by the 'Why do you keep ringing me?'

As one of the nephews and nieces both able and willing to do whatever needs to be done I claimed her body, registered her death, arranged the funeral (which is tomorrow) and worked my way through her telephone/address book to inform anyone who might want to know. One friend in the book berated me for My Aunt's lack of any caring family for her to turn to.

And yet...
She had many church friends, is held up as a pillar of piety and strength in her church and will be greatly missed by friends living in Canada, Australia, South Africa; is deeply mourned by a young minister friend... Sorting through her papers today we found beautiful love letters written to her by her husband, to be opened after he had gone to work.

Who is left of my family in her generation? 2 brother-in-laws who, like her husband before them and their mother before that have alzheimer's; a brother-in-law dieing of cancer, and a (second*) cousin (once removed*) who is delightfuly eccentric but bright as a button and looks to live for ever!

I am saddened, and grieve for what never was & for family ties sadly unravelled and frayed.

(*choose one or the other but not both - I can never remember which is which)
I am currently Empty

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I don't do journals but
05/01/2004 10:06 a.m.
I thought I would hide my entry essay here just in case... In case of what? Who knows! Its like all those things that you save for YEARS because you think they may come in handy, and the day after you throw then away you find out why you needed them. SO perhaps its here as a tallisman. If I don't throw it away I will never, ever need it again!

Please include the reason why you think that you would be a positive contribution to our Poetry Circle in the Essay box

How could anyone possibly say that they would be a positive contribution to a poetry circle, or for that matter, any circle? Oh it would be easy to say. But how could one be certain? How could one know? Of course one could aspire to be a positive influence. But an aspiration is only an aspiration. I aspire to so many things. I aspire to be a good poet, a published writer, thin, beautiful, well paid… the list is endless. But my desire to be any of those things does not make it so, though with continual strenuous effort and a lot of luck I might pull one or two of them off.

I would like to be a positive contribution, no doubt about it. I could promise to weigh my words carefully, to edit my writing repeatedly, to comment on 5 poems for every one of my own I post, to tread softly on the forums. And you know what? I always try to do those things, wherever I am. But would that make me a positive contribution? There are many that do as much and more, but in truth (say it softly over a glass of wine at the bar) are simply contributors who have a lot of words but little to say.

So what is left? Quite simply, I have a yearning to come home. There are friends here whose work I read but cannot comment on. One or two like, or so they say, to read what I write but don’t find it easy to access my work. The world has turned. Time has moved on. And maybe, just maybe there is a small corner in Pathetic that I could fill?

I am currently Amazed
I am listening to the hum of the computer and my husband shouting to the dog.

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