I posted this picture of my haiku writing process a couple of weeks ago. But it only tells half the story – the serene half. Just to give you a sense of my dedication, here’s how the rest of it looks.
On my lucky mornings, I wake up and my dreams are still right there. Clear and ripe to start yanking out haiku. But sometimes, I wake in the middle of the night, with a head full of dreams. And I’m usually aware, just enough, that if I let myself fall back to sleep, I risk forgetting all their wonderful weirdness. Or they’ll be trampled and lost to other dreams. In the darkness, I silently compose lines. And as the tiny poems come together, and even though it might be 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, I force myself out of bed.
My wife sleeps lightly, so I try to leave the bedroom as quietly as possible. This means not scrounging about for my glasses or something to wear. (We sleep with an electric blanket, so I usually wear nothing to bed.) Our thermostat is set for 55 when we sleep, and sometimes it actually drops to that in the living room overnight.
So, this leaves me naked, shivering, and nearly blind in my living room at dark o’clock. I fumble for a light to switch on. Then I hunker down on the couch next to my two snoring cats, and retrieve my journal from where it lives – a stool next to the couch.
In the morning, typically having forgotten the specifics of what I wrote, reading my journal is a nice surprise with my cup of green tea.
What are your poetry rituals?