Somewhere over the last year or so, I had a few too many burning-bush moments and shifted slightly back toward ideas I was exploring in the early 90s. If you say that a tree is a god, I’m a theist. If you say it isn’t, I’m an atheist. Either way, my relationship to the tree remains.
Also during that time I journaled extensively, mostly short work. Somewhen, I got out of the habit, possibly during my ABD hell when I developed severe RSI. Possibly I was chasing my tail trying to deal with a long-form work that got away from me and I changed out from under it. Shortly after the family visit at the start of the New Year, I made three interrelated decisions:
- Write more nature-focused work and ideas.
- Write shorter works.
- Find an alternate way of communicating these ideas.
Haiku was a form I experimented with back when I was journaling and it seems a good fit for what I’m trying to do as a religious practice. A haiku is a Polaroid snapshot of Beings in the world around me stripped of literary devices except for a season word and a break. It’s simple, but not easy. It’s a method to capture fleeting moments of those Beings.
Not that I consider myself any good. I am an amateur, and will likely remain as such.
One advantage is that poetic modes are, in modern interpretation, more likely to be read as subjective and ambiguous than prose.
If you turn on the “news” you will get a handful of facts followed by a series of talking heads. The first one says, “this is reality.” The second one says, “no, that’s politics; this is reality.” And if the producer is lucky to get them in the same time, you end up with two people shouting different realities at each other. The conclusion is that the talking head who is most witty, emotive, or sympathetic dictates reality for the audience.
Unfortunately, this seems to carry through with online interfaith discourse where personal subjectivity is often lost, even when explicitly stated. Writing declaratively about these relationships is more likely to be seen as proselytism than writing poetically.
That’s the theory I’m working with at any rate. I’m gradually easing into other forms as well.