Household Haiku

Haiku. More of a word puzzle than a poem: one line of five syllables, one of seven, and another of five — 17 syllables and you’re done!

But there’s more to it. First, there should be two distinct images, separated by a turning-point word. And second, there should be a seasonal reference.

So I guess I didn’t write any real haiku yesterday. Several of my quasi-haiku have turning-point words (“no,” “none,” “but”), and “The Mud Room” pretty much sounds like winter, but no poem here follows all the rules.

However, they’re fun, so here they are. One for each room of our house and a bonus haiku about the telephone.

Note: Hitting return in this program double-spaces the lines, so I’ve set them down here with a slash between each line.

B edroom. Loud pulse wakens me. / Padded footfall on wood steps? / No. Cat throwing up.

ashroom. Brush. Toothbrush. Nail brush. / Toilet brush. All useful; none / interchangeable.

M ud room. Food bank for street birds. / Unassuming socks line-dry. / Peaceable kingdom.

G illian’s studio. I used to clear it, / revealing floor to vacuum. / Now I shut the door.

C all display. “To what do I owe / this unrequited pleasure?” / Marketer ends call.

M y study. I think, work, or read / at desk or in papasan / (unless Cat’s in it).

K itchen. Aging leftovers / seek Narnia, but the back / of the fridge is closed.

L iving room. Cardigans reign here. / We curl up, dogs on our laps / and fur in our tea.

Whacks Eloquent

The wife of a friend of a friend gingerly handed me her 60-page manuscript a few days ago, asking for line editing and correction of any grammar or punctuation errors.

She did not want line editing. She wanted me to tell her her book was perfect.

I read the first eight pages. The spelling was fine, of course, and hidden among all the airy-fairy moralizing there lurked a good story. But I knew I would never forgive myself if I simply corrected a few typos, especially if the writer acknowledged me as an editor. Ack! Besides, I was doing this work for free.

So I line edited and sent her two pages of her own work, rearranged, weeded, and with half a dozen empty words substituted with expressive ones. Naturally, she fired me. Phew.

This morning, during journal time, I wrote a folktale to express my annoyance. I hope you like it.

A rich man with a fine Cadillac took it to a detailer’s shop. The luxury car was coated thickly in road dust and spattered with bird droppings on its roof and pine pitch on its windshield. Its interior held empty potato chip bags and drippy soft-drink tins, cups of clotted coffee and wads of blown tissue, gritty floormats and fingerprinted windows.

After several hours of hard work, the detailer presented the clean, shiny Caddy to its owner. But the rich man refused to pay him, shouting “That’s your car now, it isn’t mine anymore!” as he jumped into the driver’s seat and squealed its tires on the way out of the lot.

The detailer, wiping his hands, briefly considered taking the rich man to small claims court. “But why bother?” He concluded. “That man is more unhappy than I am.”

The Smoke Alarm Jump

Two alarms actually, the lower one next to the staircase, the upper one at the top of said staircase, with neither wall nor ceiling between them. At slightly different pitches. In a post-war, one and-a-half storey home.

Whatever possessed us?

Even after the noise ceased, poor little Savvy sat as if frozen to the couch cushion, shivering twice, pausing, shivering twice again. “Poor little tyke,” I soothed her. “Shiver shiver scree, shiver shiver scree, eh?”

And voila! An idea for a blog post. I may not be able to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but even I’ve gotta admit that discovering music in a pair of electric banshees and a dog with satellite-dish ears is pretty resourceful.

Bored or Crazy? How to Tell the Difference

The road to Hell is lined with good utensils.
Photo taken by me on my iNonPhone.

My Wednesday post is late. Neither of my public is miffed — just terribly, terribly disappointed.

It’s been a long ten — no, make that eleven, she’s stuck on standby in Toronto — days without my sweetie. But I assure you, my readers, both of you, I’m ferpectly pine. The weather has been — oh, GAWD, PLEASE don’t talk about the weather! And NO, I do NOT WANT ICE in my ginger ale! I NEVER wanna see ICE AGAIN, EVERRRRRRR!

Well. You see how it is. I feel I have numerous qualifications for discerning the difference between bored and crazy, this week having been a refresher course.

1A. Bored: There’s a break in the w**th*r, so you browse the Dollar Store and return home with half a dozen items.

1B. Crazy: No matter what the w**th*r, you return home with half a dozen items from the Dollar Store for ten consecutive days.

2A. Bored: Although alone, you use up all the wilting veggies in a stew big enough for eight people, and eat it over the course of a week.

2B. Crazy: Your stew for eight makes your stomach bloat, but you eat it all week anyway.

3A. Bored: You spend three days revamping the kitchen pegboards with a fresh coat of paint and more hooks.

3B. Crazy: You replace all of the kitchen utensils onto the pegboard in alphabetical order.

that’s alll ofr now. My Gillian deprivation ahs made it almost impossibble to ytpe.

Surreal Clever Red Bean And Wiggle Case

Nabbings from last summer’s Big Siblings book sale.
Photo taken by me in SJ Library on my iNonPhone.

What follows is a segment from yesterday morning’s messaging session with Gillian, beginning at my 06:28, her 19:28. Except for a lovely afternoon with the Mortimers on Thursday, I haven’t been out for nine days. Does it show?

[GILLIAN experiences string of typos / Spellcheck hypervigilance.]

Me: Haven’t been too good with the typing lately either. Or the pouring. Missed my coffee cup on BOTH sides two days ago! I was scandalized.

G: Ack!

Time to switch back to tea?

Me: One of the Time-Life books from childhood had a two-page spread of photos of a man who had volunteered for a sensory-deprivation experiment. A completely dark room with soundproofed walls, and oven mitts on his hands, for a few days.

When he emerged, he was given straightforward tasks like inserting a bolt into a hole, and he couldn’t do it, his coordination was all off.

G: Wow

Me: Maybe I’m experiencing Gillian deprivation?

G: Woooo

Me: Hahahha he went back to normal in a day or so, and I expect I will too.

G: It won’t be long before I’m home. Just need to collect a few more photos…!

Me: Photography is a form of butterfly collecting, isn’t it? When you wrote “collect” just now it came to me.

Beauty at a point where two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects blur their boundaries.

G: That sounds like an artist’s statement.

Me: I’m thinking use in a piece of thoughtful fiction

G: Yes, that would work 

Me: Am still enjoying The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Excellent characterization based on the characters’ actions, almost polar to Woolf’s all-in-the-head stuff.

G: Super

Me: Yeah. It’s not wasted action, either, it’s informative.

Cheap novels are full of wasted action.

Academic ones are full of no action.

Golly, I’m firing on all cylinders this morning, aren’t I? Must be all that fish and seafood I’ve been eating.


(PS This post’s title comes from my squinting guess at one of the food photos Gillian shared with me this morning. Got “red bean” right, anyway.)