I know it was last week sometime, but, in my defence, I was chasing teenagers around Somerset in order to teach them the meaning of fear (on a science-fiction writing course, so they could write accurately about how it felt to be scared by aliens). I’ve only just caught up to myself and managed to post them all here – sorry, everyone, for the pile of haiku that just landed in your inboxes! I published them as I went along on Twitter and Instagram, but somehow they don’t feel “done” until I have them up here too.
Anyway. Last week, the midst of creativity and chaos, I crossed the finish line. Haiku 100. It didn’t feel like much at the time – a scribble in the midst of mixed-up mischief – but now that I have time to reflect, I think: I did it. I did – I did it.
Okay, it’s not the triumph of completing an epic destiny. But I’m pleased and proud to have set myself a challenge and to have risen to it, day after day. When I was ill, when I was travelling, at weddings and wonders, when I didn’t sleep for three weeks – I wrote haiku to deal with things I found painful and to celebrate the things I love. And I enjoyed it!
Of course, there were days when I got into bed at night and went “Oh, crap, I haven’t written one today!” and had to get up again and sit there in my pyjamas until I’d thought of something. But there were also times that they slipped so easily from noggin to nib that it felt unbelievable that other days I should struggle so much with seventeen slippery syllables.
Now that I’m done, though – I miss it. I do. I enjoyed having a sense of purpose, of something to do every day. Now that I’ve finished the creative extravaganza that is helping to shape the minds of young writers, I have a drive that I’ve always struggled with before. But doing a little bit every day – that seems so appealing, now, in a way that didn’t understand before I started this project. So that’s something I’m very pleased to have found, and I need to work to continue.
I haven’t decided what my next project will be, yet. But I’ve realised that I enjoy sharing my ideas in a way I was always far too anxious to do before, so whatever it is I do next, I won’t be afraid to talk about it any more. And, for me, considering this was a project that was born in the depths of my treatment for chronic anxiety, that’s as valuable as having written 100 poems that I actually like.
So this is me, signing off on 100 Haiku Days. It’s been a blast. Thanks for sharing the trip with me.