Hello everyone! Welcome to you all. Today is a rather unusual prompt for the haibun. I usually try to stick to traditional subjects but a few days ago, I became intrigued with an advertisement I read on Flipboard. Intrigued and then enchanted by; and ultimately, I began to have more thoughts on the ad campaign.
It seems that Sweden is the first country to have its own telephone number. You can dial the phone number and speak to a random Swede in a random location in Sweden. You can talk about darkness, snow, sex, Weezer’s white album, politics, food…whatever. Sweden is celebrating the 250th anniversary on the ban of censorship in their country. What better way than to celebrate than to make it possible to have an open conversation with someone in another country, time zone, age, sex, cultural background? Needless to say, I called the number and spoke to a friendly young woman. I told her I was doing the call out of curiosity so she took the lead asking my age and where did I live and then the weather. Mindful of the cost, I blurted out, what is it like living so far up north that seeing the stars at night is a rare occurance. She asked about the stars way down here and I told her of my love for the night sky, writing about the River of Heaven (Amanogawa, Milky Way). Excellent conversation and I put in a pitch for Bjorn and Keyhole Stories and the poetry on dVerse. Wistfulness on her part about my night sky. We hung up after exchanging emails.
I went outside and looked up at the stars. I thought of how easy it is to talk to a stranger but sometimes, how hard it is to talk to a friend or family member. I thought of how long it had been since I had communicated with some of the people I care about, of the daily calls I make to my mother and how sometimes she remembers I visited her a couple of weeks ago, sometimes she does not. I thought of several people with whom I have not spoken in several weeks or longer. My mind made an uncomfortable trip to last summer when a long time friend committed suicide and how I had tried to call him, leaving messages on his voice mail two weeks prior. I thought of calling my first long time relationship to tell him our mutual friend I had died. I had not spoken to him at all since the day he had left to return to Japan and now, he was hearing my voice for the first time in 23 years to tell him our friend was dead and how.
So going the long away around as usual, the prompt for the haibun is communication or lack of it. Write a haibun about the last time you communicated with someone or put off communicating or some communicated with you to share the birth of a child, loss of job, newly diagnosed illness. Or a time of uncomfortable silence. I wrote a poem for the Tuesday Poetics prompt on trains: traveling in a commuter train and one morning seeing a man lying on a bench at an abandoned train platform and over the course of a few days, seeing snow pile up on the man as we traveled past; how we become trapped in our routines, how we become numbed, how we live in our routines and stop seeing, caring, speaking. My husband and I went to dinner tonight. One table across from us, the mom, dad, two teens were silent. Texting, playing games, whatever. All immersed in their electronics and silence, mindlessly eating. At another table were mom, dad, three kids, a grandparent – all were laughing, talking, sharing.
An odd prompt for sure. Write a one to three paragraph haibun – tight, poetic paragraphs ending with one haiku about silence among ourselves, loneliness, the last time you had a conversation that changed you in some way, some news you had to share, a silence you needed to break, a happy reconnection. If you write something fictional, please make a note to that effect. For further inspiration google the lyrics to Dangling Conversation by Simon and Garfunkle; below is an excerpt:
“It’s a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like waves upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar…”
Since communication is what this is all about, please don’t just link your haibun. Read and comment on the other links, especially those people who took the time to read and comment on your link.
– Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and add your name and direct link to your haibun (not just your blog site).
– Leave a comment on the linked haibun and….join in the fun and get in on the discussion below.
– Spend time reading and commenting on the work of the pubsters. Remember: check back during the week for work submitted after today. Mr. Linky is up for the week for this prompt.