Half a Haibun 3: Behind the Scenes

Martini and some coins on a bar, photo by Leslie Reese
Photo by Leslie Reese

When Leslie shared her prose for our collaboration with me, I immediately wondered about the title ‘Naomi’. She piqued my curiosity further by hinting that it was a true story. Well, Leslie has now published an extended version, a charming vignette that welcomes the reader to an intimate bar with an interesting cast of characters. Get ready for some people watching as you nurse your beverage of choice…

Have you heard of haibun? Well, I’d never encountered haibun prior to becoming a blogger. Through blogging I’ve become acquainted with Mek, who shares her creative writing practice with readers at her blog, 10000 hours left. I love the way her writing makes me think about things in surprising ways. She has a gift for crafting succinct language that always contains more meanings than meets the eye. Mek asked if I would be interested in collaborating with her on half a haibun: I was to send her a 50-word prose piece about the internal life of a character and then she would write a haiku inspired from it. In this case, she wrote the haiku and then invited me to come up with two more 7-syllable lines, to make a tanka. Both haiku and tanka are Japanese poetry forms that adhere to specific patterns of syllables per line. Please visit this page on Mek’s blog to check out our finished piece. We would love to know what you think! What follows here, is the expanded version of the story behind the 50 words I shared with Mek.

Naomi’s Story
by Leslie Reese

A number of years ago I used to stop at a bar after work some nights. I imagined myself to be rather experienced and “writerly,” and, after paying for my drink with a ten- or twenty-dollar bill, would place the remaining money on the bar underneath my cigarette case and lighter while sipping, blowing smoke through my nose, and writing intently in my journal about the day’s events and people I’d encountered.

This particular afternoon, I was having the blues – a mood, I understood, that writers  experienced, frequently – and didn’t really want to be sociable. A woman came in and situated herself next to me and my accessories at the bar. I could sense that she was going to try and engage me, and I thought: I’m not in the mood, today, God. “So I see that you’re writing!” she said. I nodded my head…

via Half A Haibun: Naomi’s Story — Folklore & Literacy

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6 thoughts on “Half a Haibun 3: Behind the Scenes

  1. Hate it when that happens. My favorite is, “What are you reading?” I’ve tried to get better with these types of interactions because now I know that these people neither read or write, so they don’t understand the solitude required to do either.

    Also, so glad to see two bloggers I enjoy (separately) collaborating.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had someone overhear a discussion I was having with my tutor about my novel and she offered her advice on plot direction haha I really didn’t mind though. I usually enjoy talking to strangers- especially if it’s people I may not normally have engaged with- I find it often shifts ny perspective in someway, but even if that isn’t the case, I love the sense on connection/community that cones from it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I remember you telling me that. I don’t mind having a convo IF I’m not visibly engaged in something else. It might be because I’m so structured in my time, so if you start talking to me while I’m writing, the whole time I’m thinking sh– there goes the hour I spend writing 😐

        Liked by 1 person

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