Haiku Your Dreams
I have started a new job working in the registrar’s office at Concordia University. The walk from my car to the building where I work takes about five minutes, and all I need to carry is a small backpack for my planner, my journal, and my lunch. It is impossible for me not to think about the scene in You’ve Got Mail, where Meg Ryan walks joyfully down the New York City streets while The Cranberries sing, “Oh my life, is changing every day…” I know I’m not in New York City, and I am not working in a bookstore. I know this. I’m in Ann Arbor, and I’m working on a college campus, and every morning the bells in the chapel that overlooks a small body of water ring as I walk into the building where I work.
I have my own office. I get to use Post-it notes and open file folders every day. I use multiple pens and highlighters to organize and point to information. I enter numbers without having to look at them because I use the keypad on the right of the keyboard. I make my own Excel spreadsheets. In a way it’s the job I’ve been training for since I was 5 years old.
At the top of the year I accidentally made a pattern on my Instagram grid. I understood this to be a VERY GOOD THING that pleases the social media aesthetic gods and was delighted because maybe, just maybe, the aesthetic gods would tell the algorithm gods about me. “Look,” the aesthetic gods would tell the algorithm gods, “She is TRYING,” and the algorithm gods would read my work and decide to bypass all their elusive and ever-changing rules. I would bring down the tyranny of algorithms with my pen alone!
To keep the pattern of the grid going, however, meant that I’d need to actually plan out my IG posts. “OK,” I thought because it was the top of the year and also my grid was pretty, “I can do this.”
Except I don’t want to do this.
I want to paint my nails and walk through a library without knowing what I’m looking for. I want to watch Hadley kick a soccer ball, and I want to watch Harper swim, and I want to hold a small notebook like I used to so I can jot down these moments instead of feeling assaulted by them.
I want to revise the manuscript of what I hope will be my third book. I can feel the story shuffling around inside of me, trying to make space.
I have never suffered imposter syndrome. It never occurred to me that I can’t write — it’s always been a matter of how I’ll do it. This job is giving me structure. It is giving me boundaries. It is not my vocation: I already have one. It is making it possible for me to do my vocation.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the last sentence in my book, Twirl. It is a question, and when I asked — pleaded — with L.L. Barkat to change it back to a statement, she said no. She told me it’s the people who are strong who ask the questions. “You have to trust me on this,” she said.
I don’t feel particularly strong, but I have accepted (and am embracing) that I will always be searching. I will always be figuring myself out.
I will always be asking, “What else?”
My walk into work is long (or short) enough to consider poetry, and lately, I’ve been thinking of one of Jacqueline Woodson’s haiku in Brown Girl Dreaming:
how to listen #3
What is your one dream,
my friend Maria asks me.
Your one wish come true?
– Jacqueline Woodson
Haiku is a breathing poem. It can be said (or read aloud) in the exhale, thus slowing your breathing down and hopefully calming and grounding you in the moment you need to be in. Each morning I think about my one dream for the day:
Let me feel springtime
I ask, and the wind pushes
me along – a mild hush.
And on the walk back to my car I think of one wish come true:
The cardinal’s red
pops against all this heavy
grey. I remember.
Each morning this week, ask yourself: What is your one dream? And at the end of each day, consider what your one wish come true is. Share a haiku (or two) with us
Browse writing prompts
I have been a fan of Callie Feyen’s writing for quite some time but I finished this book in almost one sitting. If you have ever been in 8th grade, fallen in love, had a best friend, or loved reading, you will love this book. As the mother of an 8th grader, my other genuine hope is that my son will one day have a teacher as gifted as Callie.