The book project that I have last written about here: Peculiar Speed of the 5-7-5s is now more or less completed, and a PDF eBook is being made available to interested readers on this site’s bookshelf.
As it turns out, it did not develop as initially planned, but nevertheless, developed well enough to encourage me to continue writing and perhaps produce sufficient materials for more books in the future. The Preface page I wrote for the book is posted below to shed some light on how the peculiar 5-7-5s finally came to be this way:
The first part of this book is a collection of three-line verses in 5-7-5 syllabic constructs, formally known as haiku or, less rigidly, senryu — terminologies that draw weight from their Japanese origins. Some of the senryu are extended into tanka (5-7-5-7-7 constructs) or haibun (5-7-5s embedded in longer free-form verses). I do not have any particular affinity to Japan or anything Japanese, except that in my childhood, because my nickname is Jun, some of my siblings and neighborhood friends were wont to needle me with the rhyming label Jun Jipun (Jun the Japanese) when they could not readily get what they want from me, or when they could not shake me off their backs sooner enough. No fault of cool Japan or the cooler Japanese at all.
My preference for writing in 5-7-5 syllabic patterns stems from the terse nature of the haiku as tightly measured poetry that packs both eloquence and lightness of being to deliver an image, a message, an emotion, a thought to the reader in an efficient manner. It is no less purposeful and meaningful than the longer forms of poetry, and if it wants to tell a story, it is just as effective as the shortest of flash fiction. It also gives a high degree of assurance that I complete a poem rather than leave it unfinished.
The rest of the poems in the second part of the book are mostly longer verses, born out of imaginings that I have always wanted to extend into colorful illustrations. After years of trying (since 2017, when I first started compiling and working on the collection), the initial plan of having an artist son or an artist daughter render the illustrations proved too slow as I kept on asking them to revise or redraw the illustrations, while they try their best to lead their busy lives in far away worlds. I figured as much that if I contracted with other artists, these artists might end up calling me Jun Jipun as well. So, I stopped development of the book until the generative artificial intelligence (AI) drawing tools could evolve enough these past two years to offer new ways of imagining images for the poems. The new tools allowed me to happily iterate on the illustrations for as many times as I want with nary a word of complaint nor hint of vexation from the AIs. I kept my peace and patience during the labor of illustrating, most of the time quietly spending hours to digitally edit the AI-generated images into composites and blends, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, alternately sacrificing or celebrating the universe, until I could feel better with the end result.
Thank you for your interest in this very personal endeavor of mine. If you find some connection or enjoyment reading through its pages, please consider leaving a review at its page https://sandstarsblog.com/product/peculiar-5-7-5s-other-imaginings/, and please consider recommending to your family and friends to get their own copies from the website’s bookshelf. To stay updated on my current and future projects, you can follow me on the sandstarsblog.com site.
Again, thank you.
9 Novermber 2023
As for my sins of not looking after this blog for the last four years, I can only say for now I’m sorry for the very long absence, I can’t promise to not be absent again. Hopefully, my subsequent posts can be more telling about my years of unblogging (or as the empire would say, decoupling), as much as these posts could remain creative and enduring, holding out amidst the din of a world that seems bent on getting edgier and edgier as time goes by.
20 November 2023