Step by Step

Thank you so much to those people who offered me positive feedback on my struggles with writing last week’s prompt.   It’s really gratifying to know you are enjoying the prompts.   That inspires me to figure out a way to overcome the problems I was having writing them.

Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places.   The other night I was channel surfing on TV and happened to land on a subtitled version of the film, Monkey King 2*  just as the Buddhist monk Tripitaka spoke to his companion, Monkey King –

“You don’t find the path, you make it step by step,”  I read.

The words made me think that perhaps I could make a new path into these prompts by creating  a structure I can sustain even when I’m busy or pre-occupied by my personal life.

I’ve come up with the idea that each week I will post prompts that feature haiku written by the masters  together with an image – either one of my photos or a digital image I have created.  I hope this style of prompt captures your imagination and inspires you to create haiku, tanka, haibun and haiga.


Once I calmed down and got over my melt down I had to admit that I had presented myself in a rather melodramatic and self-pitying way last week.    Going back and reading some Basho I discovered that, of course, he’d written of similar feelings far more eloquently that I ever could –

My straw hat was worn out by rain on the way, and my robe too was crumpled up through the storms I had met here and there. My appearance was so extremely shabby that even I myself felt a little sad. It just occurred to me that many years ago a gifted comicverse writer had traveled in this province. Thereupon I too composed a comic haiku:

In the wintry gust
I wander, like Chikusai
the comic poet.
 – from “Matsuo Bashō: The Poetic Spirit, Sabi, and Lightness,” by Makoto Uedo

Feeling extremely shabby and just a little sad I offer this prompt.   I hope it inspires you in your creative explorations of haiku and related forms.   As always, there is no time limit on this prompt.  When you are ready please post a link to your work in the comment section below so that others can read your work.   Thank you once again for your support and patience as I figured out where I was going with these prompts.

prompt:   “You don’t find the path, you make it step by step,” from Monkey King 2


In the wintry gust
I wander, like Chikusai
the comic poet.
Matsuo Basho

                                             winter wanderer (detail from one of my mixed media paintings)

*  The 2016 Hong Kong-Chinese film Monkey King 2 is a fantasy film based on the classic Chinese novel, Journey to the West by Wu Gheng-en.  This novel is in turn a fantasy based on the true story of Xuan Zang, the 7th century Buddhist monk who made from a perilous journey from China to India to recover lost Buddhist scriptures.  In the novel and film Xuan Zang is called Tripitaka.

















–  The Monkey King 2 is a 2016 Hong Kong-Chinese fantasy film based on the classic novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en.

23 thoughts on “Step by Step

  1. Pingback: Haibun: Journey In Time –

  2. ‘Making the path’ it’s amazing how just changing the verb can refresh perspective. Your solution for prompting that can fit into the tumult of life sounds excellent… it feels like you have such a familiarity with the literature that this approach will be easier. Thank you Suzanne.


    • It’s not that I’m familiar with the literature. These prompts are a voyage of discovery for me. I have downloaded a lot of PDFs and articles about haiku. One thing leads to another. I read something or read of someone like Kikusha-Ni and I’m off following the scent . Each week I read bits of what I’ve downloaded. Usually some theme emerges from my reading and I go from there. My meltdown really came from over thinking it all and second guessing myself. I’m learning these prompts (and often my responses) suggest themselves if I remain open. We’re all on this road together 🙂


      • Well you have made some close connections between personal experiences, haiku, haibun and quotes…a synchronistic, intuitive process that is working very well…a zone—perhaps like what you mentioned in another comment.


  3. Pingback: Still (more questions) | method two madness

  4. Pingback: wandering – Ontheland

  5. Hi Suzanne…this prompt once again brought up many scribbled thoughts but the image that stuck was of my learning a more intuitive approach to vegetable gardening. I am enjoying no deadline but am interested to notice that my awareness of another prompt coming out nudges me (in a helpful way) towards closure.


    • That’s interesting Janice. Like you I am slightly obsessed with vegie growing at present. Making good compost is proving to a very rewarding occupation 🙂 – who knew!
      I like what you say about the prompts and timing responses. It looks like this site might work after all. There are still a few problems to iron out though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do a cold compost pile and just chuck everything then cover it with some soil or mulch. Every couple of weeks I go out and chomp all the bits into smaller pieces with a hoe. It seems to be working well. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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