May 15, 2022

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You are the answer
to problems the Universe
really wants to solve



- © Jenny Bienemann

Haiku your own Milieu!

Each week, we feature a Haiku from the Haiku Milieu community. 
Look around! Write a Haiku!
Submit it here!

T H I S   W E E K ' S   G U E S T   H A I K U: 
 

If you do it right
happiness will pursue you
it’s weird but It works

 - Pearl Swiggum

CLICK HERE for Last Week's Sunday Haiku Milieu Email!

Before anything

did or did not go as planned
you just were yourself

 

And afterwards, when

you got or did not get what 

you had hoped you would

 

you were still there; but

now with an experience 

you think defines you

 

Have enough of these

and you can start to lose track

of just who you are

 

am I the result

of the responses I get

to the things I do;

 

or, is who I am

valuable no matter what

the response may be?

 

when you find yourself

in the dark rooms of your mind

wandering, know this:

 

darkness is a gift

that lets you see for yourself

just how bright you are

 

you must face the fact

you’ve outgrown the tiny space

you let yourself have

 

still proving yourself

on the steepest of ladders

one rung at a time

 

as if someone else

could give you what only you 

can give to yourself
 

you never needed

to prove your right to exist

you just forgot that

 

next time you forget

go back into the darkness

and retrieve your light

Tuesday’s are special at FitzGerald’s!

Come see Jenny & Robin LIVE at Jimmy Bean's Cafe!  You will LOVE this cozy new cabaret space!  Plus it is Robin's last Chicago appearance before he goes to Kerrville as a finalist
in the 2022 New Folk songwriting finals.

We will let you know the new date for Haiku After Dark just as soon as we do!

Haiku Milieu books, audiobooks, soundtracks, and more at haikumilieu.com.  
Jenny Bienemann music, Collaboration Blog, Jenny & Robin gigs and more at jennybienemann.com
Subscribe to the Haiku Milieu YouTube channel, here.
Follow Jenny Bienemann on Spotify, here.
Want to treat Jenny to a cup of coffee? Thanks! Go here


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May 8, 2022

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bless all the mothers
who give what they weren’t given
and keep on giving


- © Jenny Bienemann

Haiku your own Milieu!

Each week, we feature a Haiku from the Haiku Milieu community. 
Look around! Write a Haiku!
Submit it here!

T H I S   W E E K ' S   G U E S T   H A I K U: 
 

Intimate whispers
Shoulders pressed urgently
Secret spy stories

 - Darlene Sumida wrote the poem
inspired by Jenny's photo from last week

CLICK HERE for Last Week's Sunday Haiku Milieu Email!

There she is, my mom. Isn't she lovely?  She doesn’t want me to tell you how old she is.  She tells me she reads this, but I have my doubts.  I bet I could get away with it.  Still, out of an abundance of caution and even more love, I won't.
 
What IS important for me to tell you about this mom of mine is that her name is Loretta Anna Carla Marie Therese Lind McCarthy.  She was an only child, raised during the Great Depression by her mother, my grandmother Constance (Connie) who I never met, a widow who lost her young husband, and ran her own hairdressing business. 

Because of the business, they got through the depression.  Connie was able to have a credit card, get a business loan, and buy my great-grandfather's house off Fullerton near the end of the streetcar line, where he would live with them through the end of his life.  They kept chickens that hatched from colored chicks my mom got for Easter.  One time my mom brought a pet rabbit home, and my grandmother's much-younger brother Roman, the "spoiled one," was too rough with it. What happened to the rabbit and what didn't happen to the uncle is a story for another time.

Sometimes my mom will reflect on how truly poor people were in the Great Depression. Credit cards were not available, there wasn't junk food the way there is today, and it was much more than possible that great swaths of our population went to bed hungry.  

Back then, whole families would knock on the door asking for something to eat.  My grandmother would invite them on the porch and give them a bit of whatever she could spare.

Connie never remarried, though my mom will admit that in her heart she hoped that her mom and my dad‘s dad, Thomas McCarthy Sr., who had also become a widower when his kids were young, would get married.  Or at least find solace in each others company. 

They both passed before I arrived on the scene. I know that they did not marry, and whether or not they enjoyed each other's company, they both most definitely adored my older sister and my brother.  And by and large, my parent's life at that point, was perfect. 

Except for one thing: my mom was determined to have more children.  And once she had me, her desire for one more intensified.  She was determined that I, who was four and a half years younger than my brother, would not be an "only" child as she had been.  Lori McCarthy is the original person who set out to give her children something she never had: siblings.  

My mom would tell you she was robbed of the chance to have as many kids as she wanted (she had four but would have preferred six) due to O negative blood and Rh incompatibility, which is now easily addressed.  

In fact, during my mom's last pregnancy there were all kinds of dire predictions: the child, who was expected to be a boy, would be gravely ill and would need a blood transfusion at birth, if he was even born alive.

With the priest on call and my nervous father pacing outside the delivery room, my little sister upended expectations -- as she would continue to do throughout her life -- first, by being a girl; second, by being hale and hearty; and third, by being endowed with the most adorable Irish button nose.  Turns out that She of the Cute Countenance had O negative blood which had created no incompatibility! 

Despite these incontrovertible facts of science, the maiden aunts of our neighbors down the block hailed her healthy birth as a miracle, and the direct result of their prayers. Seizing the moment, the good doctor prudently suggested the family not be greedy with miracles, and my mom agreed to not try for any more children.  

So now the family was complete: my older sister is six years older than me, my brother is four and a half years older than me, and my little sister is eighteen months younger than me. 

The desire to give your children better than you received is beautiful; the endeavor to get what you think they need, ennobling; and the experience of knowing you did it is cathartic.

In my own life, I set out to give my children what I felt I never had.  As a matter of fact, I don’t know anyone who didn’t try to give their kids what they wished they had received.  

As a parent, out of shoelaces and chewing gum you cobble together a rope bridge across the yawning chasm from what you wish you had to what your children will have, or at least will have a chance to have, relieved and exhausted that you made it to the other side. 

Yet they will inevitably, at some point, wish you had done it better.  And very likely, you will too.

And you know what?  THAT'S the miracle. 

The wish that it could have been done better, and the belief that it CAN be done better, is what brings new worlds into existence.

The gap between the best we could do and the best they can do from where you got them to, is what catapults us forward.

So this Mother’s Day, we celebrate what so many mothers went through to change their children’s worlds for the better.

For the children of those mothers -- whether or not their mom did their best, didn't try at all, or did what they could -- who will grow up and then go on to make it different for their children, this Mother's Day, let's celebrate them too.  Happy Mother's Day to The Mothers That Will Be.

And whether you are an actual mother to human children or not...we are all the mothers of our own experience.

And every single time you try to make something better for someone else than it was for you...

You are being a really exceptional parent.

Happy Mother's Day.

Experience Bob Dylan’s songs in the hands of musicians who treat It like a sacrament! 

Come see Jenny & Robin LIVE at Jimmy Bean's Cafe!  You will LOVE this cozy new cabaret space!  Plus it is Robin's last Chicago appearance before he goes to Kerrville as a finalist
in the 2022 New Folk songwriting finals.

We will let you know the new date for Haiku After Dark just as soon as we do!

Haiku Milieu books, audiobooks, soundtracks, and more at haikumilieu.com.  
Jenny Bienemann music, Collaboration Blog, Jenny & Robin gigs and more at jennybienemann.com
Subscribe to the Haiku Milieu YouTube channel, here.
Follow Jenny Bienemann on Spotify, here.
Want to treat Jenny to a cup of coffee? Thanks! Go here


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May 1, 2022

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A good idea
almost always has a friend
you should really meet 



- © Jenny Bienemann

Haiku your own Milieu!

Each week, we feature a Haiku from the Haiku Milieu community. 
Look around! Write a Haiku!
Submit it here!

T H I S   W E E K ' S   G U E S T   H A I K U: 
 

Hug me, rest your eyes
Do you remember the times? 
Memories rest in peace now

Eliza Hines  

 

CLICK HERE for Last Week's Sunday Haiku Milieu Email!

If you're in the neighborhood, I'd love to see you in Naperville for the Haiku Milieu Volume 2 book signing today at 2:00 pm today!


Fun week!  Fun couple of weeks, actually, with Easter and a college reunion.  Even so, the most fun thing I do all week is put together this Sunday Haiku Milieu email.

So imagine this morning, when I realized I hadn't, gulp, posted *anything* haiku related all week, I thought...rut roh!  Best get to finishing some of these half started ideas...for the email. The email! 

But really? That's just the reason I gave myself to do what I wanted to do anyway.

When the day is done, most artists would tell you that.  A deadline helps, but they create because it makes them feel more like themselves.

Some, like me, might go so far as to say they do it because it is the best way for them to feel life, God, the Universe, whatever you want to call it, move through them. 

Even so -- and especially when there are intense demands on our time -- things that make us feel like ourselves get pushed to the back burner.  We can come to feel that we only have time to do things that HAVE to get done.

We get tricked into thinking that doing what makes us US doesn't matter as much as mattering to others, and begin to crave the fulfillment that comes from meeting the expectations of others, rather than the whispers of our inner longings. 

Or at least, I do.

I read somewhere the difference between the soul and the ego is that the soul loves doing and the ego loves to check things off a list.

This became:

the soul loves doing
the ego loves to be done
i just want to rest

HA! 

I feel like I gave myself a rest from my and everyone else's expectations this past week. 

Now, there's a new hazard, perfectionism.  In its many guises: Trying To Get It Right.  Writing A Good Haiku.  Taking A Really Evocative Photo.  Drawing Something That Looks Like Something. 

I hesitate to tell you how many iterations each published image/haiku goes through, and I don't even consider myself a perfectionist! 

Friends keep reminding me, "don't let perfect be the enemy of good." In that spirit, The Week in Review is as far as I got this week: some words, some images, and only one image/haiku waking in each other's arms after a passionate, if restful, night together. 

In the process, here's what I learned:

good enough is all
perfect was trying to be
the whole entire time

WHAT?!?  I know!!

All that said, there is a lot of stuff we have to do in the merry month of May.  And about the only thing I can "control" is how I feel when I'm doing it.

So, I am starting up the 6:30 am, 20-minute, free will CREATE and BUILD meditations Sunday - Friday via Zoom.  10-minutes each, on a daily basis, to give myself a shot at being in the driver's seat of these endeavors. 

Here's more information.  I hope you'll join us!

Haiku Milieu books, audiobooks, soundtracks, and more at haikumilieu.com.  
Jenny Bienemann music, Collaboration Blog, Jenny & Robin gigs and more at jennybienemann.com
Subscribe to the Haiku Milieu YouTube channel, here.
Follow Jenny Bienemann on Spotify, here.
Want to treat Jenny to a cup of coffee? Thanks! Go here


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April 24, 2022

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You don’t have to know
how you’ll ever get it done
to get it started



- © Jenny Bienemann

Haiku your own Milieu!

Each week, we feature a Haiku from the Haiku Milieu community. 
Look around! Write a Haiku!
Submit it here!

T H I S   W E E K ' S   G U E S T   H A I K U: 
 

this unbroken chain
reaches back from memory
and binds us in the now

Laurie Flanigan Hegge 

 

CLICK HERE for Last Week's Sunday Haiku Milieu Email!

You only get one group of THOSE college friends.

You know the ones I mean.  In our case, we spent from 9 am - 1 pm together, and then depending on what shows we were working on, we were together from 7 pm - 11:00 pm.  Then of course, going across the street for Irish nachos and drinks until 1 am.  We were inseparable, less by choice than circumstance, and it was wonderful. And sometimes, terrible!  But mostly, even at the time and most definitely in retrospect, wonderful.

We had a reunion at the 20-year mark. Then in 2021, we lost one of our number to Covid.  Though we could not get together at the 30-year date, we were determined to gather this year.  The house was rented. The airline tickets were purchased.  The die was cast.

I, who live locally and work near the airport, volunteered to pick up the latest of our out of town arrivals.  My plan was to drop them off, administer and receive the long-yearned-for hugs, then go to my own home and sleep in my own bed, a commuter, rather than a resident, at this reunion.

Then I walked in.

There were photos, dark chocolate, laughter, windows open to the night air.  I, who go to sleep much earlier now than I did in those days and had worked a full day before my airport shuttle duties and its thirty orbits around Terminal 3, was exhilarated instead of exhausted.  Against all reason, I was wide awake as the clock stuck midnight when my friends said..."Jenny, you could sleep on the couch..."

And as you know...couches and I have a special relationship.  I stayed.

My sister and her friends had a maxim in college: it's not part of your wardrobe until you've slept in it. Well, by the next morning, the wardrobe officially welcomed the dress I'd gone to work in the day before.  And as I shuffled from the couch to the kitchen for a generous pout of morning coffee, my friend Sarah said I was "sliding towards home," a loving reframe of what back in college we would have called "the walk of shame," immortalized in this photo.

Over the course of the weekend, we got through it all: Love. Loss. What We Didn't Know. What We Now Know.  What We Thought We Knew.  What We Will Never Understand.  Why It Took Us So Long To Get Together From The Last Time. 

And most of all - gratitude that somehow or other, we have forgiven ourselves and one another enough that we can be with each other as we are now, unburdened by who we were then.

Haiku Milieu books, audiobooks, soundtracks, and more at haikumilieu.com.  
Jenny Bienemann music, Collaboration Blog, Jenny & Robin gigs and more at jennybienemann.com
Subscribe to the Haiku Milieu YouTube channel, here.
Follow Jenny Bienemann on Spotify, here.
Want to treat Jenny to a cup of coffee? Thanks! Go here


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April 17, 2022

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May we know ourselves
as the blessings that we are
to those around us


- © Jenny Bienemann

Haiku your own Milieu!

Each week, we feature a Haiku from the Haiku Milieu community. 
Look around! Write a Haiku!
Submit it here!

T H I S   W E E K ' S   G U E S T   H A I K U:
 

I need to unplug
A break, hiatus, respite
you get what I mean?

- Michael D. Johnson 

 

CLICK HERE for Last Week's Sunday Haiku Milieu Email!

Haiku Milieu books, audiobooks, soundtracks, and more at haikumilieu.com.  
Jenny Bienemann music, Collaboration Blog, Jenny & Robin gigs and more at jennybienemann.com
Subscribe to the Haiku Milieu YouTube channel, here.
Follow Jenny Bienemann on Spotify, here.
Want to treat Jenny to a cup of coffee? Thanks! Go here


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April 17, 2022

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Decide how it ends
then all you have to do is
enjoy the journey



- © Jenny Bienemann

Haiku your own Milieu!

Each week, we feature a Haiku from the Haiku Milieu community. 
Look around! Write a Haiku!
Submit it here!

T H I S   W E E K ' S   G U E S T   H A I K U:
 

So good to be back
weed scented air, the sirens
that couple still arguing

- Kate FitzGerald

 

CLICK HERE for Last Week's Sunday Haiku Milieu Email!

Haiku Milieu books, audiobooks, soundtracks, and more at haikumilieu.com.  
Jenny Bienemann music, Collaboration Blog, Jenny & Robin gigs and more at jennybienemann.com
Subscribe to the Haiku Milieu YouTube channel, here.
Follow Jenny Bienemann on Spotify, here.
Want to treat Jenny to a cup of coffee? Thanks! Go here


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It does not matter
if what you create is good
just that you create



- © Jenny Bienemann

Haiku your own Milieu!

Each week, we feature a Haiku from the Haiku Milieu community. 
Look around! Write a Haiku!
Submit it here!

T H I S   W E E K ' S   G U E S T   H A I K U:
 

A collection of haiku inspired by this photograph:

 

CLICK HERE for Last Week's Sunday Haiku Milieu Email!

Robin and me with my college roommate, and my daughter's (fairy) Godmother Jane.

Every year, we celebrate "FriendsMass," Christmas with my friends from college.  It is a moment of sanity in what is typically an insane season.  

Due to Covid, we missed the last two years, and finally got together this weekend. Between the now and the last time we were together, our beloved friend's kids did what kids do: got tall, got great, and got more grown up than we anticipated.  Speaking for this delighted adult, I have great hope for the world with these young people in it.

Whenever we have the luxury of time with our friends from college or otherwise, we always seem to wind up writing something.  Most of the time, they protest and must be cajoled, at least initially, to participate.  Not so with this group!  We try to get together over a long weekend each Summer, and the last time I called everyone back inside from the forest saying, "It's time to write haiku," the youngest member of our party said, "Hooray!"

So, gathering on the North side of the City, when my friend Jane shared a glorious photo of the shadow of a tree cast over her house, members of our party were ready to go.  And for the first time, the Haiku Your Milieu section has a collection of poems written in the same place, at the same time, and about the same image. 

I won't tell you who's related to who, or the ages of the haiku writers.  The haiku are remarkable on their own, but taken as a group they show how people can look at the exact same thing in the exact same place and still see it completely differently.

I believe in creativity for its own sake.  But if I didn't, I'd like to think I'd be won over by the beautiful way that writing something (or drawing, or building something, etc.) even when it is not done in collaboration with others, but individually in the company of others doing the same thing, strengthens each person's sense of self and allows them to be seen and known more fully by others.

Try it yourself and see.  And if you try this at a gathering on your own, let me know how it goes.  If you'd like to share what you've written, I'll be delighted!

Haiku Milieu books, audiobooks, soundtracks, and more at haikumilieu.com.  
Jenny Bienemann music, Collaboration Blog, Jenny & Robin gigs and more at jennybienemann.com
Subscribe to the Haiku Milieu YouTube channel, here.
Follow Jenny Bienemann on Spotify, here.
Want to treat Jenny to a cup of coffee? Thanks! Go here


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Dreams are steppingstones
their job is not to come true
but to mark the path



- © Jenny Bienemann

Haiku your own Milieu!

Each week, we feature a Haiku from the Haiku Milieu community. 
Look around! Write a Haiku!
Submit it here!

T H I S   W E E K ' S   G U E S T   H A I K U:
 

Now I do know
All this that I did not know
Thanks to you my friend


- Joel Simpson  

CLICK HERE for Last Week's Sunday Haiku Milieu Email!

So many rituals from when I was a little girl.
 
As you know, I used to wake up in the middle of the night and go downstairs.  Once I was through opening the pantry door to see how my day would go, I headed to the kitchen to see if there was any ice cream left. 

Often, there wasn’t, but when there was, I might even find a spoon abandoned by a fellow ice cream thief, most commonly a sibling but sometimes left by the master thief himself, aka “The Mouse,” my Dad, who was as eager as his children to indulge in the frozen fruit of the udder and twice as eager to not get caught.  If it turned out there was a spoon in the carton of Neapolitan, that was good news, as the silverware drawer required jiggling to open, and I didn’t like to risk making a lot of noise for fear of waking the family.
 
If there was no ice cream, I would turn to the old standby of the pickle sandwich: two pieces of white bread, Miracle Whip, and Claussen dill pickles.  Unlike ice cream, those three items were plentiful in my house and no one would miss them; plus there was almost always a knife in the sink that simply needed to be rinsed off.  No clanging of silverware bells!
 
After my midnight snack, inspired by the English folktales I devoured, I imagined myself a Brownie, one of the industrious tribes of little fairies who clean and do housework in the middle of the night.  Not only would I clean up after myself, I would clean the kitchen or do other little chores that I knew would make my Mom happy. 

And then in the morning, I would casually mention to her, “Did you notice how clean the kitchen was this morning?  The Brownies must have done it!”
 
“Oh yes,” she’d say, “They did a very wonderful job.”  "You know," I'd say, "Brownies like it when you leave treats out for them."  And guess what started to happen?  A graham cracker one day, a cookie the next, a note the day after that.
 
One day I got an idea. I said “Mom, I think it's the Brownie’s birthday tomorrow!”
 
And when I woke up in the middle of the night, performed my pantry ritual and went into the kitchen, there was a saltine with the frosting we used to write on cakes.  My Mom had written Happy Birthday to the brownie!
 
A week or two later, I had the idea to try it again.  I said, “Mom, I think I heard it’s the Brownie’s birthday tomorrow.”  I recall only mild protestations that the Brownie just had a birthday.  “Oh, it’s a different one,” I said confidently. 

And that evening, again, there was a saltine with cake icing on it, saying “Happy Birthday.”  I tried it a third time, but my Mom forgot to leave out a treat and I lost interest.
 
The Haiku Milieu celebration in May 2019 that launched what would become a series of songwriting concerts began in a similar way.  I asked friends to write songs to celebrate the release of the first volume of Haiku Milieu. Upon meeting that challenge, we all thought we were done.  But then I had the idea to ask again. And like my mom, my friends keep saying YES.
 
Only this time, for the Haiku Milieu After Dark show on Friday, May 27 at FitzGerald's Sidebar, it was my friends who had the idea. Andon Davis and Chris Neville came up to me in the back room of the Outtaspace as I was packing up, getting ready to leave after this past November's Haiku Milieu show.
 
They came in eager as the breath of Spring saying, “Don’t say no, don’t say no, just hear us out!"  And they proceeded to outline an idea for a concert: Haiku After Dark, or Haiku for adults or even simpler - Sexy Haiku songs. But time and life got in the the way of things when I tried to schedule the artists and the venue. I was just about to let it go when Chris reminded me, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good."

In that spirit, I confirmed the venue and the artists.  And then, I set my inner compass for Haiku After Dark.  You can see what's been coming to me to share in word and ink in the Week in Review section above.
 
What I am realizing is, while there is some satisfaction in completing a task, the greater satisfaction comes from having an idea, dandling it between your fingers like the satin lining of a beloved childhood blanket, and then bringing it into your grown up life.   That is where the joy, the growth, the real pleasure in living lies.  We idolize being done, or getting it done, or having it done, when really what brings us to life is having ideas, putting them in motion, and seeing them through.
 
I hope you'll join us for music and friendship SOON.  See below for upcoming dates - and hope to see you at Haiku After Dark.

Haiku Milieu books, audiobooks, soundtracks, and more at haikumilieu.com.  
Jenny Bienemann music, Collaboration Blog, Jenny & Robin gigs and more at jennybienemann.com
Subscribe to the Haiku Milieu YouTube channel, here.
Follow Jenny Bienemann on Spotify, here.
Want to treat Jenny to a cup of coffee? Thanks! Go here


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If there were no you
the sun would refuse to shine
until you were born



- © Jenny Bienemann

Haiku your own Milieu!

Each week, we feature a Haiku from the Haiku Milieu community. 
Look around! Write a Haiku!
Submit it here!

T H I S   W E E K ' S   G U E S T   H A I K U:

Our guest Haiku: 

Little birds Chirping
Outside my window: they say
Wake up!  Day’s begun!


- Jim Basten 

CLICK HERE for Last Week's Sunday Haiku Milieu Email!

Haiku Milieu books, audiobooks, soundtracks, and more at haikumilieu.com.  
Jenny Bienemann music, Collaboration Blog, Jenny & Robin gigs and more at jennybienemann.com
Subscribe to the Haiku Milieu YouTube channel, here.
Follow Jenny Bienemann on Spotify, here.
Want to treat Jenny to a cup of coffee? Thanks! Go here


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we are together
no matter how far apart
it feels like we are



- © Jenny Bienemann

Haiku your own Milieu!

Each week, we feature a Haiku from the Haiku Milieu community. 
Look around! Write a Haiku!
Submit it here!

T H I S   W E E K ' S   G U E S T   H A I K U:

Our guest Haiku: 

It’s harder for me
things that seem easy to you
so please, be patient


- Michael D. Johnson 

CLICK HERE for Last Week's Sunday Haiku Milieu Email!

When I was little, I really wanted to know how things would turn out.

My mom still lives in the mid-century, split-level house I grew up in. You'd walk in the front door, have the living room on the immediate right, and the kitchen straight ahead. On the left hand side, there was a short set of stairs up, and then, walking towards the kitchen, a short set of stairs down.

In perfect alignment with these stairs were two closets. The first one, the one closest to the front door, was for our winter coats, which could be hastily withdrawn from the closet and tossed into one of the bedrooms with the door firmly shut behind them when company came. The second closet in the hallway between the coat closet and the kitchen, directly in front of the stairs going down, was the pantry.

I was always up in the middle of the night. Sometimes I was rubbing the legs of my sleeper under the bedcovers to watch the sparks, sometimes I took off my sleeper entirely because it was too hot, sometimes I crept into my parent's bedroom to sleep in their much more comfortable bed, getting sent back to my own with a stern, if sleepy, "Jennifer. GET in your OWN. BED!"

And sometimes, I would get up for a midnight snack.  I was terrified of opening the pantry door too loudly and waking everyone up.  I took opening the pantry door very seriously and would go very, very slowly.

After opening the door to the pantry many, many times in the middle of the night, I came to understand certain things.  If, for instance, the pantry door opened and closed smoothly without making any noise, it was going to be a good day.  

But if it creaked, that meant things that day were going to get difficult. if it creaked on the way open, I would know to expect things to get rough before noon.  If it creaked as I was closing the door, I'd know to expect difficulty in the second half of the day.  

I mentioned this to my family over dinner one time. How I had known that something was going to go wrong, because the pantry door told me.

I remember that as I said it, the eating stopped (rare in my family), the eyebrows drew together (not uncommon), and heads began shaking (a common occurrence.) Mostly though, I remember that my Dad said, "Jenny, I'm going to oil those goddamn hinges." Ha!

Fast forward.  Now I am an adult.  My friend and her two beautiful daughters came to stay with us in Door County.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and the girls and I lay down to take a nap after lunch and give their mom a little time off. It was a blissful nap.

When we woke up one of the girls said "I dreamed I was a famous singer," and the other girl said  "I dreamed about time travel," and the first sister said "Can you go to the future and see if my dream comes true?"  Kid, I thought to myself, wouldn't that be something.

Fast forward to today.  Maybe we all have our own secret forms of divination, our own Oracle of the Pantry Door, like when you keep seeing the digits of your birthday on the clock or they keep turning up on your receipts.  Maybe we never truly outgrow the desire to know how things will go. 

But if you live long enough, you'll almost certainly have moments where you're thrilled that you got what you got and not what you thought you wanted. Moments that you thank your lucky stars that you couldn't have known how things would turn out.  I know I have, more than I can count.

So these days, if I catch myself wondering how different things might be if I had known then what I know now, I just think...

if you told me then
things would be like they are now
I'd still be amazed

Haiku Milieu books, audiobooks, soundtracks, and more at haikumilieu.com.  
Jenny Bienemann music, Collaboration Blog, Jenny & Robin gigs and more at jennybienemann.com
Subscribe to the Haiku Milieu YouTube channel, here.
Follow Jenny Bienemann on Spotify, here.
Want to treat Jenny to a cup of coffee? Thanks! Go here


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you are more precious
than you allow yourself to
even contemplate




- © Jenny Bienemann

Haiku your own Milieu!

Each week, we feature a Haiku from the Haiku Milieu community. 
Look around! Write a Haiku!
Submit it here!

T H I S   W E E K ' S   G U E S T   H A I K U:

Our guest Haiku: 

I want to go home
it's not a place but a time
somewhere in the past


- Jason McKay

CLICK HERE for Last Week's Sunday Haiku Milieu Email!

TAKE A LOOK A THE DRAWINGS ABOVE BEFORE READING...enjoy!

So, it was quite a week at the day job. 

You know, the day job, the place that gives us so many things in addition the means of keeping the roof over our heads: new friends! A sense of purpose! Meaningful endeavors that connect you to the larger world!  With the added advantage of unlimited access to source material for songs, haiku and artwork, and all for the one low price of...the entirety of your time, attention, and patience - not to mention physical endurance - during project season.

So let’s say last week was the seventh of a six week sprint of 14 hour work days. I don’t say this to elicit your sympathy, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about.  I’m telling you merely so we have a starting point for this story.

The job was done, but we still had another week or so of 12 hour days putting the project to bed.  Except now that it was over, you're running on fumes.

Weary after yet another video meeting, this one rallying the troops for the next big project with no pause for breath from the last one, I felt very far from the process of creation, and even farther from creating anything but more "work product."  

I felt like I was losing myself.

The difference this time was, I could see the choices before me: I could either give myself a moment of creation, or a downward spiral into despair.  Making something would take more effort in the moment, but swirling into despair would take days to recover from. 

So, I pulled up my big girl pants...and followed the advice I have shared in my "Bringing Your Songs to Life" workshops:

USE WHAT IS AT HAND.
I got a piece of copy paper with printing on one side from the recycling pile.  I folded it in eighths, and placed it on a stack of other papers.  Then I picked up an ordinary pen from my desk.

MAKE SOMETHING.
I stood up, laid pen to page, and made nine different vignettes. I photographed the page, and used a filter to make the nuances of the lines more available to my imagination.

ENJOY WHAT YOU MAKE.
I found one image compelling, and began to think about how it made me feel, letting it intensify.  Memories, emotions, ideas began to flow.

LET IT BE
Then, I turned my attention to the things at work that had to be done, things that I now had energy to do, because I had given myself a moment to create. 

Maybe it took all of five minutes, but you know what? 

It worked. 

If you feel like it, let me know what works for you.

Aaron Mitchell's song, "Every Shooting Star," from the 2021 Local Honey Haiku Milieu show.

ENJOY THE VIDEO - THEN READ AARON’S BLOG.

If time is the first barrier to creation, the second is the fear of mistakes.

Today’s blog and the power of mistakes is the next logical step in our conversation about creativity.


My friend Aaron Mitchell is a painter, singer, songwriter, band leader, dad, and business owner.  His life's work is creating space for the creative process.  He founded and runs a creative arts incubator, The Outtaspace.

During one of the many wonderful concerts Robin and I have attended there over the years, Aaron and I struck up a conversation about how the mistakes sometimes become the thing that “makes” the work of art, and what a gift it is to be creative at all.

As I write this, it is Aaron's birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY dear Aaron!  Everyone else, get over to The Outtaspace and be inspired.

The Magic of Mistakes
Aaron Mitchell, Founder/Owner, The Outtaspace


I had a great conversation with a highly talented friend one night about creation. The best part of the conversation was that we talked about the process of creating. The ups and downs, the twists and turns and ultimately the overarching beauty of it all. 


I mentioned I had hesitancy about a live video recorded of a musical performance  I  did that was to be released for a virtual show. It was a new song and I had forgotten a lyric. Luckily I was able to recoup and finish the performance. I talked about how I thought I could have re-recorded a better version and potentially produced a nice visual to go along with it. Although eventually that's what I will do I decided to let the original performance be used and felt good about it. The reason I felt good about it was because when I watched it I felt that it was very real, raw and fresh. But what I loved most about it was the moment of vulnerability that presented itself to an audience. And what was even better than that was the support I received from the audience. We shared a moment and through that moment we connected. 


ANYONE who ever created ANYTHING knows one thing and there's no way around it—-There will be mistakes!  We try our best to take all the steps to avoid those mistakes, especially in the public eye. We practice, we work through ideas and we take the leap to share. However, as humans we still can't help but make mistakes.


Creators also know it's close to impossible to create without grappling with growing pains, blocks, hurdles, missteps and/or mistakes somewhere along the way.  Just like in life mistakes are inevitable, what's most important is the next step. Do you learn from the mistake? Do you grow? Does the mistake turn into something else? Maybe something magical? 


The minute the brush hits the canvas, the pen hits the paper, the fingers strum the guitar or the vocal hits the mic there's always a chance something might not work out as planned. The lost lyric, the missed cue, the shaky brush stroke or even worse; the spill, the butterflies, the trip, the slip; whatever it may be. There's always potential for mistakes. But there's also room for magic. 


Magic is the moment of mystery and the unexpected. I can vouch for mistakes I made while painting on canvas that ultimately changed the destiny of the painting and in turn led to a new idea and/or potentially better or more interesting outcome. I can vouch for the vulnerable moments that led to connection and I can vouch for the idea that nothing can be created without mistakes somewhere along the way. All creators yearn for the years of hard work to pay off, where mistakes are kept to a minimum. Admittedly I do work towards the same, however I have grown to understand, accept and acknowledge the potential of magic in mistakes.


CREATE. MAKE MISTAKES. CREATE. MAKE MAGIC

Haiku Milieu books, audiobooks, soundtracks, and more at haikumilieu.com.  
Jenny Bienemann music, Collaboration Blog, Jenny & Robin gigs and more at jennybienemann.com
Subscribe to the Haiku Milieu YouTube channel, here.
Follow Jenny Bienemann on Spotify, here.
Want to treat Jenny to a cup of coffee? Thanks! Go here


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