muz·zle·flash·ing \ˈmə-zəl-fla-shiŋ\ verb - activity comprised of taking a photograph with one’s cell phone and composing a seventeen syllable haiku-like poetry response
I go everywhere with my phone and, like most everyone else’s phones these days, it has a fairly decent camera. I like to take quick photographs of the random things of life – from the usual and everyday to the ridiculous and inane. I don’t consider myself to be a photographer in any sense of the professional connotation that is attached to that term, but I do like to catalog the images that jump out at me throughout the day. I like to collect stuff, and cell phone photographs don’t have all the unpleasantries of physical clutter.
I am particularly fond of the concept that some in the literary world refer to as the “economy of language.” One of my favorite poets, Ezra Pound, epitomized this idea in “In a Station of the Metro” when he scaled a 30 line poem down to 2 compelling lines to capture what he considered to be the most important image/idea; Pound was emulating the same concepts that define the Japanese haiku. I also find Hemmingway’s “Iceberg Theory” to be a particularly powerful concept in writing; he believed the writer should only show a few specific details (the tip of the iceberg) while omitting the other big details, strengthening the story and forcing the readers to connect the dots themselves. I often struggle with wanting to “overwrite”, and the simple idea of economically choosing my words has definitely made me a better writer.
The idea behind “muzzleflashing” was to marry these two simple concepts. A muzzle flash is the explosion of light emitted from the barrel of a gun when a shot is fired. The term “flash” has been used to describe extremely short writing (i.e. “flash fiction). I “shoot” quick photos with my phone and then compose a 17 syllable haiku-like response later (also, usually on my phone). It is important to note that while I’m using the 5/7/5 syllable format often attributed to haiku (although haiku’s actually use 17 “on” or “morae” which are not actually syllables at all), I am not sticking to the traditional haiku format which typically focuses on the juxtaposition of two distinct images or ideas.
So…my wife told me that I should also have to write this “about” section in 17 syllables as well. Here goes:
[muzzleflashing] cell phone photograph / and seventeen syllables: / a moment captured
Clark Wilson lives in Rancho Cucamonga, California. He fiercely loves Jesus Christ, Nicki (his wife of 14 years), and Eliot (his dog). His official career is a high school guidance counselor/speech & debate team coach, but he is also an active musician, frustrated writer, and hack graphic artist.