I was the official Cartoonist-in-residence during the Seabeck Haiku Getaway (organized by the Haiku North West haiku group) at the Seabeck Conference Centre from October 10-13, 2013.
During the event, I created thirteen comics that were presented Sunday Oct 13, on the last day of the conference. One Old Pond vignette (featuring Kaeru playing in autumn leaves) was included in the printed program.
Read an interview about my experience of cartoonist-in-residence at Seabeck.
Watch a digital story about the ginko walk to the Historic Seabeck Cemetery.
Feel free to share these comics on your blogs, websites, Facebook pages and Twitter. Simply right-click and choose Save picture as (JPEG). Please include a link to http://www.oldpondcomics.com in your blog post or website.
Create your nametag
Before you go at Seabeck Haiku Getaway, you have to create your own nametag . People used lots of creativity to create a nametag that would represent them.
At Seabeck Conference Centre, the rooms are in these giant houses. It’s like living in a frat house! It’s fantastic. You share your room with someone and a house with a dozen people. I was in the newer buidling, Huckleberry. I expected moldy cabin smell and instead it was the wonderful smell of new carpet that greeted me. Our room H5 was gigantic with a writing desk (where I spent all night doing comics until 4am) and a private bathroom. I heard two frogs were not as lucky and had to stay in a stinky mushroom…
The Bouncing Bridge
The Bouncing Bridge is a recent addition to the Seabeck Conference Centre and is quite an attraction in itself. It takes suspension bridge to a all new [sismic] level. Crossing alone, you can manage. Go with a friend, you’ll fight for your life. Cross the bridge with fifty people, right after the Seabeck Group photo, and fun is guaranteed.
Drinking from a fire hydrant
At the beginning of the conference, Michael Dylan Welch warned participants to pace themselves. Going to a haiku conference, and attending session after session, can feel a bit like “drinking from a fire hydrant”, he said.
At every conference, you can bring a leaflet or something to give to the attendees so they remember you.
The food at the Seabeck Haiku Conference was excellent. Breakfast was from 8.00-8.45, lunch from 12.00-12.45 and dinner from 6.00-6.45 As you got in the dinning, you could smell the aroma of the food. As soon as you sat down, they would serve you hot meal in a plate big enough for the 8 people around the table, a hot sidedish and a cold sidedish. Dessert was already on the table. I’ve never eaten so well in my life!
The salad bar was self-served and was hugely popular. There were long lineups, but it went pretty fast… faster than if the waiter took your salad order, forgot about it and ate it himself…
The snack table
Not only were we fed very well at the Seabeck Conference Centre, but attendees were encouraged to bring snacks to share. The snack table was jammed pack full of goodies. You could have eaten a full meal there!
Marco Fraticelli (guest speaker)
I was really happy to have the chance to spend some time with Marco Fraticelli, a poet from Haiku Canada that I only get to see when I attend Haiku Canada weekend (it’s an annual conference, but I only get to go every two years or so). Marco Fraticelli was the first hadjin I met, totally by chance, while I was studying haiku at the National Library of Canada, in Ottawa.
Just like Marco, Kaeru the frog loves bringing his kids to the beach.
The Wordless Poem
The Wordless Poem (written by Eric Amann) is one of Marco Fraticelli’s favorite book about haiku. However, it is not a book for beginners and should not be used to teach haiku to young children…
The flock of crows
The guest speaker Marco Fraticelli told the story of a painter in ancient China or Japan who was commissioned to paint four panels representing a flock of crows. Instead of painting numerous crows, like you would expect, he left three panels blanck and, on the fourth one, he painted half a crow in flight, as if a flock of crow was just there and had just flown away.
Marco made the analogy with haiku: it’s often what’s not there that counts, what people imagine. Readers fill the gap in their imagination and complete the image. That was a great lesson.
One of our favorite activities at Seabeck was creating a labyrinth. Following instructions from the leader Margaret McGee, participants split into two teams. Each team had “builders” who built the labyrith, and “decorators” who decorated the labyrinth with leaves, feathers, branches, shells, and haiku.
The labyrinth stayed there during the whole conference and people were able to enter the labyrinth and do a walking meditation. As you entered the labyrinth, it’s good to recite a mantra, such as “I am a pilgrim seeking.”
A leaf falls loneliness (paper by Michael Dylan Welch)
E. E. Froggins ( E.E. Cummings’s cousin) is also a poet; he wrote this happier version of the leaf falls poem.
At Seabeck, a suspended card holder called “The Sputnik” hangs from the ceiling and holds haiku written on index cards. This year, the Sputnik held a dozen haiku written by the guest of honor Marco Fraticelli.