Novel and Haiku: a Hand Beckoning, a Door Half-Opened

R.H. Blyth wrote:

“A haiku is not a poem, it is not literature; it is a hand beckoning, a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean. It is a way of returning to nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature. It is a way in which the cold winter rain, the swallows of evening, even the very day in its hotness, and the length of the night, become truly alive, share in our humanity, speak their own silent and expressive language.”

For me, this applies as much to the novels I write as it does to haiku. I want to get as close to a blank page as possible while still having a story, with nothing extra, with everything unnecessary stripped away.

I was on a panel about novellas at Left Coast Crime, and the moderator, Brian Thornton, said that my novella One for My Baby has as many characters, plot twists and points of view as a full-length novel. I answered that for me it is a novel — the longer I write and the better I get, the number of words diminishes, but the size of the story doesn’t. Another panelist regarded the novella, like the short story, as a slighter form than the novel, saying that her novellas contained less complexity and less story than her novels, but for me the opposite is true.