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January 2019, vol 14 no 4

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Good Tidings at the Start of Our 15th year from Bob & Ray

Bob Lucky has been doing the hard work at CHO, the reading, considering and replying with “yes’s” “no’s,” and “maybe if’s,” and then preparing a master document. And I use the master to format our issues, and read through the pieces as I do so. As a first reader of the issue, I look for copy problems and, of course, am rewarded with the enjoyment of seeing your work.

Bob and previous editors Lynne Rees, Jim Kacian, Ken Jones, Bruce Ross and myself as technical editor have kept CHO going now for 14 years. A few of you have been on this journey with us for many of those years.

As I read through this issue, I came across many names I know – the long-termers (not to be confused necessarily with long-in-toothers) and many been-around-a-few-years folks. I also came across a number of names I don’t recognize – the first-timers, new either to haibun and/or to writing (I irrationally hate the word “newby,” don’t you?). And I found myself missing writers who seem to have gotten to the end of their drive to write haibun. Borrowing from General Douglas MacArthur’s famous quote, “Old haibuneers never die, they just fade way.”

Why is there that familiarity? For one thing, we haibunists mostly write about personal experiences (well, as Bob says in his “Random Praise,” some fiction is seeping in). While we come from different cultures and places in the world, we share the human experience, the kind of personal sharing that allows us to have a feel for the old masters, Basho and Issa to name two. For another, to write contemporary haibun is to become a member of a very small community. Over time, we editors and, I’d guess, you writers and readers, come to have some of that same feeling about those who have their haibun published and whose works you’ve read.

We writers launch our missives into an ocean called the Internet as if they’re notes in a bottle. In our case, the bottle is called CHO and has a “Drink Me” label inviting us to experience another person’s world, a fresh perspective on this planet we co-inhabit, just as Alice’s drink did for her. No matter how the note in the bottle is written, regardless of its quality of title, prose and poems, your note is plucked from the bottle by Bob, and read with due diligence, and then, read again by as many as several hundred readers.

After reading through an issue, I gain a sense of who you are, what concerns you, how your day, week, month, year, life is going. I get a glimpse of something that sparked your feelings, an event that you felt a need write about (as Ken Jones says in "Ken's Corner 2"). As a consequence, the world outside of my immediate family and friendship circle has become larger, full of the richness of lives lived.

Bob and I look forward to your participation in CHO in this coming 15th year.

~ Ray Rasmusssen, Technical Editor