Bindi Bur Blog

Insomnia Haiga

Not that I get insomnia often. I am very good at sleeping. My mum gave me a great gift when I was about eight. I called to her in the night, 'Mum, I can't sleep.' To which she answered, 'Don't worry about it. Even if you just lie awake all night, you will get enough rest.' It took all the desperation out of getting to sleep. I still think of that, and, even though It's not strictly true, it doesn't matter, I'll drift off eventually. And the soft darkness of night is lovely, a fertile place to think about things.

I once heard a sleep therapist talking about some data. He said that one of the things good sleepers do is not stress about not sleeping. Well no, because they are sleeping! Years ago, I heard that six hours prolongs your life. Some people get by on less. Some people stress if it's not a neat eight hours. I think stress is the big baddie, for sleep and everything else.

Back in puritanical times it was believe that, for the good of the soul, people should do two things a day that they didn't like. I don't know who it was who said, 'I'm ok because I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.' I'm like that. I don't like giving up on my day, not giving up on my sleep.

How well do you sleep? And what do you think about this strange haiga? Does anyone know who the quote is from? Let me know in the comments.


Weird Paintbrushes

Not the best looking paintbrushes, but I love them. Perhaps in the easily-bored artist mind, the predictable mark of a perfect brush stroke becomes less desirable. Once you can handle commercial brushes well, it's nice to work with instruments that will afford you a surprise or challenge you. It gives the work vitality. Some of these brushes have done a lot of work. The long-liner forth from the right has painted a very closely cross-hatched and multilayered painting 180 x 120 cm large and whites on white. Some of my favourite work I give to my family. My son has that one.

I have made paintbrushes from my own hair (those dark thick ones are my old dreadlocks) and the hair of dogs and horses, goats and sheep, fibres and feathers. I even took some hair from a dead cat on the street. I once saw a video of a calligraphy master who said the fibre of his favourite brush was the eyelashes of an ostrich. I didn't even know they have eyelashes.

in the spring
of the squirrel-hair brush
a tentative darkness

Do you see what I mean by vitality? You just couldn't do this with a standard brush.


more and more and more tissues

a head full of snot
gifted by my grandchildren
sharing the love

That's nearly a (so-called) traditional haiku. One syllable short on the last line. I could get it in there but... I'll rewrite it instead:

by my grandchildren
a head full of snot

How much better is that?
Normally at this point I would get rid of the first one, but sometimes it's good to remember process. I have haiku that have been through many changes, over years sometimes. Eventually they resolve. I hope.

Mind you I quite like 'sharing the love'. Maybe:

sharing the love
my grand son
his head full of snot

A couple of things wrong. Now the snot line seems too long and I prefer to use active verbs if I can in haiku so 'sharing' doesn't cut it. But I like how specific 'grandson' is.

my grandson
shares his love
head full of snot

I'm happy with this last one. Even though the last line has more syllables than the middle, 'shares' has a long vowel, so the lines seem equal to me. Not that it matters.

What do you think?

I really like this image too. It has been waiting for airing for some time. Would it make a good haiga with the last haiku? Probably, but there is no way I would put the text onto the photo. The composition is too tight.


day of the very much alive flowers

day of the dead
rattle bones coming up
-- flowers

Done on an ipad, from an old notebook doodle.

I suppose I'll have to do the coy skeleton on the facing page too. I certainly know a lot of ways to not do it after the first one. It's a bit ridiculous that digital image-making actually takes much longer for me than it takes to draw and paint one. But, as with any medium, it suits certain ways of working and certain types of images. The only traditional method that would come close to this particular image is lino cut. Would it be better?

Go here on my old blog for more of my digital images, including a couple of small videos of in-process drawings. I especially like using it for haiga.

What do you think of the image? I think the skeleton wants to give the flowers to you!


Rocky Paddock, Williamstown (haibun)

A place of old pine and gum trees. Amongst rocks, the rocks from knee high to taller than two men. I was hungry for it, for time spent in nature. I put my head against the trunks of trees, and to the cold surface of the rocks.

David Whyte said in one of his talks, ‘Nature is so restorative precisely because it doesn’t care about your problems.’ That’s true of course, but it’s more that it is just going about its own business and that the business is slow. There is no tweeting happening that isn’t the twittering of birds; no rushing anywhere, the slow wing beats of crows, languid, their droll sounds; the ancient rocks doing what rocks do, pretty much nothing in our timeframe, but vibrating the long slow song of time, hard and cold and warm and sheltering.

I lay down amongst them in a little nook where I was completely hidden, important, apparently, when you are the only person for miles around.

stone time
a small body listens
to pine song


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