The theme for this episode is Endings.
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My Haiku & Reflections
Some of us shine bright
Some of us burnout too soon
Make your flame worth it
Life is precious. With the roll of a die, it can change dramatically. Be grateful for every moment.The following three lines are from a journal entry dated October 31, 2019
In October of 2019, I was performing in an Improv-style comedy show called Quest Quest. It’s the brilliant combination of Improv comedy with Dungeons & Dragons themes, storylines, and rules. The performance even includes character sheets posted so the audience can see the stats and we used a large twenty-sided die for rolls.
The rules in Quest Quest are a simplified version of those used in actual D&D since it’s being performed on a stage performance for a live audience, but it’s just as fun.
I was greatly honored to be able to participate alongside some other very talented actors for this performance. I played the role of Jerkses, a demigod who must fight evil with the help of his mortal compatriots—a leprechaun and a pirate.
Prior to October 31, we had run another show that ended on a cliffhanger where Jerkses finds himself turned into a hot dog after battling zombie-like creatures deep in the sewers of a small town.
For anyone who’s played D&D or any other role playing game, you know that the dice place a critical role in the gameplay. These rolls determine whether you make your mark when you fire your weapon, whether you successfully open a trap door and find a chest of treasure, or whether you live or die.
In Quest Quest, the same applies. In fact, the tagline of the show is “where the deaths are real.” Of course, no one actually dies, but with each iteration of the show a new set of characters and actors are brought to life for a new adventure. In this sense the deaths are quite real from an audience perspective.
Well, we had just begun the second part of the show on Halloween of 2019. There I stood in costume. I had been wearing a robe similar to that of what Hercules wore in the Disney animated film and over the top of that a giant hot dog costume to fit over my 6’2” frame — brilliantly constructed by a friend of mine.
The Dungeon Master prepped the audience with a recap and the characters were brought on stage and activated. In this storyline we were exploring a creepy cemetery (because what else would you explore on Halloween). And here’s where it gets interesting.
Not five minutes into gameplay did the queue for me to roll the die occur. It escapes my memory what triggered the die roll, but I–or rather my character–wanted to explore something. Well, sadly for Jerkses the roll of the die—which is the giant twenty-sided die rolled by the audience—triggered a death roll. And that was that.
Yup, within five minutes of gameplay my character died. I wriggled out of my hot dog costume and left it onstage for dramatic effect. Off stage, I wandered into the audience—a bit dazed and confused—in my normal Jerkses herculean apparel and sat down. There from the audience I watched my comrades, the leprechaun and the pirate, grieve over the deflated hot dog carcass.
It was a surreal moment for me. My character had died at the beginning of what was going to be at least an hour long show. I wasn’t quite sure if I should turn in early — since I had an early morning the next day — or stay and watch the show. I decided to stay. As much as I love being in Quest Quest it’s also great fun watching!
But the surrealism of the moment did not dissipate and I realized that with the roll of a die your life can change in a moment.
I can’t remember if it was at this specific event or one prior to it, but I remember a friend of mine told me his partner had been diagnosed with cancer.
When that die rolled below the threshold of life for Jerkses and I sat in the audience watching the show go on, thinking about the die roll, and the sudden diagnosis of cancer for a friend’s partner, it all hit me in that moment.
Quest Quest is more than a show or a game for joy, but it’s also an apt metaphor for life. Life is filled with randomness and unexpected events, often beyond our control. As I learned on the Quest Quest stage and from my friend’s partner’s diagnosis, life can change rather quickly. What matters most is what happens in the present moment.
As I sat there watching the show go on, that’s what I did. I soaked in the present moment. I watched my friends on stage continue their performance. I watched the audience roar with laughter as strange and bizarre things happened in the haunted cemetery of the Quest Quest world.
Since October 2019, I have often come back to that moment. To that die roll. I know I didn’t not actually die, but it did put things in perspective for me. I have done my best to enjoy being in the present since then.
Admittedly, as a human being I am fallible and I have forgotten this from time to time, but thankfully I continue to remind myself of that moment. Because, in the end, I never know what the next die roll will bring.
And that’s the lesson I take from this haiku and I hope you’re able to take a similar lesson. Wherever you are, take a moment to be present. Name a few things you see, hear, or smell. Maybe write a haiku about it. If you do, I’d love to hear it. You can email it to thehaikupond (at) gmail (dot) com.
Lastly, I want to give a shoutout to David Thorndale for commenting and reminding me about this haiku. I had an idea for this essay, but I couldn’t quite find the right haiku to match. It seems David pointed me in the right direction. Thank you.
Featured Haiku & Poets
From David Thorndale on Instagram at davidthorndale:
a perfect birthday —
the flavor of autumn wind
in a slice of cake
From Zahra Mughis on Twitter at ZahraScribbles & Instagram at instalogbyzahra:
a lone kitten counts
the dead oak’s rings
From Mona Bedi:
the way the leaves
hide our footprints
From Lisbeth Ho on Facebook at Elisabeth Holidaya:
one lonely night
a fisherman in his journey
lost in the deep blue
From huwanahoy on Twitter & Instagram at huwanahoy:
No longer hearing
A single breath or heartbeat
Most hurting silence
From Haiku Nocturnal on Twitter at HaikuNocturnal:
I won’t scatter your
Sorrow to the heartless sea.
Plant your roots in me
From Robert Fael on Twitter at robertfael:
I sat and waited
until a quiet doctor
told me you were gone.
From Charissa Hooyman on Twitter at CharissaHooyman:
Time with grandchildren
Seeing their happy faces
Tears shed as they leave
From Christina Chin at haikuzyg.blogspot.com:
from the body
From Mark Hitri on Twitter as HitriMark & on IG at the_cellopoet:
not just leaves that fall
a funeral procession
From Linda M. Crate on Twitter at thysilverdoe & on IG at authorlindamcrate:
the leaves falling down
colors are becoming mute
flowers dead in frost.
From Foal Poetry on Instagram at foalpoetry:
“How come?” she whispered
“That’s just how things are.” he said
Tears welled in her eyes
From Melody Wang on Twitter & IG at MelodyOfMusings:
that chapter I closed —
to return to the abyss
is to die again
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