Local crime isn’t usually something that we can associate with zen-like qualities. Neighbors fighting or a tense altercation at a coffee shop are usually frustrating, not subjects of spiritual pondering.
But the way that Jim Jones writes them, the strange news in small towns is pretty philosophical. He uses his daily spiritual musings to put the oddities of the blotters into haiku form.
His 17 syllable poetry has been complied into a Kickstarter project that was a staff pick on Dec 9.
“Police Blotter Haiku” is, as Jones puts it, “tales of confusion, error and malfeasance and haiku form, with illustrations, taken from police blotter columns in newspapers across the nation.”
He has collected almost 1,000 clippings and online snippets of the most bizarre news that little towns have to offer and made them into Japanese-style poems. His best 300 haikus will be put into print and given out to people who want a good laugh at some dumb criminals.
The project is in an attempt to raise money so that the book can have original artwork. Jones wants to use real people and professional photography to make sure the book is visually endearing to go along with the weird content.
The donation campaign aims to raise $600 by Jan 6, 2014.
Project backer awards include free copies of the book, copies of his other publications including “Tales from the Coast” and honorable mentions in the finished project depending on the level of funding.
Examiner.com interviewed the writer and software support specialist to get to know more about what makes crime a tool for mediation.
His interest started when he visited his sister in her neighborhood dubbed “Prettyville” and opened up the dull, local paper. Some of the infractions were odd and not really crimes, which made them funny.
“All the stories were all about crimes that people were afraid had happened -- but really hadn't,” Jones said in an e-mail to Examiner. “The individual blotter items were so short that they were almost haiku already. I started working on them, and the haiku clicked right into place. It's never been that easy since, but it's a great form for getting at the gist of a story.”
The haikus and found popularity in local newspapers in California, but are now going to be compiled into a physical book. The most recent haiku are updated onto Jones' blog.
Jones, who has gone by names such as Jim Blackview and Mike Handel in other publications, felt that these haikus would be great entertainment and wanted to share such creations as:
With his new girlfriend,
Robert watched his old girlfriend
slash three of his tires.
Other pieces talk about bare hikers, roughhousing teenagers and even a couple of animals behaving badly.
“If you looked at most of the stories I start with, you wouldn't consider them too exceptional. I try to look at them with a different eye and find the comedy or tragedy or emotion buried in the story; poetry's the best way to do that,” he said.
Kickstarter appealed to Jones because of the success of small projects like his that find an audience willing to fund the dreams of others.
“If it flies, and I meet my goals and build audience, there'll be a sequel no doubt,” Jones said.
He plans to self-publish the book through Amazon, Lulu and other avenues. A possible e-book is also in the works in order to bring his work to the modern audience.