Wednesday 13 February 2013

Welcome Wednesday says hello to Doris McCraw

Welcome Wednesday has a fantastic guest today - Doris McCraw. I'm delighted, because she is the first poet I've had the opportunity to interview on the blog. Like myself, Doris, is a member of a group of writers called Writing, Wranglers and Warriors who blog on a daily basis.

Nancy Jardine - from my accessible poetry collection
I confess I don't make the time to read poetry, these days, though I have a fair collection of poetry books - many collected for different reasons. Some are from my own school and university days; some for kids were bought when I was teaching or for my own daughters; and some were bought just for pleasure!

But, let's hear a little more about the work Doris produces every day

First let me thank you,  Nancy, for having me on your blog to share my love of haiku and the joy I have in all creativity.

I know you mainly as a writer of poetry. Would you say that’s how you would like to be known, or do write in other genres too?

I have written short stories, a novel (still to be edited and published) along with non-fiction articles and am currently working on a biography of a local photographer.  In addition to the above I also write murder mystery script for Red Herring Productions, a murder mystery company I work for as an actor and I also cast all their shows.

That sounds like a fantastic job, Doris. I can see a little scrap of paper being dropped with the remnants of a poem on it ...or maybe there's a few lines from a poem easily found on the computer?.... But back to the interview. What's your favourite form of poetry?

I truly love reading all forms of poetry. Some of the poets I enjoy are Tennyson and Helen Hunt Jackson. With Helen that is good, for I am booked to speak as her or in some cases to speak about her. I also am a fan of cowboy poets Jane Morton and Michael Stevens.

Nancy Jardine - My dogeared Tennyson
Tennyson, I have definitely read but I have to confess to not knowing about the others. How many types of poetry have you tried to write?

I've tried most types by find that I have and affinity for haiku and I love the freedom that the form gives me.  With a limited number of syllables, seventeen to be exact in the form of five in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third, each word is important and the meaning is open yet set. Additionally, in the original Japanese form the haiku was accompanied by a drawing.  I use a photograph as a substitute.

Haiku was something I loved teaching to the 11-12year olds in my class. They produced some spectacular work even if their fingers were worn to the bone, and the classroom resembled a monastery for a while as the drone of practising the syllables went on. Their haikus ( and sometimes 'tankas') tended to be related to the historical theme we were working on, or to our Japanes studies - to spark their imagination. The illustrations produced to accompany the poems were often quite spectacular, too.

I’ve popped in to read your daily haiku sometimes. You’re very dedicated with the posts to ensure they really are different and are well illustrated. Can you describe your process for creating your work?

Writing the haiku started as a writing practice/discipline that has taken on a life of its own. Sometimes I start with an idea and other times it is a photograph. That forms the basis and then I work to express the thought within the structure of the haiku as described above.  There are other forms but I prefer the five-seven-five. There are times when the haiku comes together quickly and others where it may take most of the day to find just the right word combination. Then of course if I don't have a photograph I need to find one that fits.  These can be found at

Readers- I urge you to pop on over to Doris's haiku blog and spend a few moments browsing...  and maybe relaxing. 

Where do your images come from?

I take all of my own photographs.  I usually have a camera during the spring through fall in the car with me in case I see something that just grabs my imagination. I will also take a day about once a month and head out and take as many photographs as I can of whatever catches my eye.  In many ways it is very relaxing and helps feed my creativity.

Do you write a week’s worth ahead of the time …or are they mainly topical?

I write the haiku on the day that I post it.  I may be thinking about it over a period of time, but the actual writing is done that day.  I find that the work reflects that immediacy and allows a larger connection for the readers and myself.

Does the place you currently live influence your writing?

Where I live plays a large part in my work.  Living in the high desert near the foothills of the Rocky Mountain Front Range allows for a variety of photographs and writings.  It is also a very short drive and I am in the mountains themselves. There is also such a rich history to the area. I know that also influences all of my writings.

I've seen some of your photographs and they are often stunning and thought provoking. Have you always been inclined towards poetry or is it a love that has transpired over the years?

I have always loved poetry.  I can remember making my mother read to me before I could read and a lot of that was childhood poems.  I also remember writing them in school.  Of course I also wrote plays and stories. 

Do you have any particular writer that you emulate?

I read and enjoy a number of writers.  Susan J. Tweit, also writes haiku as a writing practice.  However she has chosen a different form from myself.  Her “Writing Nature Home” is a book I wish I could write. I also enjoy Robert Crais, Lee Child, and of course Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden books.  All of these writers, along with so many others, give me glimpses of what I am capable of.

Do you have plans to compile your daily haikus (or other poems) into a book someday soon?

My fondest wish would be to publish, and I will, the haiku along with other publication forms that the photographs and haiku fit into.  Calendars, journals, note cards are all possibilities.

Those items sound like they would lend themselves very well to a display of haikus. But...  a bit more about yourself now. What is the preferred genre for your own leisure reading?

I can probably best answer this one with the standard I have used for many years. It is a gift from my ex. “You are trying to read everything ever written and you are about ten thousands years behind.” I simply love to read and whether it is fiction or non-fiction I can learn something, even if it is how not to write that type of book.

What hobbies do you indulge in outside of writing, or any other regular daily pursuits you might have?

I could probably write a book on this question. Perhaps it is best just to list them.

I work in the tourism industry, teach acting, offer workshops for writers who have problems speaking in public, actor, crocheting, knitting, watching and critiquing movies and anything else that happens to catch my eye.
That's a busy list! I'm so pleased you've been able to share this with us, today, Doris.

Nancy, this has been great fun, and again I thank you for letting me share my love of all things creative with your readers.

Doris can be found at:

Best wishes with all your projects, Doris.



  1. This is a great blog. We get to know each other through our blogging on Writing Wranglers and Warriors, but the more we read about each other the more we get to know each other. Doris is a busy, busy woman. I didn't know the Haiku was usually displayed with an illustration. I appreciate the art of Photography and you have some lovely photos. Thanks Nancy for interviewing my friend and co-blogger.

    1. Thank you for your unfailing support Cher'ley!

    2. I also second Nancy's reply and so appreciate you constant support. I also thank you for the comments on the photography. I do enjoy that also.

  2. Lovely interview Nancy. So nice to learn more about Doris and her work. Doris, we share some of the same creative activities. Writing scenes for plays sounds so interesting. I look forward to your daily haikus. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hello Linda! Nice to see you again, so soon. :-)

    2. You are welcome Linda. I used to write music also, but not the lyrics. I do envy you that talent.

    3. Also, if you like poetry and dear friend has a book out "Journey On" that is a great read also.

  3. I'm so pleased to see Doris, whom I know from Women Writing the West, here with Nancy, a fellow author published by The Wild Rose Press. Small world. I always read Doris' Haiku so found this interview very interesting. Thanks, ladies!

    1. Andrea, thank you. I am so glad the haiku resonate with you. I love writing them and am honored that you take the time to read them.

    2. Hi Andrea! Yes, the writing fraternity can be a small world and yet there are millions of us out there.... :-)

  4. You are both welcome. I appreciate you two, too. :)


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