By Rasma Haidri

On Twitter yesterday I saw someone ask if he can call himself a memoirist because he keeps journals. No, I wanted to say, but didn’t. I resist engaging in social media conversations with strangers (although I’m told that is the point of social media). Nothing proves Goethe’s adage, “The spoken word comes not back,” better than Twitter where every utterance is carved in cyberstone. What if I changed my mind? What if I got trolled? Anyway, he wasn’t asking me. And besides, what do I know?

I know that the word mémoire is French for memory and…


Fetching headlines promise ways (count ‘em!) to self-improvement. But the allure of countable fixes just leads us around corners to more of the same.

Image by Rasma Haidri ©2021

There was a time coy headlines appeared primarily in tabloids and celebrity gossip magazines. Serious media enticed readers with the promise of information. That changed as print and digital media began vying for our ever-shortening attention spans. Now headlines in even the most staid media outlets are written in the genre: “just begging to be read.”

Fair enough. Clickbait is not new. Probably the cave wall writing that endured had more human interest than dry information…


It’s impossible to respond, impossible not to respond, but in a state of shock it is hard to come up with an original thought.

Après le siège, Rasma Haidri 6 January 2021

Sometimes words just don’t do it. What to say about what happened in Washington D.C. this week? It’s all been said. It’s still being said. All I can do is listen, admire journalists for what they do for the rest of us, and feel.

When I can’t write, or when my words fall short of expressing what I am feeling, I turn to drawing, but not because I know how to draw. I am not one…


You aren’t alone in wondering if you are done with a piece of writing…

screenshot of photo by The Gothamist.com

W. H. Auden is famously quoted saying that a poem is never finished, only abandoned. He was actually quoting Paul Valéry in an interview at Swarthmore, but no matter. It is an adage that many a poet, including myself, has wanted to disprove as we grind our editing pencils to stubs in an effort to perfect a poem so we can call it finished.

I am fond of reading the accounts writers give of their writing routines and insights about their process. I have an entire…


We’ve seen it in movies. Disaster hits. The insurance company hauls out the magnifying glass to show you the small print loopholes.

Foto: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB

A movie I enjoy is The Darwin Awards, a comedy take-off on the notoriously ridiculous ways people have died. The film is a farce, but the plot is based on a serious premise: insurance companies don’t want to pay out claims. In this case the company aims to avoid selling life insurance policies to Darwin Award candidates who are likely to cash in.

It’s a common literary trope, the denied insurance claim, and so many films are based…


Family members and pets aside, what would I wish I had rescued from my sinking house?

Yesterday there was a landslide of historic dimension in central Norway, a few hours north of Oslo, in a place called Ask. “Ask” means “ash” as in the tree and as in the remains of a fire. On an aerial map it appears to be in the middle of an expansive green area of hills and fields. Apparently, this area was once the ocean floor. Now it is the location of many a little hamlet. One of them is Ask.

In the space of…

Rasma Haidri

Poet and memoirist writing from an island off the coast of Norway. More at www.rasma.org.

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