Monthly Archives: August 2013

How Many, Dr. Sagan?


As I mentioned in my last entry, something finally clicked when it came to writing haiku when I was in college.  This was one of those haiku I wrote at the time.  It was inspired by the PBS series Cosmos, and especially by its host, the late Dr. Carl Sagan.


Billions and billions,
The stars in our galaxy . . .
According to Carl.

Copyright © 2013 Johnny Carruthers


Twelve By Five


When I was in elementary school, there were a couple of times when we spent a day or two on haiku.  I hated it.  Not so much the poetry form itself, but because my teachers had us all try our hands at writing our own haiku.  At the time, I just couldn’t make anything fit the three lines, 17 syllables, and the 5-7-5 pattern.  And let’s not mention the little fact that I had just as much difficulty coming up with a subject that was suitable for a haiku.  (The aforementioned teachers were insisting that our haiku have something to do with nature.  I think I eventually wrote one about magnets.)

Fast forward about a dozen years.  By then, I was in college, and in one of my courses, we had something to do with haiku at one point.  (I’m not completely certain, but I think it must have been SAT121 — Intro To Interpretation.)  I don’t know what happened, but everything clicked into place this time.  I think it may have been that my professor told the class to write on whatever subject we chose.

This time around, I found myself able to juggle syllables in my head.  It’s something that has stuck with me, and I occasionally find myself committing acts of poetry in the strangest places.

Such is the case in the following haiku submitted for your approval.  I was on my bike, and I was musing on related matters when I realized that I had five-syllable word.  Could I use it in a haiku?  After a few minutes, I learned that the answer was yes.


Platonic solid,
Twelve pentagonal faces,


Copyright © 2013 Johnny Carruthers

The Buffy Bunch


I guess I’ll start with something of mine that actually has been published.  It might have been in a semiprozine, but it has appeared in print.

I originally wrote this during the summer of 1998, between the second and third seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.  It began during one of many discussions on the Usenet group (hereinafter referred to as atbvs).

I don’t remember how this particular discussion thread started, but someone joked about Buffy having to deal — yet again — with a monster/demon/whatever that just wouldn’t stay dead.  And the writer described the scene with Buffy muttering, “Marcia!  Marcia!  Marcia!  It’s always Marcia!” as she staked it yet again.

The perfect response came to me in an instant, and in retrospect, I’m rather surprised that no one beat me to it.  I quickly posted my reply:

“The Buffy Bunch . . . The Buffy Bunch . . . That’s the way they became the Buffy Bunch . . . ”

My post generated a few LOL responses, but there was one other reply that stayed with me:

“And a thousand filkers began scribbling away . . . ”

Okay, the idea was probably already percolating away in the depths of my subconscious.  That reply, though, was enough to start me actively thinking about it — a filk about BTVS called “The Buffy Bunch,” sung to the tune of the theme from The Brady Bunch.

I decided to stick with the basic structure of the theme song (“It’s the story . . . “), and it didn’t take long to write the first verse.  To tell the truth, it almost wrote itself.  A second verse suggested itself almost as quickly.  I was singing the filk to myself as I was writing it, and I think that might have been one of the reasons I wrote it as quickly as I did.

I posted the filk to atbvs before the premiere of season 3.  I do remember that it was fairly well received, but that’s about as much as I remember.

I’ve performed “The Buffy Bunch” during open filk sessions at a number of SF conventions.  It definitely has been well received there.  The first time I ever performed it, the chorus unexpectedly became a singalong, and that has held true with every other time I’ve performed it.

A couple of years later, I encountered the semiprozine Nth Degree at ConJose, the 2002 Worldcon.  Filk lyrics have been a regular feature of the print issues.  As I recall, the first issue I encountered had a filk about pi sung to the tune of “Jenny (867-5309).”  I don’t remember the specific circumstances now, but I ended up submitting “The Buffy Bunch” and a couple of other filks to Nth Degree.

“The Buffy Bunch” appeared in Nth Degree #14 — sadly, the last print issue to date.  (It has since become an online publication called Nth Zine.  It has also appeared on the Nth Degree website, and I present it to you now for your entertainment and amusement.


(Sung to the tune of “The Brady Bunch”)

1.  It’s the story of a girl named Buffy,
Who alone was Chosen as the Slayer girl.
She would wield her wooden stakes with wild abandon,
Yet not mess up her curls.

It’s the story of her Watcher, Rupert,
Who had journeyed to the Hellmouth on his own.
He was waiting for her arrival,
So he was still alone.

Until the one day when the Slayer met the Watcher,
And they knew that it was much more than a hunch,
That this group would be great Slaying vampires.
That’s the way that they became The Buffy Bunch.

The Buffy Bunch!
The Buffy Bunch!
That’s the way they became
The Buffy Bunch!

2.  It’s the story of a guy named Angel,
A vampire living with a Gypsy curse.
When he fell in love with a certain Slayer,
Things went from bad to worse.

Then there’s Xander, Oz, and Cordelia,
And Willow, who assist the Chosen One.
They had no clue what they’d get into,
But thought it might be fun.

On that day they met the Slayer and the Watcher,
They all knew that it was much more than a hunch;
As a group, they’d stand against the Hellmouth,
That’s the way that they became The Buffy Bunch.

The Buffy Bunch!
The Buffy Bunch!
That’s the way they became
The Buffy Bunch!


Copyright © 1999, 2013 Johnny Carruthers