4
March

The Little Things – a Haiga

spideronadrophaiku_web

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13
January

“Suspect each moment, for it is a thief, tiptoeing away with more than it brings.” – A Month of Sundays, John Updike

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12
January

A New Poem: “No Life Left to Spend”

clockfaceI’ve been thinking a lot about living lately. Not in the general sense but living life fully, living in the moment and not holding back. Living where you take chances and try to live without regrets. Looking back on my life, I see long stretches where I haven’t done that. Certain things, like parenthood for example, do limit you somewhat. We do have responsibilities to others and can’t only think of ourselves.

But at this point in my life when my children are basically grown and I’m, shall we say, on the downslope side of life I realize it’s time to live more fully, in the day and take some risks. The last thing I want to do is lay in my deathbed, if I should be so lucky, and be filled with regrets for things I wanted to do, places I wanted to see and people I wanted to love and didn’t.

My new poem, “No Life Left to Spend“, was written as much for me as the reader. It was written to be a reminder that life is meant to be lived in the here and now, not in memories of the past, in our bygone glory days or in the regrets that we had none. Nor in the future, in the anticipation of things that may never come be they good or bad. I’m not saying forget the past or don’t plan for the future. Those are musts. Just don’t live in them. Live in today!

No Life Left to Spend

Yesterday is behind you
to nevermore be seen
so relegate it to the past
with all that could have been

read more …

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8
January

A Hybrid Haiga/Senryu … of sorts!

morningsenryu_web

I’ve written a hybrid haiga/senryu … of sorts. I say, “of sorts” because a senryu like a haiga follows a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Purists don’t get upset! I realize that in an authentic haiku this pattern is in “on” and that “on” don’t necessarily equate to syllables in English. That aside, haiku are typically about nature, have a reference to the seasons and have a “cutting” word. Senryu are typically about human nature, our foibles in particular and are also typically cynical or darkly humorous. They have no reference to a season or a cutting word.

This little piece doesn’t really fit into either genre. Since I wanted the message to be about serenity and beauty in the human soul, a part of human nature, I call it a senryu. Whatever it’s called, my hope in writing it is that when you have the chance to enjoy a beautiful, serene moment (a sunrise, sunset or whatever), you allow it to not only bless your eyes but also allow it to fill your heart. Let the beauty and serenity of the moment still your soul and center you. You won’t regret it!

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1
January

A Haiga for the New Year

winterfog_web

With the change of calendars, one of my desires is to write more this year. To make writing a higher priority than it was last year. So, it made sense to publish a something new today, January 1st, 2014. I mean, it wouldn’t be such a great start if I skipped writing the first day now would it? I hope you enjoy this simple haiga. Happy new year, everyone!

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18
December

Scent of a Haiga – now available on Blurb

Sannel black and white3My dear friend, Sannel Larson from Sweden, has combined her significant talents for poetry and photography into a wonderful new book, a piece of art really, entitled, “Scent of a Haiga“. I’ve been a fan of Sannel’s haiga for some time and have always enjoyed her sensitive and insightful verses and lovely photos that reflect not only the beauty of the world about her but also the beauty that resides within her. Anyone who knows Sannel knows exactly what I mean.

scentofahaigaIf you haven’t read Sannel’s poetry before, then you are in for a treat. Not only are the haiga wonderful but the book itself is a quality hardback available in dust jacket or image wrap. It will give you hours of enjoyment as you read and re-read her haiga and it will also make a great addition to your library. I plan to display mine prominently on my coffee table so that visitors to my home can also enjoy Sannel’s talent.

Scent of a Haiga” is available now on Blurb just in time for the holidays. It really would make an excellent gift! You can also enjoy more of Sannel’s poetry and her other interests on her two blogs, Sannel’s World of Poetry and Sannel in a Nutshell. Both are well worth repeated visits!

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17
December

“If it is to be, it is up to me.”

self-publishing-word-cloudSeveral months back I wrote a blog post about the real work just beginning as a self-published author. I had just published my first volume of poetry. “The Ramblings of a Poetic Fool“. The “real work” was over, right? Sit back and watch the sales take off. Hello early retirement!

No, I wasn’t referring to the task of developing, writing and creating the book itself though that was also “real work”. I was writing about the unenviable task of promoting and selling your self-published book. At the time, I knew it would be difficult. Not only from the viewpoint of the time and effort that must be expended to promote your book but also in the personal strength it can take.

You see, I am not an outgoing, gregarious person. In actuality, I’m quite shy. I do not toot my own horn easily. If fact, it makes me very uncomfortable. To those that know me well, it’s obvious that self-promotion is about the worst thing to ask me to do. Unfortunately, for those who self-publish it is essential.

For some, it comes easily. They have no qualms asking people outright to read their book, buy their book and leave reviews for their book. I see it all the time on social media sites every where. I am often inundated with requests to like this book or author page, attend a book signing, leave a review, do this or do that. On top of that, they network extensively with other writers and on writing sites. All to help sell their book. Please understand me, I’m not complaining or being critical. In many ways, I am envious. I wish I could be so bold and self-confident. I also realized that some of these authors aren’t really as bold and self-confident as they appear. They’re just like me with the important distinction that they have forced themselves to do that which makes them uncomfortable. So, kudos to them! I hope to learn from their example.

frontcoverSo, four months into my self-publishing experience I can boldly announce that I’ve been a dismal failure! Yes, a failure! Sales have been about as pathetic as my marketing attempts. Funny how that is! I’ve done precious little to get my book and myself out there before the reading public. I’ve generated little interest for a book that already had two strikes against it to start, those being that it is self-published and in a relatively unpopular genre. Sure, I’ve posted promos for my book on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and other sites. I’ve written about it on my blog which, if that post was actually read, would be akin to finding a message in a bottle addressed to you. A few good friends have been generous enough to do likewise and leave some very flattering reviews on Amazon. A special few have even written blog posts about me and my book. Thank god for true and faithful friends! But it in a world where untold numbers of books are traditionally published each year and even more are self-published, it takes a lot more effort than this to get noticed.

I knew from the start I wouldn’t sell many books. If I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t be writing poetry. Poetry isn’t that popular these days and I wouldn’t have the resources of a publisher behind me. No, I started writing poetry because something inside me made me. Like any writer though, I want my words to be read. I want people to relate to them and get something out of them. I want people to feel their life is just a little bit better for having read my poems. Thus, I decided to publish them.

In the world of self-publishing, the saying “If it is to be, it is up to me” could not be more true. My book could be the best poetry ever written in the history of mankind (hyperbole intended) and without extensive and tireless self-promotion no one would know it. I write this more for myself than you, the reader. I write it because I need to hear it, I need the motivation, I need the kick in the ass. My guess is that if you’ve self-published, you might too!

Oh, I almost forgot! “The Ramblings of a Poetic Fool” can be purchased on Amazon, CreateSpace and Barnes & Noble. Please buy it, please, please, please! Must I grovel and beg! OK, I will! 😀

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6
December

Majestic Morning

Majestic Morning

Majestic Morning
Click to enlarge image
Photo: Richard Stephen 5-December-2013

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5
December

The Life of a Leaf

Caption

The Life of a Leaf
Click to enlarge image
Photo: Richard Stephen, 24-November-2013

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4
December

Daybreak on the Lake

Daybreak

Daybreak on the Lake
Click to enlarge image
Photo: Richard Stephen, 30-December-2013

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