Haiku (Idol’s Behavior Less than Idyllic)

you’re not who I thought
when I put you up there–give
back my pedestal

by Edie Montgomery-Pool

This haiku was inspired by an experience a friend had. She met an American Idol who turned out to be not at all like their “nice person” image. It sounded like the fame went to their head. Hopefully that person will get a better grasp on things eventually and turn themselves around.

My friend met a lot of other American Idols who were just as awesomely cool as you would expect them to be.

Although the poem was inspired by them, it’s not just about that one person — it could be about anyone. I wanted to portray what it feels like when you think highly of someone only to be let down by them.  I think everyone has experienced that feeling at least once in their life.

Wow, that was a lot of discussion for one tiny, little haiku. Did not set out to ramble on like that – LOL.

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Author David M. Bader on the Publishing Process

Today I add a new category to the blog – author interviews! 

David M. Bader was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to answer some questions about his experiences with the world of writing and publishing.  Lawyer turned author, Bader has written numerous books, including Haikus for Jews: For You, a Little Wisdom, Zen Judaism: For You, A Little Enlightenment, and Haiku U: From Aristotle to Zola, 100 Great Books in 17 Syllables.  Here’s the interview…

First, thanks so much for taking the time to share your experiences with me and the “A Bunch of Wordz” readers.

1. You obviously had a lot of options available to you being a Harvard Law School graduate. What made you decide you wanted to get published, and do you make your income exclusively from writing now?

Well, yes, a Harvard Law Degree opens many doors. Mainly to law offices. Or government positions, teaching, or even corporate finance. As for why I wanted to write, law is a literate and learned profession, but as a practical matter it involves spending thousands of hours working on numbingly dull material.

I did anticipate problems with legal practice even in law school, but thought that when I was older and wiser, I would see it all differently. Never happened. I reached a point at which I just wanted to create one thing that was fun, original, and not ponderously long.

As for the financial question, some of my books have sold surprisingly well. Haikus for Jews has earned more than many novels and non-fiction books. Especially on a per syllable basis. As financial strategies go, though, it might have made more sense to explore the exciting opportunities in ostrich farming or telemarketing.

But I don’t practice law and feel fortunate to have escaped the golden handcuffs.

 

2. When you decided to publish your first book, did you get an agent first or did you approach publishing houses directly? What was that experience like?

Everyone told me to get an agent, which I did. The experience with my first couple of agents wasn’t great. Lesson 1: Never work with a literary agent whose “home office” is in her living room, near an exercise bicycle. Lesson 2: While friends may be able to introduce you to famous, successful literary agents, such agents are not always good with small, quirky books. When an agent who doesn’t know the market for your book takes it on as a favor, it’s not that big a favor.

 

3. What were the steps you took to find an agent?

To find a suitable agent, I looked at the “Acknowledgments” in lots of small, humorous books. Writers often thank their agents there, and I jotted down the names and looked them up. I gradually assembled a list of agents who had sold offbeat humor to respectable publishers. Some of them actually did get back to me when I sent them samples. I don’t know if this works as well for other genres.

 

4. Have you run into any roadblocks getting your work published since your books fill such a unique niche?

Yes, of course. One agent looked at my sample pages of Haikus for Jews and said, “Yeah, I could get about two cents for this.” She was so derisive that it took a while before I mentioned the idea again it to anyone.

 

5. Is there anything in your publishing career you would have done differently if you had known then what you know now?

Clearly I lost some really good years as a law student and lawyer, including many long all-nighters in the office that could have been devoted to more worthwhile activities, such as sleeping. And I would have had more time to improve as a writer. Then again, publishing involves a lot of rejection and disappointment. Had I gone straight into some form of writing, each time I had a setback I might have thought, “If only I had gone to law school.” Now I don’t have that problem.

 

6. What advice would you give to authors on how to go about getting their first manuscript seen and accepted?

Look for agents and editors with a track record for handling similar work. Try to extract constructive suggestions from people who reject your submissions. And if your first manuscript is rejected everywhere, take a break and start something new. You can always revive the first project later. You may sheepishly realize in a year or two that the people who rejected your first attempt spared you great public embarrassment.

 

7. What advice would you give to authors looking to transition from a corporate career to a career as a writer?

Don’t quit your day job? If you have children, put them up for adoption? First of all, set achievable goals. When I gave notice, I remember a lawyer confiding to me that he had always wanted to quit and write the Great American Novel. Not very realistic, coming from a guy who worked 14 hours a day on airplane leasing documents. Pick writing projects you can actually do. Give yourself plenty of time to unlearn all the bad habits you’ve acquired in the corporate world. And if someone advises you, “Go into haiku, that’s where the money is,” stop listening to that person.

 

8. What is the craziest, weirdest, or funniest thing that has happened to you as a result of your writing career?

Hmm… Nothing too crazy. A lot of my books have been copied or, really, plagiarized on the web or in e-mails that people forward all over the place. As a result, one person I met insisted I hadn’t written Haikus for Jews. She said, “You didn’t write that. It’s from the Internet.” She seemed unacquainted with the “book” concept and treated me like some sort of fraud.

Another person forwarded me an e-mail entitled “Jewish Zen” that consisted of passages taken from my book Zen Judaism. She wrote, “This reminds me of your work, though it’s not as funny.”

Beer Haiku

Beer Haiku Daily is just that – a site featuring a haiku each day having to do with beer and its effects.  For example, here is the entry from last Monday:

That joke from last night
Is even less funny now
Than when you told it.

Great concept; amusing site.  Go check it out now.

6 Cute and/or Funny Haiku Books You Want to Buy

work is a circus
I trapeze without a net
surrounded by clowns

               –Edie Montgomery-Pool

I love haiku, especially when it has a funny or quirky angle.  If you’re feeling the love for haiku, too, here is a list of books that might interest you.  (These would also make great gifts for that person you know well enough to feel obligated to buy a present, but don’t know quite well enough to figure out what the heck they’d want.)

Goodbye Jay, Hello Conan

As you probably know by now, Jay Leno is leaving The Tonight Show, and Conan will be taking over as host.  I love Conan, so this makes me very happy.  Jay Leno fans also have something to be happy about–now they won’t have to stay up so late to see him as he’ll be starting a new talk show, set to air weekdays at 10pm.

In honor of this momentous historical occasion (hee hee), I’ve written some commemorative poetry…

Goodbye Jay, Hello Conan (The Tonight Show)
by Edie Montgomery-Pool
 

Goodbye, Jay
I never watched you anyway
Your jokes aren’t really my style
They rarely made me crack a smile
 

Conan – hi!
You’re a funny funny guy
The moment I heard you’d be the new star
I programmed you into my DVR

And for those of you who like funny haikus (and who doesn’t love a funny haiku)…

Jay Leno Leaves The Tonight Show
by Edie Montgomery-Pool

 

So long, Jay Leno
Your giant chin will fill my
TV screen no more

_______________

(You may reproduce this poem in part or whole, on or in a website, email, podcast, or broadcast; permission for electronic reproduction is granted on the provision that the website on which the poem is published is not a vanity publisher or a scam poetry contest which requires its “winners” to make a purchase or pay a fee before being published. You may also reproduce this poem in print material for which net profits do not exceed $1,000. Author name must be included in any reproductions, and author must be notified whenever this poem is, or parts of this poem are, used. For all other uses not mentioned here, just ask and I will most likely say yes.) 🙂

Travel Poems by Little Known Authors

I love traveling and travel poems and have written quite a few myself.  Authors Den is a website where authors and poets can go to post their work, and readers can browse by subject, including travel poems.

I read through a few of the travel poems on the site today, and here are the beginnings of 5 of my favorites.  You can click each title to read the entire poem or click on the author’s name to find out more about them.

1) Seattle by Eileen Clemens Granfors

A kaleidescope of umbrellas disembarked
Hovering above trench coats, uniform in tan and black,
Faces awakening to the day, shielded and mufflered;
Gray clouds, heavy as cement, obliterated expected signals of time

2) Haiku Journey by Gene Williamson

portugal
blurred in my train window
ancient cork trees

flight to malaga
the small plane so crowded
I have to stand

3) Athens After Dark also by Gene Williamson

By day we cruise the Aegean Sea,
with a short layover at Hydra, magic
isle where the only transport
is noisy mopeds and tired feet.
By night we relax over drinks
at a table in Constitution Square,
talking home with three hometown
sailors on leave from a cruiser

4) When There Are No Words by Brian M. Morrisey

It is 9:50 a.m. here in Changchun, China
in the distant light of mid-May
on a plane to Shenzhen
while everyone I know
sleeps nine hours behind me
along the abyss of California coastline

5) Typical British Weather Forecast by David M. Darbyshire

(A short, 4-line, funny poem.  I’m not going to quote it because by the time I do, I will have re-published the entire poem.  So, just click on the link to read it.)

If you want more, go to the travel poems category page at Authors Den.  There doesn’t appear to be a screening process, but for a site that allows authors to post their own work, there is a surprisingly large amount of good poetry to be found here if you’re willing to sift through it.

The Poetry of Spam: Haikus About Lunch Meat

Spam, our favorite mystery meat.  I keep a can of it in the pantry at all times for when I get the occasional spam craving.  But as soon as I’ve swallowed the last bite, I get this gross feeling, like “why did I do that?

Keola Beamer also has a fascination with spam, but his is of the literary kind.  Keola collects spam haiku.  Here are a couple of samples:

Grotesque pinkish mass
In a blue can on a shelf
Quivering alone

Pink tender morsel
Glistening with salty gel
What the hell is it?

You can find tons more spam haiku at keola’s site.  (Unfortunately, no authors are credited.)

Kealo Beamer is a Hawaiian musician who specializes in the slack key guitar.  Visit Keola Beamer’s homepage for more info or to buy a CD.