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From Samurai Warrior to Haiku Poetry (Nostalgia #14)

As I swiveled around in my office chair I faced the back wall of my office and stared unseeing at a (manually) typed letter from James Clavell dated June, 1971. Clavell being the author of the classic and world renowned, ‘SHOGUN‘. (for you poor pathetic illiterate readers out there who have never read this classic or heard of James Clavell.)  The letter was a response to my asking him for more information on the word ‘joss’ and how it was used in ancient Japan. He responded with my answer and an invitation for us to sail up through the Strait of Juan De Fuca and the Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island and his home.  WOW! 

‘SHOGUN‘ began my love affair with Samurai Japan and the history of ancient Japan.  The Samurai, a military caste in feudal Japan, began as provincial warriors before rising to power in the 12th century with the beginning of the country’s first military dictatorship, known as the shogunate. They continue to rise to great power, known for their superb fighting skills, their unwavering loyalty, and (oddly)  their poetry.  I became a student of this warrior class for over two decades. Searching out and reading their Haiku and Renku writings. 

I was fascinated by the fact that these fierce, bloodied, bigger-than-life warriors who dedicated their lives to their lord and war could, in turn, write delicate, tender poetry. So delicate you felt as though the paper the poetry was written on would crumble if you held it too tightly. So tender your heart wept at the reading.  

One day; I don’t know which day or what prompted me, I wrote my first Haiku. And as they say, the rest is history.  I have written Haiku for over three decades, published three books of poetry. 

It is a wonderful exercise in brevity and translates over to your other writings. Helping you to cut away the excess, the fluff in your writing. And if you write enough of this poetry, the fluff in your writing will never appear in the first place. 

The Garden

I wander my blooms
the morning sun barely peeks
above the far hills
~~Trisha Sugarek

Samurai Song (Renku)
                                                                                                                                                   
delicate blossom                                                                                                                       
rests in the still gnarled hand                                                                                                                              
bruised petals weep tears                                                       

weary eyes open
tiny cuts, the body bleeds
peace still years away

sun rise breaks the hill
heralds another battle
draw your sword and charge
~~Trisha Sugarek

If you want to try writing some Haiku, click here

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BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

Inspiration Comes in All Forms

  chilren's theatre, children's plays, fairy tales, inspiration, actors You find inspiration in the strangest places.   I was dedicated to writing scripts for the stage.   A few years back, I attended this production of my children’s play, Emma and the Lost Unicorn, outside of Boston .

After the actors had their curtain calls, the Director told them that if they changed out of their costumes and did their assigned tasks back stage, they could ‘have some time with  Trisha’.

So I found myself holding impromptu stage craft classes with these adorable young actors (age 5–18).  I was struck how serious they were about their craft.  Their questions were very sophisticated.  And then it happened……the inspiration to dare to write something completely out of my comfort zone…..a book.

children's theatre, plays for kids, writing, stage plays,

Emma

The  youngest ones begged me to write the stories from my scripts into storybook form.  They wanted to have Emma, Stare, Cheets, and Stanley in their personal libraries.  Six children’s books, a mystery series and three novels later I have found a new outlet for my story fairy tales, dragons, books for children, children's playstelling.  These children, who knew no fear, gave me enough courage to try chapter books, poetry, and becoming a novelist. Experimental at times, risky at times, scary, but so rewarding.
 
I was lucky and had a head start using my stage plays as a story outline as I adapted them to story book form.  But for my true crime series and the novels, I was flying solo….staring at a blank screen, typing that first sentence (that I am always talking about). 

   So step out of your comfort zone and try writing in a different format… it’s very liberating and you might surprise yourself.  I did!
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Book 1 in series

 

 

 

Buckle-bunny

Another pair of cowboy boots
beneath my bed
banishing dreams of
a permanent man
right out of my head

They call me a buckle-bunny
but that sets low the bar
for at the end of the night
I take home the rodeo star

He rides wild horses
and even wilder bulls 
I lap him up by the mouthfuls

Lust curls in my belly
when I spy the champion buckle
his laughter is sweet as honeysuckle

An aging buckle-bunny is what I see
until the next cowboy smiles at me
                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With years of practice writing Haiku, Renku (and prose) poetry, I feel as though I have acquired some skill. Because that is what it takes, practice.  The more you do anything the better you become. This my first attempt, ever, at ‘rhyming poetry’.  For two consecutive mornings I had lain in my bed, between that creative space of half-sleep and wakefulness.  The poem swirling around and around until it distilled to this and I had to write it down. (for better or for worse.)

The biggest reason that “rhyming poetry” has fallen out of favor is that it is often forced and unnatural. … To the ear, it will sound more like internal rhyme (but to the eye it will appear as some form of end rhyme). In a good rhyming poem, the reader might not even realize it is rhyming poem (until later).  (Unknown. From the Internet.)      If I accomplished this, dear reader, it was by pure accident. 

The title: A young country-western song writer made up this term and it caught my fancy.  She meant it as a name for the groupies that follow the rodeo and its cowboys.
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!  November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Gautet
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A Little Haiku

Flat Busted

broke down in Tucson
flat-busted, him punchin’ cows
and her slingin’ hash

Haiku (c) by Trisha Sugarek ~~  More Haiku

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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Gautet
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Friday Refreshment

I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately. Another self-help book for my readers and fans. Trying to share the practical, no-nonsense tips that others forget or don’t think to share. My approach being down-to-earth, pragmatic, and helpful (I hope). That which has grown out of my years…no… decades of creating books. Starting from scratch, like you, not knowing the first thing.

So I find myself weary after putting the final touches on this book, just newly released on Amazon.
I frequently go to Charles Bukowski for renewal, for refilling my tanks. Strange but true. So thumbing through my much read copy of The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain I came across this:

help wanted and received ©
I’m stale sitting here
At this typewriter, the door open on my little balcony
When suddenly there is a roar in the sky,
Bruckner shouts back from
poet, wisdom, Charles BukowskiThe radio and then the rain comes down glorious and violent,
And I realize that it’s good that the world
Can explode this way because now I am renewed, listening and watching as
Droplets of rain splash on my wristwatch.
The torrent of rain clears my brain and my spirit ads a long line of blue lightning splits the night sky.
I smile inside, remembering that someone once said, “I’d rather be lucky than good,” and
I quickly think, “I’d rather be lucky and good”
As tonight as Bruckner sets the tone as the hard rain continues to fall
As another blue streak of lightning explodes in the sky
I’m grateful that for the moment I’m both.

Today I am lucky and good!

Did you miss my Interview with Bukowski?
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!     October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Mathews, February: Jennie Goutet
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I Guess It’s All In the Writing…

What makes us, as readers, care about the characters in a book?  What is it about one book over another? I recently took a chance on a couple of new authors (to me) and was pretty disappointed. The books were like eating a slice of Wonder White Bread, with nothing on it; not even butter. Bland, tasteless and of little interest. 

Sophie was listless, I’m sorry to say with long run-on sentences. Beachcomber Motel was not interesting for a different and ‘deadly’ reason; the characters were not well drawn. They could have been more interesting; instead all three had been ‘done wrong’ by life. And quite frankly, I didn’t care about them. The love story of Jules didn’t develop until the last few pages and was more like: ‘Oh! I forgot to finish up Jules and Nick’s story.’  But, I misspoke, it wasn’t finished up but left the reader dangling mid-relationship with those two. Probably in the author’s hope that readers would be enticed to read a sequel.  Both of these are going to be a series, which I cannot recommend.  
  1 out of 5 stars 

This is beginning to sound more like a book review but hang in there….I will get to my point about writing. 

4 out of 5 stars

So I gave up on those two and cracked another new one; The Stationmaster’s Daughter.  I was instantly engaged and worried about Tilly and her dad, Ken, Ted and Annie. Of course, the setting didn’t hurt; a discarded railway station out in the wilds of Dorset. (UK)  Through no fault of her own, Tilly’s been kicked pretty hard by life. We find that out (artfully written) pretty soon after page one but with no feeling of being rushed.  Then there are flashbacks to 1935 when the trains were running in rural counties.

So no surprise, the difference is simple. It’s all about the writing. That something that a writer has in their storytelling that weaves a charming, enticing, well-drawn and interesting tale. This one’s about trains; I don’t care about trains except if they are on time and relatively clean. But the writer based the back story on trains in their heyday; the steam locomotion. And it was just enough that a reader like me didn’t grow weary with the history of trains.  It was well balanced with beautifully drawn characters. And the dialogue was excellent; I could hear their voices.             
It’s all in the writing. Full stop!
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry, October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan, November: Susanne O’Leary, December: Mimi Matthews 
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New Release ~ Creative Writers’ Journal and “How To”

Bigger and better.  Revision 2021 newly released Journal/Handbook.

How To Begin To Write
How to Create interesting Characters
How To Write Fiction
How To Write a Stage Play
How To Write Poetry
How To Write Haiku Poetry

275+ lined, blank pages for your writings.  Each page with an inspiring famous quote from actors, authors, playwrights, poets. 

Review:  Midwest Book Review 

“Creative Writers’ Journal and Handbook begins where so many writer’s guides should: with the basics of how to pursue a dream job as a writer. The problem with most writers’ guides is that they assume some prior degree of excellence or experience; but this handbook poses something different: the opportunity to begin with no prior skill level or experience. All that’s needed is the desire and passion to be a writer, and everything flows from there.
So if you ‘scribble’, if you like words, if your stories ‘find’ you, and if you aspire to be something more (say, a published blogger); then here’s the next step in the process. From how ideas begin to how they are nurtured and written down, there to be refined until they see the light of day (i.e. other readers), this journal offers support, insight, and ideas for jump-starting the creative process and linking it to action.

White, lined journal pages offer a workbook approach that augments white space with inspirational quotes on the process from other, successful writers. So while you’re staring at the usual journal blank pages, inspiration can spark from others’ experiences and insights.
This isn’t just about prose, either: Sugarek includes sections on different formats, from Haiku Poetry to writing a stage play. Each section offers inspirational insights into format, structure, and writing challenges – then uses the journal/quote format to encourage readers to put something down on paper.
So if it’s nuggets of information spiced with the encouragement of fresh lined, white space that is needed, Creative Writers’ Journal and Handbook offers a success formula beginners can easily absorb, all packaged in a survey that assumes no prior familiarity with writing.”
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, August: Veronica Henry and October: Life Coach, shaman, author, Jennifer Monahan.
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Life…In a Nutshell

             Scent of Life  ©

Cool rain drumming on blistering asphalt,
the scent streams into nostrils.
Uncertain why it pleases.

Fresh popcorn drenched in butter,
childhood memories of
dark, musty movie houses when
Tom Mix raced across the screen.

Rich, peaty earth turned over under an autumn sky,
a primal sense of conclusion with the
larder full at harvest time.

Wrapped in strong arms, nose pressed to warm skin.
Drinking in the heat and smell of the man, your man,
beloved man, the partner in life.

Sweet puppy breath. Pure doggy conviction
that you will love him as much as he loves you.

Soft curls and sweet skin of the new babe,
powdery newness, innocence,
and trust.

Candles and incense in the great cathedral,
eons of faith, hope, belief and expectation.

Briny, sharp tang of a northern sea,
Balmy, yielding, salty essence under
the southern Cross.

Sultry air twines itself through the Vieux Carre.
Crushed sugar, wet pavement,
warm beer, praline sweet, heady grape.
Old water from a great river.

Metallic, bitter, smell of blood, be it from battle field,
hospital, butcher shop or birthing room.
Cloying In the nostrils, sticking in the throat.

Manure, pink sugary sweet, sawdust,
roasted peanuts, old canvas, the Big Top!
Childhood rushes back.

New trees, old petroleum, pine sol,
stale baloney, truck exhaust, tired clothes.
Drive on down the highway.

Quaking aspen, pitchy sap, crackling’ fire,
snowy air assaults the senses and warms
the heart.
The loon sings.

Available in Moths and Machetes, Book of Poetry
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg, May: Jenny Colgan, June: Don Bentley writing for Tom Clancy, July: Veronica Henry.
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A Little Poetry and Where It was Born

ferry landing, poetry, foggy night, blogs, writing,I was sitting, late one night, at a ferry landing, waiting and watching the boats ferry back and forth until it was my turn to board.  Fog horns, misty fog, reflections on the black water, the screech of the gulls, and the silent hunting of the pelicans.

The wet air, the silence, the sound of a lone fog horn warning vessels of danger.  The fog smearing everything I looked at… I was inspired  to write poetry.  But the scene could have inspired a murder mystery writer to write about a body, weighted down, being slipped into the water;  or it could have inspired a romance writer to write about two lovers parting as the boat docked.  Never to be together again.  For me, it was poetry.  Here is an excerpt of what came out of that black night……..

FOGGY NIGHT  © 

The white orb, saturated with tidal flows 

peers through the veil, 

a ghost ship slips up the fog laden channel

 Night gulls’ sing with strident cries 

fog seeps in, the tide rolls out, 

day is gone, the night creeps on

Trees, dressed in ebony, drift by 

water glistens, gold and wet 

Night is soft and tender, edges blurred 

damp seeps into cloth, hair, bone 

Fog casts tents of light over the landing 

Hunters of the sea know not day nor night 

Fishers all, white feathers stark 

against the night shadows 

Palm trees, silhouetted against the ochre gauze,

brushes hardened with black paint……

I raced home as I had nothing to write with in the car.  Opening my front door, I dropped my keys and purse onto a chair, tore off my coat as I sped down the hall to my studio.  Waking up my computer, my fingers flew across the key board, lest I forget the words that were born in the night.

To read more click here for the books, Butterflies and Bullets and Moths and Machetes
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!     December: Lauren Willig, January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica, March: Lee Matthew Goldberg
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PoetrySoup.com honors my Poem

Dear Trisha,

Congratulations, this is just a quick notice to let you know that your poem The Garden is one of the poems being featured on the PoetrySoup home page this week. 

Thanks again and congratulations.

Sincerely,

PoetrySoup

The Garden ©

I wander my garden
the morning sun barely peeking
above the distant hills

dew drops wet my toes
and the damp earth seeps between them
cool and wet

my flowers nod their heads to me
as if to say ‘good morning’
their colors soft and muted without
the rays of the sun to spike their flagrant color
the over-achieving bee dips into the golden nectar

a bird trills a celebration to the new day

from the book of poetry
Moths and Machetes
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!    October: George Scott, November: Ella Quinn, December: Lauren Willig, January: Madeline Hunter, February: Mike Lupica 
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