Tag Archives: haiku

Haiku Workbook and Contest!

Are you (or do you know) a middle, high, or home school teacher? If so, I’d love for you to check out a new user-friendly classroom resource with the added bonus of motivating students to do their best work for a chance–a very good chance!–to see their work published in an anthology!

Hai CLASS ku provides 90 haiku “starters” (a full semester of warm-ups, prompts, potential homework assignments, substitute teacher lessons), and it’s only $5.75.

teacher tool
Hai CLASS ku
90 classroom warm-ups and a 2017 National Contest for student work to be published!

Check out this Press Release for more details, or contact me directly.

Let’s have some fun with this!

Hai CLASS ku example page
Example page from Hai CLASS ku. Finish the haiku, draw a sketch, write about your inspiration!

“Deep Work”

I’ve done it before. It’s time to do it again, but I’ll do it differently this time, and I’ll ask you to join me.

In the summer of 2014, I deleted my Facebook account. Wiped it clean out of the interwebs and then blogged about my decision. Sadly, my story Seven Days to Sanity: Regaining My Life after Killing My Facebook Page went unnoticed by my hundreds of friends, many who complained they didn’t know where or why I had “gone.”

I’ll explain myself better this time, this first day of October 2016, this first full day of our fall trailer vacation in Moab, Utah. I’ll try to ignore the incessant whining of a snarf-dog left behind by its family in the Battlestar RV parked next to us.

Mike and I enjoy listening to podcasts. He’s downloaded hours of them on every topic onto his iPod, which makes travel time pass quickly and gives us lots to discuss. Yesterday, on our journey to our favorite campground, we listened to James Altucher’s interview of Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. Before the podcast ended, I knew what I had to do.

I’ve been telling everyone I know that I’ll finish Waterwight II (at least in beta) by the end of this year, and although I’ve made great strides in outlining and noting spectacular scenes, I’ve not yet written beyond the first chapter.

It’s not that I’ve been doing nothing while ideas and dreams sneak up on me. Marketing Waterwight: Book I while re-releasing “Miss?” and publishing Haikus Can Amuse! and writing my first spooky novella during a 3-Day Novel Contest over Labor Day weekend have kept me as busy as anyone with a full-time job, yet I know I can do more. People have convinced me I need to keep in touch with my audience to maintain interest in my work, yet after years of daily Facebook/Twitter/Instagram interactions with daily (hourly!) “Likes,” I’ve not seen the same numbers translate into sales and reviews.

At some point, people who want to sell their products need to reevaluate the time and money they spend on marketing. My time is now, and my evaluation tells me the time I spend on social media is distracting from the time I should spend working on my craft.

Newport points out the lingering effects of distractions, especially those we delude ourselves into thinking we can handle. Of course I can multitask! I’ll just take a quick peek at my Facebook, my gmail, my Instagram, and then get right back to writing my next chapter. So why does it take me so long to refocus my attention? Because I can’t. I can’t multitask without consequences, and the consequences of taking my attention off of a big project—even for just a moment to count the number of new “Likes”—are significant and detrimental.

I know this is true because of my 3-Day Novel experience. I wrote The Hare, Raising Truth: A Naughty Tail in 32 hours. It’s 19K words, a fast-paced novella, and I never once opened my social media while writing it. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever written. Check out my post about my write-a-thon experience: “Feeling Lucky?”

What does that experience tell me? It tells me I could finish an 80K novel in about four long weekends of focused work, and that’s pretty darned exciting. It’s what I must do. Pigs will never fly until you color their wings.

Would Samuel L. Clemens have completed Innocents Abroad if he’d had a Facebook account? Well, probably, because I’m attributing far more maturity to him as a writer than I have, but it might have taken him longer. When I think about the time I’ll retrieve by stepping away from my media-crack, I might actually be able to finish reading Innocents soon!

So while I’m not going to delete my social media presence, I am going to step away from three platforms that distract me horribly—Facebook (my strongest crack), Instagram and Twitter—until I complete Book II. I will continue to create and distribute my mid-monthly newsletter (let me know if you want to be added to my list) and will post blogs like this one on my website ( www.leadvillelaurel.com ), and I will check my email each morning before disconnecting, so you can still contact me if you’d like. I suppose I’ll still post my 22 push-ups on the 22nd of each month because I vowed to do that to keep alive awareness of veteran suicides (and I’m posting Mike’s 22 because his phone can’t), but that’s it.

My goal? I want you to be totally excited about reading my next novel, and that means I have to write it! I have to do the “Deep Work,” which I cannot do if I’m constantly posting trivial things.

And boy-oh-boy, will it be a relief to step away from all the political animosity choking social media this election year. Yes, it will.

And here’s where I’ll ask you to join me. Join me in stepping away from your greatest distractions. You’ll need to be honest about them, and you’ll need to be strong. If you want to produce something noteworthy, you must focus on it with your heart and soul. Are you ready? I am.

Laurel, OUT!

If you like my writing, you might enjoy my books! Check them out here, and thank you!

Summer’s End

We love the trailer
Life, it’s simple if you love
the one you’ve chosen

Chillin at the Gunnison KOA dog run.
Chillin at the Gunnison KOA dog run.

I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again: I love our trailer-trip adventures.

Two nights. Two nights of unplugging from the requirements of home and the barrage of politics and the lull of routine is all we needed this past weekend to return to it all feeling like we’d just spent a week at a resort.

 

Our resort: a KOA in Gunnison with full hook-ups, lots of green grass, clean facilities,

She only loved me for my carrots.
She only loved me for my carrots.

friendly owners, and surprise visitors. Ginny and Herbie must have known Mike and I were ass-kissers, or perhaps they were curious about our handsome dog. Maybe they smelled the bag of carrots I’d just brought out to munch on. In any case, they were both at least 29-years-old, and Ginny was nearly blind.

Ginny and Herbie, the Gunnison KOA's welcome burros.
Ginny and Herbie, the Gunnison KOA’s welcome burros.

Ranger was not inclined to welcome the unleashed beasts as freely as we were, however, and after an initial sniff (with Mike pulling him away from unpredictable rear-ends), decided they were untrustworthy. He remained quietly aloof for the duration of their visit.

Ranger meets Ginny, but decides he'd rather she moved along to other campers.
Ranger meets Ginny, but decides he’d rather she moved along to other campers.

In the evening, we kayaked/paddleboarded on Blue Mesa Reservoir, and I marveled at how different an experience it was from our peaceful paddle at Twin Lakes last week. This reservoir was enormous, and when clouds filled the sky and the wind picked up, the waves were Old Man And The Sea-worthy. I hooked up to Mike’s kayak for the final push to shore after 90 minutes of hard, enjoyable work, and after a few games of Cribbage and a shot of Dewar’s after the sun set, slept like a cat in a hat.

#22kill Day 7 of my 22 push-ups per day to raise awareness of veteran suicides. Hug a veteran today. Let him/her know you care.
#22kill Day 7 of my 22 push-ups per day to raise awareness of veteran suicides. Hug a veteran today. Let him/her know you care.

While Mike rode his bike at Hartman Rocks the next day, I did my trailer push-ups (to spread awareness of the number of veterans who commit suicide each day, the #22kill campaign) and wished I’d thought to do 22 push-ups against the burros during their visit.

We returned home to an extra layer of snow on the mountains and a brilliant sunset, the perfect Leadville summer evening. Soon our lake will freeze, but for now:

Fiery August sky
Turquoise Lake oblivious
Snow on Mount Massive

(thank you, Mary Howard, for reminding me to haiku my visions!)

Sunset over Leadville mountains and Turquoise Lake.
Sunset over Leadville mountains and Turquoise Lake.

Yes, you all know by now that I love haiku. I think my opening haiku for this post is the best I’ve written. See how many ways you can read/interpret it! Haikus Can Amuse! (get your copy today!)

If you like my writing, you might enjoy my books! Check them out here, and thank you!

You’re a Peach!

That crate of peaches
slurped, sliced, peeled, baked in cobbler
Empty box, full tum!

So many slurpy peaches!
              SO many slurpy peaches!

What do you do after buying a crate of peaches from a man setting up on a street corner?

  1. Wonder what you’re going to do with SO many peaches when you get home.
  2. Pull off the cover and savor the sweet aroma of SO many peaches.
  3. Consume 1 or 2 or 3 right away and wonder why you still have SO many peaches.
  4. Be a little afraid of the repercussions of eating 1 or 2 or 3 peaches right away.
  5. Give them to your friends and your mail deliverer and wonder why you still have SO many peaches.
  6. Ask your son’s girlfriend if she’d like to make peach cobbler (because you don’t bake) and marvel at the fact that you still have SO many peaches left.
  7. Eat the entire peach cobbler (well, share a corner with someone you love) and look at what’s left of SO many peaches.
  8. Write a haiku about SO many slurpy peaches.
  9. Decide it’s time to do something with SO many peaches still remaining in the crate. Peel, slice, freeze . . .
  10. Smile at the thought that when you’re tum-tum is ready again, there will be SO many peaches waiting for you in the freezer!
What was left of the peach cobbler a little while ago. Sorry, honey, it's gone now.
What was left of the peach cobbler (thank you, Lydia!) a little while ago. Sorry, honey, it’s gone now.

Peaches. It’s what’s for dinner.

big 'ol bite of peach cobbler.
            Big ‘ol bite of peach cobbler.
Peaches, peaches, more peaches for the freezer!
Peaches, peaches, more peaches for the freezer!

2-Week Contest!

2-week contest!

Upload a photo of any completed haiku from Haikus Can Amuse! to my Laurel McHargue or Leadville Laurel Facebook page, or ?@LeadvilleLaurel ?Instagram for a chance to win an autographed copy of “Miss?”

One entry per person, please.

writing, fiction, poetry, haiku
I’m on a roll! Waterwight, “Miss?” (updated and re-released) and Haikus Can Amuse! books all published this year!

Winner(s) announced 7 pm July 31st. Spread the word!

?#?haiku? ?#?freebook? ?#?inspiration? ?#?poetry?

 

#1 new release!

WOW!

Thanks to you, my new book Haikus Can Amuse! 366 Haiku Starters earned a #1 new release in Asian Poetry on launch day, June 18th! What a wonderful 33rd wedding anniversary present that was! Check it out: Haikus Can Amuse!

gift book Haikus Can Amuse! 366 Haiku Starters
Haikus Can Amuse! 366 Haiku Starters is my fun new gift book!

I’ve decided to offer a free download of the Kindle version of Haikus indefinitely for anyone who purchases the paperback copy, so order your gift books soon if you haven’t already!

And thank you again for your wonderful support. This new book is designed to help you develop a fun, stress-free writing habit. Finish the poems and write your reflections whenever and wherever you want. There are silly prompts and somber prompts. See where they take you!

The introduction teaches you the basics about haiku, and after the 366 pages of prompts (first line poem “starters” and general topic ideas every 10 pages), there are poems and reflections by 16 renowned contributors.

Order one for yourself and a few as gifts for the journal writers and poets in your life, and for the English and math teachers you know! These would make great warm-up exercises at the beginning of class! Here’s the link: Haikus Can Amuse!

Haikus Can Amuse!

I’ve neglected my blog lately as I prepare to launch my fun new book:

Haikus Can Amuse! 366 Haiku Starters

It’ll be available on Saturday, June 18th, to celebrate Mike’s and my 33rd anniversary, so won’t you please consider purchasing one as a gift (to yourself and to us!)?

I’ll post the link soon, but even if you don’t use the book to complete the 366 poems, you could keep it on your table to make you smile (because it’s beautiful)! I love the way the designer “amused” me by having the butterfly leaves in clumps of 5/7/5.

Cover design for my new gift book: Haikus Can Amuse! 366 Haiku Starters
Cover design for my new gift book: Haikus Can Amuse! 366 Haiku Starters

Hunting Haikus (and more!): Days 1 and 2

Day 1

He trusts me to walk
Behind him with loaded gun.
Crazy husband, mine.

Since I began my “Hunting with Hubby” story with a haiku, I figured I should do the same for my week of hunting. Although I was able to take lots of notes with my iPhone (on airplane mode, of course!) while following Mike for days and days last week, I do not have Sako .308the same luxury this week as I am the one carrying the Sako .308 elk-slayer. Therefore, instead of waiting until the end of the week to gather my notes into one story, I’ll do my best to capture the highlights of “My Turn to Bag the Wily Elk” each day. I have until 5:29 p.m. on November 9th to accomplish this.


We started before sunrise yesterday in an area we were told had lots of activity. We covered tons of terrain and I found myself dressed too warmly again. Since I was in the lead this time, however, I got to chose when and where to stop, and I took lots of cool-down and pee breaks. The most exciting activity we experienced ended up being two frisky squirrels bolting out of a nearby tree chasing one another, and one nearly running up my well-camouflaged leg! It took everything in my power not to jump and scream like a little girl, even though there were no elk within earshot.

The day was gorgeous and Mike did his best to locate the source of tidbits left on trails, but to no avail. Mike with scope

Here’s my haiku from yesterday’s attempt:

No beginner’s luck
Humming “Kumbayah, my elk”
Only squirrels come

Day 2:

We started the hunt this morning feeling hopeful. With the extra hour of sleep (why are we still observing Daylight Savings Time?) and anticipation that the light snowfall would make it easy to find our tasty temptress (I, too, have a cow tag), we set out to a new location.

Hours later with much terrain covered following teasing signs on trails, we returned to the vehicle, elkless again. The spider webs that yesterday glinted with sunshine today were like strands of snow pearls hanging from the trees. Not too far from the road, we found evidence of elk in the area.

snowy elk skull

This morning’s haiku:

Snow frosted elk skull
Successful kill for someone
Sorry it’s not mine

Along with the skull were the pelvic bones and spine, all white as the snow that soon would bury them.

Knowing that we would find easy trails in the snow, we returned to the same spot this afternoon. With me in the lead and feeling like this could be “it,” I did my best to ignore the loud scrunching of our boots as we forged forward into the forest. At first it was humorous,photo 3 but with each step, my boots became heavier and heavier until I could kick off the mounting platform. I felt a bit like Frankenstein.

Frankenstein trudges
Hiking boots laden with snow
Scaring elk away

After a couple of hours of seeing nothing but rabbit and squirrel tracks, I started to get a little irritated. I was tired. I was hungry. I was making far too much noise in the winter wonderland of woods and caved-in mine shafts to sneak up on any prey. It was snowing, the sun was setting, and all I really wanted to do was go home and enjoy a glass of wine. Screw the wily elk.

Mike could tell I was starting to feel petulant and took the lead, trusting me to follow him, on slippery surfaces, with a loaded rifle. When he suggested that we crest one more hill to “see what was on the other side,” I almost cried. Instead, I turned around.

photo 2

photo 1

 

 

“See?” he whispered. “We’re doing real hunting. There aren’t too many people seeing this view tonight.” And he was right. We decided then to go just a bit further before heading back (how I loved to hear that phrase!).

Not 20 feet away, we found a fresh track, an elk track, in the snow, heading downhill. With adrenaline pumping, we followed the trail down and down and down…and down…and around…until it stopped, right by a large pine tree. I looked up. Not there. It was truly time to head home.

photo 1 (2)

By the time we reached our vehicle, it was quite dark. The rising moon shone through the foggy haze of rolling clouds and melting snow.

Perhaps tomorrow will be “it,” the day I will bring down my first elk. If not, I’ll just have to suffer through my spectacular surroundings a little longer.

Wish me luck!

BURN

Burn

Disappointment kills
Any hope I might have for
Our future success

Watching my husband
Work selflessly for others
Just to be shut down

Unsupported by
Frightened politicians who
Bow to ignorance

Things don’t burn, they say,
In fires at elevation
Above ten thousand

Are they serious?
Are they really serious?
Tell me it’s a dream

With silly people
Who selfishly get their way
At others’ expense

That tomorrow morn
I’ll wake to find my nightmare
Gladly unfounded

But I know the truth
Things will never change in town
When witlessness reigns

When those who can, won’t,
When, “We don’t want this to turn
Into Breckenridge”

Becomes our slogan
Though leveling town would not
Be enough to start

Transforming hovels
Into proudly-owned houses
With junk-free front yards

How will we move forth
When so few see our town is
Struggling to survive?

When so many look
Only through their front window,
Only at themselves?

Motivation drains
From those who try to improve
Where it’s not wanted

Resources wasted
Ignorant voices spew lies
Sad reality?

Fire mitigation
Project doused, so don’t call me
When flames lick your door

Our Kathy

Multifaceted
vessel of acceptance, love
and understanding

Her internal light,
Radiant beyond compare,
embraces us all

Challenging us to
release the pain of our past,
to overcome fear,

Knowing that today,
here, now, is reality
we must not deny

Everlasting gifts
she gave to us, joyfully,
through sparkling bright eyes.

[rest in peace, my beautiful cuz]