Happy New Year, Everyone! January is here, our driveway is covered with snow, and I haven’t written anything since around Thanksgiving. Sheesh! Lots of things have been happening, and it’s just been crazy busy all around. Just to recap a few highlights – in December I wrote my 4,500th haiku. This has been a slow and steady process for a number of years now. This year, December 2016, I’m scheduled to write my 5,000th! When that happens I’m planning to take the next year or so off from regularly scheduled haiku writing. I want to grow more and I don’t want to go stale. Perhaps a few more sonnets, or a limerick or two, but no set schedule for haiku. Also, December of 2015 was a great year for me for music composition. One choral arrangement I wrote, “What Cool Child Is This?” was premiered by both my Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fredericksburg Adult Choir, and the Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians Concert Choir. It also received airplay on local holiday radio station 95.9 FM, along with another piece I arranged for hand chimes, “Christmas Don’t Be Late i.e The Chipmunk Song.”
Probably the biggest news of all artistically was the release of my second book of haiku, titled A Haiku a Day, on Amazon at midnight on New Year’s Eve. As I’ve stated before this book was drawn from my earliest mature poems, written while I was still a school teacher in North Philly between 2001 and 2004, and has been over ten years in development. It features thirty images created by artist and lifelong friend, Miss Carolyn Leshock, who took original photos, blended each one with a related haiku, embedded each photo with a corresponding Kanji character, and ultimately created beautiful little works of art that pepper the book. A Haiku a Day is available now on Amazon and has been selling. Check out Carolyn’s other work at http://www.leshockarts.com.
And just behind that, Nancy and I were both accepted to present papers at the 40th annual Comparative Drama Conference in Baltimore, MD in March. Nancy will be comparing two plays – The Pillowman and Everyman – and I will be comparing the character of “Laurey Williams” as she is written in both Green Grow the Lilacs and Oklahoma! It should be both scholarly exciting and nerdy.
Also, I am once again teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Union University, and happy to do so. At VCU I’m teaching just one section of Effective Speech this spring; at VUU I’m teaching two sections of Effective Speech plus Theatre History. We’re just through the Greeks as of this post, but I find I really do enjoy talking with students about the structure and themes of older genres of Theatre. More on that as the semester unfolds.
Beyond the above I’m happy to say that the Michael Family is healthy, happy, and “hanging in there” for another year. We’ve got lots of upcoming plans for my Unitarian Universalist Adult Choir, Hand Chimes, personal composition, and personal development, so we’ll just have to wait and see how the year makes each endeavor come to pass. In the meantime, I wish everyone caught in the snow a safe journey home, and you can be sure I’ll be talking at you in the New Year.