Categories
poetry

A Poem: Winter

After reading two posts:

I remembered a incomplete poem I had started. So, since it was stupid cold outside yesterday, I finished it.

Winter

If you have never seen the hoarfrost cling
To wires, fences, posts, and trees
If you have never witnessed heavy snow
On every tree branch hanging low
If you have never watched the ice floes beat
Upon frigid shores too cold for feet
 
Ventured across a frozen lake, I’ve done
With sundogs adorning the low noon sun
I’ve trudged with snowshoes on wind-blown drifts
Even biked by snowy cliffs
Shoveled walks and pushed out cars
Watched breath become a frozen cloud
When others dare not go outside
I’ll fear not, I will not hide
 
I do often dream of warmer climes
But I sure would miss the wintertime


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Categories
humor music poetry readers writers

Weekend Wrap-up: Feb. 6

In case you missed it, here is quick recap of some posts that I wrote, and others that I came across this week. So get a coffee or tea, sit back and enjoy.

This week in my blog:

Read part 2: The View from Here

A few posts that I found interesting:

Futuristic Fiction: #Research for #Writers, Part 4, Agriculture.

A Small Collection of Recent Poetry

Why Do We Blog About Books?

If you still have a few minutes, why don’t you take my short and entertaining survey? Lines by Leon: The Survey It’s just a quick way of getting to know how my readers find me and their reading habits.

Enjoy the rest of your day! If you think anyone else would enjoy my writing, feel free to re-blog any posts.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Categories
humor music poetry readers writers

Weekend Wrap-up

I thought I would do a quick recap of some posts that I wrote, and others that I came across this week. So get a coffee or tea, sit back and enjoy.

This week in my blog:

If you want a challenge, Try this: Fun Friday: Wait. What? My thoughts on current events: Thursday Thoughts: Do we need another plague story? Calling all Poets (and poetry lovers): A new (relatively) poem and my latest campaign on the author promotion site, StoryOrigin: New Poets Book Trailer: Music Monday And finally, I would like to get a few more thoughts on readers and writers, so since you still have a few more minutes to take my entertaining survey: Survey: Reader or Writer

Don’t forget to read last week’s installment of my short story, The View from Here before Sunday’s post. Comments always welcome.

A few posts on writing that I found interesting:

Enjoy the rest of your day! If you think anyone else would enjoy my writing, feel free to re-blog any posts.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Categories
poetry writers

New Poets

Are you a poet? If you write poetry, then yes, you are. You don’t have to be publish or even share your creations. Keep them close to your heart if that’s what is needed in your life. Release them into the world like a flock of doves or a bunch of balloons when you are ready to share your visions with the world.

Poetry is painting with words, just as music is painting with sounds. Perception is subjective and one person’s viewpoint can radically differ from that of another. Poems add an extra layer, telling the reader that there are alternate ways of thinking about a place, situation, or a state of mind.

The world looks distinctly different depending on what time of day you are out. I’m a morning person now, but I’ve done my time as a night owl. I enjoy running or biking early and late. The morning quiet is not the same as evening quiet.
  
 Untitled 
 
 Sun on the horizon breaks
 The birth of a day
 As the world awakes
 Birds stir
  
 Middle of the day
 Lifetime a world away
 Brightness blinds
 Unless clouds hide
 Blue sky
  
 Life slows
 Darkness grows
 A shroud of stars
 Drawn over the earth
 Sleep until the dawn calls
 A new rebirth 

So, keep writing, share when you want to, and look at the world like no one else can.

-Leon


Poets: Have a book you want to promote? Want to reach new readers? Submit your reader magnet to this my created promo on StoryOrigin:


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Categories
cartoons humor Just plain weird Weird Wednesday

Weird Wednesday: More Miniscules + Creatures.

Continuing the evolution of my “artistic” side. Some ideas are poignant, others come from everyday situations, the last one was inspired by all the sports repeats in 2020. You can see that I haven’t figured out where to put the web link:

I started a “Miniscules: Origins” movie. I got as far as a trailer (will post that soon). The last one was due to changing my Instagram account.

“Can I see more creatures” you ask? Of course.

There hasn’t been anyone around in days.
It belongs to no one now
Reclaimed and renewed
Without interruption
Or corruption

I hope you have been enjoying my scratches and scrawls.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com

Categories
humor poetry readers writers

Leon Stevens, Author Interviews Leon Stevens, Reader (Part I & Part II)

A series of interviews that I did with myself. Enjoy!

Leon Stevens · Leon Stevens, the author, interviews Leon Stevens the reader.

Today we sit down with Leon Stevens, the reader. We haven’t chatted for a while, how have you been?

   -I’m doing well, thanks for asking!

Tea?

   -Oh, yes please.

Say when.

   -When?

When you want me to stop pouring.

   -Can’t you tell when it’s full?

[silence]

Well then, enough of the small talk. Let’s get started, shall we? First question:

What was the first book that you remember reading?

   -Ever?

Yes.

   -Wow, that’s a great question.

I thought it was.

   -I guess if I try to remember all the way back, I’d have to say, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

That’s the one with all the holes in the pages through the apples.

   -Yup. I think that I got my finger stuck in one of them.

I think we all did.

[laughter]

Any others worth mentioning?

   -I do recall reading Curious George, Pippi Longstocking, Hardy Boys, and I liked pop-up books. Oh, and the Highlights magazines.

Next Question: What was the first book that fascinated you?

   -That’s an easy one, A Wrinkle in Time.

Why that one?

   -My fifth-grade teacher read it to us. I looked forward to that time. He was a great reader, and I was sad when the book ended. It was a kind of a dark adventure for that age group.

Did you like reading?

   -I didn’t dislike it, but I wasn’t a voracious reader.

Were you encouraged to read?

   -I think so. My dad would read to me at bedtime. He would make space stories for me. I later found out, when I started reading science fiction on my own, that many of those stories were ones he had read before. I don’t fault him for it. It was funny reading a story and thinking, “Hey, Dad didn’t make that up!”

Do you have a favorite genre, or do you have a variety of interests?

   – I usually read science fiction, and I prefer the older works over new. I do enjoy historical non-fiction, especially about explorers. I do enjoy some fantasy from time to time, as well as crime dramas.

What book have you re-read the most?

   -I would have to say, Klondike by Pierre Burton, followed by Alive by Piers Paul Read, and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Favorite book?

   -Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut.

Any newer books that I might know that you have enjoyed?

   -Umm, you know the same books I do.

I suppose that’s true…Well?

   –Ready Player One and The Martian would be the most recent. But again, you knew that.

Have you ever not finished a book?

   -Yes.

Care to throw it under the bus?

   -Nope. Not fair to the authors. Sometimes a book just doesn’t fit with the reader.

I understand. Well then, last question: What will you be reading next?

   -I’m waiting for you to finish your science fiction book.

It’s getting there, don’t rush me.

   -I’m just yankin’ your chain, I’ve liked what I have read so far.

Thanks. I appreciate that.

   -I knew you would.

I knew that you knew that I would.

   -I’m not playing that game.

[silence]

I guess we are done then. It has been a pleasure interviewing you.

   -Well, thank you. It was fun! We should do this again.

Agreed!

Interview, Part II: Leon Stevens, Reader, Interviews Leon Stevens, Author

I have done a few interviews on some book blogs this year and have always enjoyed it. But then I thought, what would I say in an interview as a reader? Solution? Interview myself! So I did. As you can see, this is Part II, where I interview myself as an author this time.

Leon Stevens · Leon Stevens, Reader, Interviews Leon Stevens, the Author

Today we have the pleasure [eyeroll] of sitting down with Leon Stevens, the author. How have you been?

   – Considering all that has been happening, I have been OK. You?

You know the same as I do. We share a place, remember?

   – Just being polite, you know.

Moving on. You have some exciting news to tell.

   – Had.

What?

   – I had some news. Like a month ago.

Would you like to share it?

   – That’s why we are here, isn’t it?

Yes, indeed. Let me spill the proverbial beans then

   – I’m not going to clean those up.

[silence]

Do you want me to say it or not?

   – Go ahead.

You published your second book this year, a science fiction book, I believe?

   – That is correct. It’s called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

Interesting title. How did you come up with that?

   – It’s the first story in the book, and the rest tells you what is in it.

But what does it mean?

   – You will have to read and find out.

I did. You know that.

   – Then why are you asking?

I thought that other readers would like to know.

   – Well, it’s all about how choices that life gives us are not always good things, I guess. It is the shortest story in the book.

You like writing short stories, don’t you?

  – My stories always seem to come to a natural conclusion sooner rather than later. Say what you want about short attention spans…

Do you have a favori—Wait! Where are you going?

   [from another room] – I thought we were done.

No. We are not.

   – Want some coffee?

Sure. Are you using the press?

   – Is there any other way?

Nope.

[elapsed time: 15 minutes]

   – Here you go.

Thank you. Shall we continue?

   – Fire away.

[sipping sounds]

Mmm, good coffee.

   – Thank you. It’s one of my favorite things.

Before the break, I was asking if you have a favorite story?

   – That’s tough. Each story has its charm in how it came about and what ideas I was trying to convey. But if I had to choose—

You do.

   – As I was saying, if I had to choose, it would be Reasonable Hand-drawn Facsimile.

Because?

   – Probably because it has elements of humor. It made me laugh when I thought about it. My editor said that she laughed out loud when she read it. Now, that’s the sign of good humor writing.

Do you consider yourself a humor writer?

   – Quite a bit of my writing has elements of humor, so yes. I like to make people laugh.

There are quite a few post-apocalyptic stories in the book as well, along with poetry. Poetry? What’s up with that?

   – I don’t know which came first, the stories or the poems, but I recall coming up with the idea that sometime in the future, writings from after an apocalyptic event would be found. So naturally, I named the series Found.

That sounds like the premise of the book, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr.

   – That’s not far off. I didn’t mean it to be, but as I was coming up with the poems, it was a book that came to mind. It is the first post-apocalyptic book that I remember reading.

You write many different styles. Do you think that will limit your appeal by segmenting your readership?

   – Well, I do now. Thanks a lot.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing.

   – Limiting my appeal? Or writing different styles?

I thought I was asking the questions here…

   – Can’t we have a spirited discourse once and a while?

How long have you been waiting to throw in that word?

   – Quite some time. Impressed?

Very. OK. Back to my point. I’m just worried that your poetry readers won’t like your science fiction stories and vice versa.

   – I’ve thought about that. But if I am inspired to write something, I don’t want to limit myself. I still write poetry. It took me four years to publish my first book of poetry—I’m not going to be able to put out another right away. I hope my readership will embrace my eclectic writing.  It is about entertaining and keeping readers engaged.

And how do you do that?

   – I began to write a blog, which became more of a satirical/humorous take on life. Then when I started my newsletter to keep my readers updated on my writing journey—

Writing journey. I like that.

   – Thank you. Anyhoo, I try to keep my weekly newsletters informative and entertaining. I hope that people read and appreciate them.

Ever thought of doing a podcast?

   – I wouldn’t know where to start. Do you?

Not a clue. Last question: Who are The Miniscules I keep hearing about?

   – You’ve heard about them from other people?

Not really. I just thought that we should mention them.

   – Oh.

They are dear to your heart, are they not?

   – No. Not really. I’d miss them if they went away, though.

But they’re not going anywhere, right?

   – Nope. They still have lots to say.

Well, thank you for taking to time to answer some questions. Any final thoughts?

   – You’re going to clean up those beans, right?

Yes. Not to worry…

   – Don’t forget to take out the garbage when you go.

I’m not going anywhere. I live here.

   – Oh, right. Another cup of coffee?

Please.


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com

Categories
music music Monday poetry

Music Monday: Music and Poetry-The Connection

I wrote this guest post for the blog Spines in a Line (great name, right?) so I decided to post it here today.

Music and Poetry-The Connection

When you think about poetry, music doesn’t always spring to mind. When you hear your favorite song, most people don’t connect it to a poem. Song lyrics, on their own, have to be categorized as a poem, don’t they?

Definition of Poem: A poem is an arrangement words that convey or express a thought, feeling, or emotion, in an imaginative style. Poems will often have rhyming and rhythmic elements, sometimes in a repeating or predictable pattern.

It is a broad definition, which is why there are so many different classifications of poems. From the classic Shakespearean sonnet, Japanese Haiku, to concrete visual poetry, poem styles number in the hundreds. What I like about poetry is that as long as you are able to paint a picture with your words, you are a poet.

Music also has many styles, but I think composers have a harder time stretching the boundaries, because the human ear is used to the 12 notes in Western music (and a few more in Eastern). Because I am more familiar with the former, I will limit myself to that.

Music has been a part of humanity longer than spoken language, although you could say that music is a language in its own right. Tribal celebrations with music (or just rhythms) were some of the earliest ways to convey emotions and information. Early church chants were religious texts set to the seven notes of the modern scales. Traveling troubadours sang about events, and composers turned from instrumental compositions to operatic masterpieces. Africans, brought to America as slaves, fused their own culture with the music of colonial Americans, giving birth to Blues, Jazz, County, and finally Rock & Roll.

I started out writing song lyrics, some which became songs- others are still waiting for the right music to come along (good at writing melodies? Let me know…). Some of my songs remained short and unfinished, and those became some of my first poems. As I wrote poetry, sometimes inspiration would lead me to think that some of my poems needed a little something more to create that imaginative style.

The first poem that I set to music was, Never the Same, which describes the loss of a friendship. I think that I was noodling (that’s the technical term for playing random notes/chords on the guitar in hopes of finding something that sounds cool) on my guitar, and what I came up with was slightly sad, but introspective. It made me think of that poem as I played, and I believe that the poem is a much better creation because of the marriage of the two.

The next poem, If (The Refugee), started the same way, but this time I decided to write music specifically for it. I also experimented with recording techniques and layering.

I am going to do more with poetry and music. They are two of the things that I enjoy, and being able to combine them gives more depth to the creation.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com

Categories
Uncategorized

The Importance of Reviews

(The Ongoing Journey of a Writer)

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” What’s going to make you pick it up?

How do people choose the books they read? Some will stick to the authors they like to read, an interesting cover can make you choose a book-or at least read the blurb before deciding “Meh.” But the driving force behind the success of books are positive reviews.

How do you get reviews? Get your books in the hands of readers. How do you get readers to want to read your book? Get reviews. Hey, wait a minute! That’s a Catch-22. You bet. I think of it like a new restaurant. You might be wary to give it a try until someone says that the food is good/amazing.

Here’s another restaurant analogy: If you don’t know about it, you are not going to go, are you? So, businesses advertise. It is important for new authors to advertise. to say, “Here I am! Check me out!” (I don’t know why I’m shouting…no one likes to be yelled at.)

Word of mouth is the least expensive form of advertising. If someone likes your book they will probably tell one of their friends, because we all get asked the question, “Read any good books lately?” And if we have, we will reply, “Yeah, you have to read [insert name of awesome book here]!” There was a commercial in the 80’s that had the line: I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on. Want to do the math? You should, its pretty cool. (I might do a math post in the future)

There are many sites that feature reviews of books, each having its merits and loyal followers. It’s easy to picture readers scrolling through books and not stopping on books with no reviews, but those 4 and 5 stars really catch your eye, don’t they?

Reviews will drive sales, which is what authors want. But reviews also give affirmation that what we are doing as writers has merit and makes a difference in the lives of our readers. I want to share some of the words that have made me proud of what I have done:

Thank you so much for the beautiful poem, it was very touching and your words have a healing effect.”  

I have loved reading this book. It has given me what I needed the most. It is a very charming book!

A very charming, witty and entertaining book of short poems and pictures about… everything in life. It was fun to read and I believe it would make a great gift for poetry lovers.

I know I will reread this book as I do most of my poem collection because the simple act of reading poetry makes me grow and change as a person, so each reading is an unique experience.

This book of poems was very intriguing. It made me stop and think—and, sometimes, stop and laugh

To be honest, I found it a breath of fresh air and it was a joy to read.

And reviews also confirm that everything is subjective:

I thought the pieces in this collection were mostly okay. I’ve read much better but there are much worse collections out there.” (Well I’m glad I’m not the worst.)

I didn’t get it.” (OK, a little out of context, but kinda funny.)

Overall, I have neutral feelings about this poetry collection… Perhaps it just wasn’t for me.” (Exactly, I can’t make someone like my books.)

IF you have been following my writing, you know that I enjoy humor, so when I put together my free eBook with selected works, I decided to have some fun with it and put this on the first page:

There’s fake news, then there’s fake testimonials…
What people are saying about “Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures”

“Opening this book is like looking into the head of Leon. It’s a little odd…”
 -Noel Snevets

“It kept my interest and it keeps my coffee mug off the table.”
– Elon Ven Sets

“Just when you think you’ve had enough, you haven’t!”
 -Lone Vessnet

“I had to ask myself, where has this book been? I then realized it had slipped under the sofa.”
  – Olen Nessvet

“Wow. Just, wow. Wait, what was the question?”
 -Anon

“Thirty-one.”
  –  A. Prime

In conclusion (What? Am I writing a thesis?), as a reader, please don’t underestimate the power of your words. Reviews don’t have to to be long-just honest.

-Leon

Categories
humor poetry thoughts writers

Thursday Thoughts: Laughter

In anticipation of “Funny Fridays” I thought that I would talk about the serious side of laughter. It is easy laugh when you are alone, but I’m sure many will agree that it is easy to cry. There are movies that always make me tear up no matter how many times I’ve seen them-It’s bizarre.

If you passed someone by themselves, and you noticed that they were crying, would you stop and ask if they were OK? Most of you? Problably. Now what if that person was laughing? Walk by a little quicker and try not to make eye contact? Probably.

What’s my point? I’m not sure. All I know is that this past year, with the limited social interactions that we have had to deal with (for our own safety, of course), there is more that likely a dearth of laughter in our lives and a surplus of less desirable emotions.

As a writer, I want to entertain readers. If I can bring a smile to a face, then that is mission accomplished. If something that I write makes you think, reflect, or connect, then I’ve done a good job.

Laughter was written long before we were forced apart, and touches on how laughter is often held too tight, but releasing it can be exactly what we need.

Laughter

Yes, I hear it But I’m not grabbing onto it It’s not mine It’s yours. Mine’s here somewhere I’m saving it (for what I don’t know yet) A little sneaks out from time to time It makes me smile A brief respite From the dusk emerges A little light

(From Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures)

Until tomorrow,

-Leon

Categories
humor poetry thoughts Uncategorized writers

Thursday Thoughts: Poetic License

Thursday Thoughts vs. Thursday Ideas. Why do we like alliteration? Probably the same reason that we get annoyed when the gas pump goes to $20.01.

We manipulate language, like music, to create a pleasing sound. Kids love saying rhymes, lyrics and poems usually rhyme, and when they don’t, it can be a bit unsettling. It can also be exciting when things done happen in the way we expect.

There are ways for poets to get away with “almost rhymes”. I believe it is call poetic license, which is short for “I can to whatever I want because I like it that way”. This can also be applied to how a poem is crafted into its individual lines. For example, here is a funny poem from my first book:

Give it a read and we’ll discuss my thinking.

The Sock

Is there anything lonelier than discarded clothing?
A sign of disappointment, of rejection, of loathing
Threadbare and stained, no fight left within
Wondering what events caused this great sin
Did you wear out your welcome, what did you do?
Was it a weakness of cotton that allowed the big toe to come through?
Was it your owner’s odd gait that wore through the heel?
Taking the blame, how did that feel?
Was your partner discarded or saved for another
Pair that shares the same fate and just the right color?

For the most part, the poem has a simple rhyme scheme: AABBCCDDEE. I’ve had readers question the last two lines. Firstly, another and color don’t really rhyme. I’ll pull out the poetic license card on the one-they are pretty close, well close enough. Secondly, what’s up with last line? It doesn’t make sense. Well, it does to me. Kinda.

It took a lot of crafting to get it to say what I wanted it to. Read it this way:

Was your partner discarded or saved for another pair that shares the same fate and just the right color?

See what I mean. Kinda…I find that it feels like it is hitting the crest of a hill on the word another, then falls away quickly on the last line. I’ll give you a moment to try it. Like I said, it took a bit of manipulation, and it’s not perfect. But guess what? That’s that way I want it.

The power of poetic license.

-Leon