Open Door Haibun

When one door closes, another opens;
but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door
that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

Alexander Graham Bell


I’m attending a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in a few days. I’ve written three children’s books, and SCBWI is an invaluable resource for improving craft and making connections.

molding words like clay
making characters breathe,

When I say I’m writing books, the first question anyone asks me is have I been published. Yes, I’ve been published in the past and recently in on-line zines and on my blog, but their questions really mean has any publishing company paid money to publish my work. Not yet. I’m looking for an agent. Most editors want agented submissions. Agents have become the first gatekeepers. To get through that gate is my immediate goal.

hands on the gate
splintery wood is rough
words can smooth

I wrote “Author” for the first time as my occupation recently. I learned the poet Emily Dickinson was rejected for publication during her lifetime. She was never published until after her death. Was she an author? I would say yes. If she was an author during her life, then I am, too.

To quote Maya Angelou: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” I am already successful because I love writing novels.

This is a new career for me, and publication will take time. I’m on the path, I have passed through the first door — I believe in myself. Next, I hope to pass through the gate.

words soar like birds
song echoes over lake water
feathers fall, they float

Path in woods

I know many bloggers are on the path with me, and I want to thank all of you for your feedback and your support. My shoulder surgery is a few days after the conference. This may be my last post for a while, as I won’t be able to lift my laptop until my arm is useful again. I will miss all of you in the meantime. Keep writing! XOXO, Brenda

Copyright 2015 Brenda Davis Harsham


73 thoughts on “Open Door Haibun

  1. Goodness… I went to haibuns… well because I write quite a few of them myself. I don’t have an agent either. And I’m not quite ready to self publish. But I’ve won some money last year (that was 2019) so now I’m a professional. It took me a long time to say yes I am a poet, and an author! Continued success. 🙂


  2. Wooooo! You go miss Brenda!! I also pray that you’d get well soon! An author needs her arms to write/type in this career path. It also must be wonderful to attend such a convention!!


  3. I feel the same way about the word ‘author’ even though I’ve written and published quite a few books, I find it difficult to call myself an author. I usually say ‘writer’ if anyone asks what I do. Hope your shoulder is on the mend, Brenda.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally agree Brenda, you are a writer and you are published. 🙂 I feel the perception of ‘published’ and what that exactly means is rapidly changing, but some people are slow to really understand the fullness of what published is. I was researching cameras recently, as some time in the new year I hope to get a new one. The camera I was fascinated by (Sony Alpha a6000) is relatively cheap by Sony standards, a lot of professional photographers would turn their nose up at such a camera. And yet some professionals (who usually spend thousands on their cameras) are getting openly excited by what that little camera is capable of. They’re seeing the potential and the desire for more and more mirrorless cameras. If the end result of a picture taken with a cheaper range camera is stunning – what does it matter? Isn’t the image ‘everything’? With publishing I think it’s exactly the same. The fact that you’ve made the effort, and maintain that effort, presenting your writing to whoever wants to read it is what matters most. A lot is changing in the publishing world anyway. I don’t believe it’s going to stay as we have known it.

    A lot people who like to call themselves writers, never get as far as you have. I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve seen where the author of the blog talks endlessly in extremely dull posts about how good and worthy they are as a writer – almost to the point of boasting. They have additional pages on their blog giving advice on how to write fiction/poetry/articles and how to get your book published or get yourself an agent, and yet they never show anyone their own writing. It leaves me wondering if they are lying to themselves? On the other hand, maybe they have been frightened off from showing what they can do in the past. But how much of their life are they going to let go by before they actually dare to write something worthwhile? I know you have had negative feed back many years ago, but you’ve left that behind and forged on, regardless as to how you were left feeling by that experience. That takes a lot of courage, but you did it – so you are well and truly published!! 😀

    I thought it was very interesting what you said about Emily Dickinson, I’ve never heard about that before, that’s kind of sad, but also inspiring she kept on writing regardless. Just think what she could have done if there had been the ability to have a website in those days!!

    I’ve been looking into the possibility of publishing a book online instead of an ebook. It may never happen, it’s only an idea at the moment. But I thought it was interesting while I was having those thought, JK Rowling goes and publishes another Harry Potter book, but not in paper – online and totally free. I’m intrigued as to why? See, much is changing, and published is published. Anyone who laughs at our writing not being on paper, is missing something very big. And they probably won’t notice those who walk through the gate ahead of them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t heard about the new HP, how amazing she is. She swore she wouldn’t write another. Perhaps she couldn’t help it. I feel like my characters are knocking on the inside of my skull trying to get out. I need to sit down and focus. 🙂 Thanks for the boost of confidence. I think you’ll go far as well. How is the novel going?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m working on a new novel idea, all written in very short chapters of prose, conversation and poetry. Began posting it on Wattpad a few months ago, but stopped uploading it there when they changed the site view private. You could always read all work, like you would with a blog, but now they want the reader to sign in (obviously so they can target their stupid Google Ads more effectively!) I felt there wasn’t much point in continuing with it there because if I tweet it for example, none of my Twitter friends could see the work. Since I had a public moan about it they have at least set it so a non member can read one page view – but…oh, how pathetic! 😦 I don’t get these writer websites being private. I think private should be a personal choice not enforced. WritersCafé have it right, you can choose either way – much more sensible.

        So I’m thinking about the possibility of creating it on a WordPress or Wix website. And I’m hoping to record it too. I’ve been researching quality copyright free images and music I can use in recordings without having to pay large sums of money for them – it’s amazing what is available out there for free. It’s going to take a lot of thought and work, so will be a long way off yet I expect. With all the other things I do, everything seems to take me ages to get round to it. I’ll get there in the end! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

          • I know, all these additional pages take a great deal of time. I only have myself to to look after and that makes a HUGE difference. I’m sure if I had a family to care for I may not even have the time for a blog. I think you do tremendously well Brenda to fit in all that you do. 🙂

            I have to admit though, I have long gaps in between visiting my other social media pages, I’m not posting and liking all of the time, I’d be exhausted if I did!! 😦 The one page that see the least of me is my Facebook page. I find most of the friends I have I already know from elsewhere, so it’s like blogging twice. Hasn’t turned out to be the best place to find totally new people. Twitter and G+ seem to be the best place for that. Take it steady, and if you find the time, don’t forget to tweet some micropoetry! 😀


  5. Love the Bell quote! Especially as I was reading up about him recently and posted about his invention of the telephone!! If you feel you are a writer, then you are! There are many people writing who never get published. If we don’t call them writers when they ARE writing, what do we call them?


  6. Best wishes as there is no doubt that your writing will not only well received but he discovery will take you to new heights that are well deserved. You are an incredible poet and writer! Take care and all my best for a successful surgery and smooth recovery – you and your writing will be greatly missed.


  7. All best to you as you heal and as you seek to find a publisher. I keep hearing about agents and it gives me chills because I guess I was hoping I would not have to go that way.

    Emily Dickinson ‘s poems, about 10 of them were published in her lifetime, and one letter. Some believe they were published without her permission, and altered.


    • Interesting that you’ve heard differently about her publication than I have. I had read that none of her attempts to find a publisher worked. The big publishers won’t accept unagented submissions is what I’ve encountered. And those that do, the editors interviewed say that almost no one is ever selected from the slush pile. They are only interested in the things they solicit from established authors and agented work.


      • I confirmed the facts on the Emily Dickinson museum site. But I’ve heard that or something like that for years.

        Thanks so much for the information about publishing and agents. I have a lot to learn. I find it all terrifying. Compared to publishing, the writing is easy.


  8. Your writing… being an author is a wonderful thing! Congratulations, & have the best time at the writers conference!
    Wishing you a successful surgery & quick recovery! You can do it!!!!


  9. Oh, I hope you have a fabulous time and get the help/info you need to knock the gate off its hinges. 🙂 Good luck with your surgery and I look forward to hearing about the conference. ❤ Will be thinking about you.


  10. Enjoyed your Haibun and loved the quotes…

    You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. Always remember, you have the strength, the patience to reach for the stars.

    Best wishes Brenda on a speedy recovery from your shoulder surgery.


  11. I am definetely on the path with you, my dear!! I offer myself to prepare the print files of your book… as the first one will be surely published soon! I also wish you all my very best for the shoulder surgery!


  12. Beautiful poem, Brenda. x
    We send you lots of good thoughts and healing fairydust for your schoulder, take good care ,
    big hug and lost of love,
    Dina, Klausbernd, Siri & Selma xo


  13. Inspirational post, Brenda. It is so hard to find an agent! The whole traditional process seems like an impossibility; then, there’s your quotes which ring true in the ear and give one hope. Here’s hoping your surgery goes well. 🙂


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