One Tree and Me – a Poem by Paul J. Hoffman

Tree of Life

Over the course of the past 51-plus years, I’ve done a lot of writing. Much of it has come in the course of my 30 years in journalism. I’ve also authored a book, transcribed whatever I could recall from my dreams for a period of about 3 years or so, and written poetry and song lyrics with varying degrees of competence. 

About a year ago, I sat alone in a wooded area and cleared my mind from all of life’s little annoyances. I soaked in a cool breeze on the sunny afternoon and found myself mesmerized by a tree standing before me.

As I looked at the tree, really looked at it, and thought about how what function each part of the tree had, and how each part reacted to its surroundings, I started thinking about the different aspects of my personality and being, and what functions those performed. I also considered how I react to my surroundings, or perhaps I should react. 

Those thoughts got pushed to the back of my mind until a recent trip to a local writers club meeting, where one of the writers read a poem she wrote where a tree was a central theme. It reminded me of the spring day nearly a year previous when I had the aforementioned epiphany. I was motivated to try to describe the event in a poem.

Below is the result of that effort. I am pleased to say that a friend of mine has planned on using the poem in her homeschooling curriculum. What an honor!

One Tree and Me

Me, I sit, a cool breeze it spits

Winsome on my face

Wisdom in my soul


My gaze, it stares, intense, in glare

At the rebirth of my earth

A time of joy, a time of mirth

Like a camera on a tripod

My head, it turns, it nods

Eyes, ears, nose and mouth are trained

But other senses not easily explained

Awake


One tree, and me, so ordinary

So plain, so same

But for one moment not

Now

And forever


Invisible roots dig deep

They creep and they seek

Necessary nourishment

To provide life, liberty

And the pursuit of soul spirit to the perimeter


Green ground ‘round a plucky trunk

Weather worn and hen-pecked

Slightly knotty, not overripe or rotted

It oozes spunk, no stupid junk

It is what it stands for


Fractal branches random radiate

Biceps, triceps, elbows grate

Forearms quiver, shiver, shake

When air affronts, grunts and quakes

Sway and swing with the rhyme of the season


Holding up hands of twigs and leaves

Reaching for light with heavenly heaves

Spirited

Agile

Free

Vulnerable like little children

Smug in their ignorance


A benign breeze, agitated

Provides contrary evidence

And gusts with such lust

That leaves from stems

Stems from twigs

Twigs from branches

Have their bodies plundered

On damp lightning nights

Rumbling with thunder


And the fragile fragments

Of my maturing mind

Unaware the crime of destined time

Like a tot’s tiny vice grip on mama’s hand

Have no choice but to let loose

Either to decompose and die

Or to spread their wings and fly


We are strong

We are sturdy

We are broken and bent

Knobby and gnarled

Bound by our foundations

Yet more free than we can see


It takes much to cut us down

To kill us from the outside

It takes little to slowly ruin us from within

Self-doubt, pout and fear

The tiny termites who live near


Protect within

One tree

And me

Akin


By Paul J. Hoffman

3/21/2015

Can cozies, bottle openers and stress balls … oh, my!

I picked up a few marketing items the other day.

Ordered myself a couple of stress balls that are really more of rounded-off stress cubes featuring the cover of my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: MerchandiseThe Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” on one face.

Also got some bottle openers emblazoned with my website, http://www.PaulHoffmanAuthor.com.

And finally, some can/bottle cooler-like cozies with the book cover and my website printed on them.

I haven’t figured out what all I’m going to do with them yet. I might offer them for sale, might do some giveaways. I’ve only ordered a few of each right now. I’ll probably get more later.

Earlier, I got myself a mouse pad and T-shirt with the book cover on them. Those were for my own use, although I could certainly order more. I also gave my mom a coffee mug with the book cover on it.

It’s pretty neat all the cool stuff you can get.

If you were me, what would you do with them? Post a message here, go to my Facebook author page and post a note there or email me at phof63@sbcglobal.net.

Variety of topics on tap at writers conference; and I’ll be presenting one of them

I’m thrilled to have been asked to give a presentation at the Spring Writers in Columbus, Indiana, on April 25. The conference will be held at the YES Cinema, 328 Jackson St., and will feature four speakers. Besides my talk, entitled “Researching Non-Fiction:  From personal interviews to document discovery,” the other topics presented will be “Breathing Life into Characters,” “Query Letters and the Novel Pitch,” and “Getting Published at Little or No Cost.”

The conference will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. I’ll be presenting from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Click here for all the details, including agenda, presenting author biographies and more: Writers Conf 2015 Yes Cinema Flyer

Hope to see you there!

Get a free book from a talented author!

Are you interested in a Christmas book giveaway?

My friend and fellow author, Michael John Sullivan, is conducting one such animal.

All you have to do is leave a comment below the story at his website to be eligible.My book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher” is one of the books you could win.

Mike says: “There are books available from these talented writers — Selena Robins, Maddie Ryan, Paul Hoffman, Barbara Robinson, Kathy Boyd Fellure, Kyrian Lyndon, Laurie Kozlowski, Susan Ricci, Jenn Nixon, and Michael John Sullivan. There are books available from many genres, too. Have some fun reading up on these talented writers.”

Even if you don’t win a free book, you may find some good ideas for Christmas presents … I’m just sayin’ …

I just figured out how to autograph an e-book!

And you thought your favorite author couldn’t put a personalized message on the e-book you bought! Don’t feel bad; I didn’t either.

But, I just signed up my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” to do just that. Go here to get it done. Read below or click here to find out more about Authorgraph.

Authorgraph makes it possible for authors to sign e-books for their readers. Really!

Getting an Authorgraph is easy:

  • Search or browse for your favorite authors or books
  • Click “Request Authorgraph” (you can include a short message to the author)
  • Receive an email when the author has signed your Authorgraph
  • View your Authorgraph in your favorite reading apps and devices

This is pretty cool.

https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/phof_author

Holiday special! Prices slashed!

Want to get a personally autographed copy of “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher” directly from the author, but you can’t manage the $20? 

Well, you’re in luck!

For a limited time, I’ve cut the price to $15. That’s right, just $15!

And that even includes 705BuddyPostcardpostage and handling.

Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Send me $15 per book (yes, you are allowed to buy more than one!)
  2. Send me your name and address.
  3. Tell me to whom to address my signature.
  4. Send payment via PayPal at phof63@sbcglobal.net OR send a check made payable to Paul Hoffman to  me at P.O. Box 2611, Columbus, IN 47201.
  5. If you see me in person, I probably have a book nearby. Just ask. And as long as I have my cell phone and Square reader with me, I’ll be able to accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

It is also possible to get the book in e-book format or through Amazon or Barnes & Noble or at your local bookstore. If they don’t have it in stock, just ask them to order it.

Don’t delay. Order today! Supplies aren’t limited yet, but they could be if I get a nice holiday rush.

Oh, and tell every single one of your friends about this fantastic offer, as well as 3 or 4 other people. It’s good for the planet probably.

One step closer to starting a screenplay

I finished reading Syd Field’s book, “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting,” yesterday.Syd Screenplay book004

This was the first big step for me in writing a screenplay based on my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher.”

The book explains how to go about writing a Hollywood-type script. All the nuts and bolts. Hopefully, I learned enough to put it into practice.

I plan to do a bit more research, as well as some planning of how the main characters will interact, how they will change throughout the script before I chart out the basics on 4×5 index cards.

There is a long way to go before I actually open up the scriptwriting software and start in earnest. But I’m on my way, and that’s more than I could say a few months ago.

Sterling North Book & Film Festival Photos

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This is my biography as it appeared in the preview section.

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The Edgerton Reporter produced a terrific, 24-page preview section of the 9th annual Sterling North Book and Film Festival on Sept. 27, 2014. I was honored to be chosen as one of the 17 presenting authors. This is the welcome message from Edgerton schools on Page 2. I was surprised and humbled that they chose to include me in this.

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I clean up fairly nice when I want to. This is the night of the authors’ reception, the day before the festival. My wife, Kimberly (background), always looks nice.

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They had T-shirts for sale for just $10, and I forgot to buy one!

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I presented a PowerPoint presentation on my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” twice. I was honored to have among the attendees, Sterling North’s daughter, Arielle North Olson, an author in her own right, and Deborah Blum, a columnist for the New York Times, a professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the author of books, including “The Poisoner’s Handbook.” That book was made into a PBS documentary.

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There must have been close to 50 authors (I should have gotten an exact count) selling books in the Edgerton High School gymnasium on Saturday.

K me speak

Here I am speaking at the authors’ reception on Friday night. My wife said I did a great job. If you disagree, argue with her.

K Me Sterling home

Here I am in front of Sterling North’s boyhood home in Edgerton. He is most well known for his children’s book, “Rascal,” about the adventures he had with a pet raccoon when he was 11 and living in this house.

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The organizers do a bang-up job raising funds throughout the year so they can afford to pay all these great authors (and filmmakers) to the event. They had a contest to see how many people could figure out where “Rascal” was photographed around Edgerton.

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Check out the fancy Sterling North Festival poster!

Here is a promo poster for the 9th Annual Sterling North Book and Film Festival, to be held next Saturday in Edgerton, Wisconsin. I’m excited and honoredSterling North 2014 poster to be one of the featured presenters at such a prestigious event.

Last year’s event featured the real Patch Adams, the doctor/clown/author whom late actor Robin Williams portrayed in the movie of that name.

I’ve been scheduled to do presentations on my book, Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” from 10-10:45 a.m. and 2-2:45 p.m. in Room 374 at Edgerton High School that day. See a full schedule of the day’s activities, as well as other information about the event at the Sterling North Book and Film Festival website.

The Festival gives otherwise unavailable access to authors and scholars while encouraging the exchange of ideas and values – it’s like having a back stage pass to all the best concerts!

This is a FREE family event that promotes literacy and the city of Edgerton. So, if you love your local library, you will definitely love this event!

I’m looking forward to meeting you at the festival!

Best-selling author digs ‘Murder in Wauwatosa’

It’s an honor to get a message from someone who enjoyed my book. “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterioud Death of Buddy Schumacher.” It’s extremely professionally gratifying when an author whose work I respect gives the book a glowing review.

New York author Michael John Sullivan recently posted a review of my book on Amazon.com. His trilogy — “Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness,” “Everybody’s Daughter” and “The Greatest Gift” — is fantastic. His books have been getting national attention and winning awards. He is also the author of a series of children’s books featuring the “Sockkids.” I was honored to have been asked to provide feedback for “The Greatest Gift” before it was published. When someone of this much talent and experience says he likes my book, I am humbled.

Here is what Mike has to say about “Murder in Wauwatosa:”

“Reporter/author Paul Hoffman goes to great lengths to examine one of Wisconsin’s most baffling murder mysteries. It’s obvious that Hoffman has extensive reporting background as he outlines the case from many angles, including a map that gives you a visual impression on where it happened.
“Hoffman discusses this horrific murder through many eyes and resources too. He discloses how he heard about this murder and why it’s fascinated him enough to write a book about it. The 1925 death of Buddy Schumacher is described skillfully. Hoffman even points out how the local media covered it and why they covered it the way they did.

“Hoffman does his own homework too. He performs extensive research, dusting off records and archives. It’s done with a professional standpoint giving you the impression that Hoffman may have given us the most complete account of a mystery that may never be solved.

“You need a strong heart to take this journey with Hoffman. But it’s well worth re-reading it to make sure you haven’t missed anything in the little details. It’s what makes Hoffman good at his craft.”

Thanks, Mike!