A Video Trailer For A Haiku Poem

[youtube url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmWDwbWHe2U]

After I decided to publish a daily haiku poem on Tumblr, I started writing haiku poems for submission. My first acceptance and publication was “Changing Winter” for Poetry Haiku (Winter Issue 2013). My second acceptance was five haiku poems for “Words Fly Away: Poems for Fukushima” (Spring 2014), a poetry anthology about the March 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. The editor posted YouTube videos of poets reading their Fukushima poems. Last week I put together a video trailer.

Unlike the other poets who read aloud their poems in front of a video camera, I wasn’t going to do that. If I read all five haiku poems that I submitted, the video would be very short and very uninteresting. A 30-second video trailer to introduce my haiku and the anthology was a better approach to promoting both.

“Fukushima Seeps” was the easiest of the five haiku to adapt into a video with the last line being about Godzilla, our favorite kaiju who routinely stomps Tokyo whenever mankind does something incredibly stupid, say, building a nuclear reactor in the path of a tsunami. With the new Godzilla movie coming out in May 2014, this became a fun little video to put together.

On a piece of paper, I broke down the video into a script.



“Fukushima Seeps”

White text on black background.
Fade in Godzilla theme soundtrack.


A Haiku Poem by C.D. Reimer

White text on black background.


Fukushima Seeps

White text over still picture of blown nuclear reactor.


Poisons Pacific Ocean

White text over still picture of Pacific Ocean radiation exposure.


Here Comes GODZILLA!

White text over black background.


Godzilla coming out of ocean still picture.
Fade in and out Godzilla roar soundtrack above theme soundtrack.


Read “Fukushima Seeps”
& Other Haiku Poems by C.D. Reimer

White text over black background.


“Words Fly Away: Poems for Fukushima”

White text over black background.


Spring 2014

White text over black background.


“Godzilla” © 1954 Toho Co. Ltd
All Other Copyrights Belong To Their Respective Owners.

White text over black background.


“Fukushima Seeps” Haiku & Video
Copyright © 2014 C.D. Reimer

Fade out Godzilla theme soundtrack.


After I scoured the Internet for still pictures and Godzilla soundtracks for an hour, I put the video together in two hours with my MacBook and iMovie. This was my first time using iMovie, so I spent an hour learning how to use the program and one hour completing the video. Satisfied with the results, I uploaded the video to Tumblr and YouTube.

“Winter’s Tale” Becomes A Movie

[youtube url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v24hp2b97WQ]

After I graduated from the eighth grade, I spent three months in the ninth grade and three days in the tenth grade. The first time I quit high school was from being overweight, high blood pressure and ulcers, as going to school was too stressful and killing me. The second time I quit high school was when the guidance counselor tried to enroll back into the special ed classes—the school got three times more funding for each special ed student—in exchange for a locker to store my 30 pounds of textbooks, which I dumped on her desk and walked out. I became a shut in during my high school years. My only link to the outside world was public television, magazines, newspapers and books.

During those pre-Internet days, the book review section of the San Jose Mercury News was four to six pages long. I read each review with great interest. If I found a book that I wanted to read, I cut out the review and handed it to my mother to take to Crown Books (a discount bookstore chain). Since I came from a family of non-readers, my mother would give the review to a clerk to find and ring up the book for her.

One such book was “Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin about a magical and wondrous New York City at the turn of century, 1899-1900 and 1999-2000. Peter Lake runs away from the gang he betrayed and escapes on a magical white horse, finds the love of his life while burgling a mansion, and gets hurled into the apocalyptic future as the millennium comes to an end.

My favorite scene came from the latter half of the novel.

After the father of a prominent San Francisco family passed away, his two sons are sitting in front of the attorney’s desk for the reading of the will. The city is waiting with anticipation to see how the estate would get divided. The responsible brother was given the choice of accepting magnificent wealth or a silver platter. The responsible brother laughed, recognizing his father’s sense humor while the irresponsible brother squirmed in the chair next to him. He takes the silver platter without hesitation, stunning both his brother and the city. With only the clothes on his back and a backpack to carry the silver platter, he’s hitchhike across the United States to New York City.

That scene became somewhat symbolic of what happened after my father passed away two years ago. My brother took possession of the truck and tools, I took possession of the paperwork. Having previously owned my father’s old car and spent five years figuring out every little repair job he did that I had to professionally fix, I’m familiar with the expensive heartache that the truck brings to my brother. From unraveling the paperwork like a treasure map, it was scary to see how much my father and I think alike.

A few weeks ago I saw the trailer for “Winter’s Tale” without knowing that it got made into a movie. A white horse walking into New York City, a man running away from a gang. I got goose bumps from watching the trailer before the movie title was ever presented. I’m rarely excited about seeing any movie these days, staying away from the hype and keeping my expectations low. This movie I’m looking forward to seeing in a few weeks.

Three Great Typewriter Movies

The “10 Memorable Spy Novel Film Adaptations” appeared on the Huffington Post. Glancing through the article and the related video, I noticed one glaring exception on this list. “Hopscotch” by Brian Garfield, which he adapted for a 1980 comedy movie with Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson, was missing. I posted a comment protesting this oversight with a link to the trailer. The comment never got past the moderator. The few comments that did appear weren’t very enlightening. On that note, I decided to put together my list of three great typewriter movies.

Yes, Virginia, typewriters.

Those ancient devices that writers slaved over in isolation before the invention of word processors and laptops made writing in coffee houses fashionable again. A great typewriter movie appeared every four years from the mid-1970 to the mid-1980. As the typewriter became less ubiquitous in society, its starring role in the movies declined over the years. If a typewriter does make an appearance, it’s always tucked away in a corner to gather dust.

1. All The President’s Men (1976)


Set in the newsroom of the Washington Post during the Watergate scandal, typewriters were everywhere as Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) unraveled the criminal conspiracy that forced President Richard Nixon to resign from office in disgrace.

When I wrote my still unpublished first novel from 2007 to 2008, I had “All The President’s Men” playing in the background as I sat at the typewriter. The constant rhythm of the click-clack kept me focus, especially when my typewriter fell silent from figuring out what to do next with the novel.

2. Hopscotch (1980)


After an old CIA agent, Miles Kendig (Walter Matthau), gets punished with a desk job for letting his Russian counterpart go free in West Germany, he plots revenge by writing his memoirs to expose the CIA’s “dirty tricks” division and mailing each chapter to all the intelligence agencies. With the assistance of his Austrian girlfriend, Isobel von Schoenenberg (Glenda Jackson), and her manual typewriter, he stays one step ahead in a Cold War game of hopscotch.

I recently read the novel for the first time. The major change between the book and the movie is keeping Isobel as a central character in movie and eliminating the one night stands as Kendig slept his way through the novel. Having seen the movie years before I read the novel, I enjoyed the movie better than the novel even though they are both similar.

3. Romancing The Stone (1984)


A lonely romance writer, Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner), receives a treasure map in the mail and a phone call from her kidnapped sister to come to South America, beginning a romantic adventure where she meets jungle explorer Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas) and together they search for the stone.

I was always fascinated by the opening scene with the sexy hero freeing the sultry heroine in an Old West bodice ripper that transitions to the writer weeping over her typewriter as she types THE END on the last page. I too have wept over my typewriter, usually on a blank page. This movie always gave me hope that being a writer can lead to having larger-than-life adventures.

The 75th Anniversary of The Hobbit

This week is the 75th anniversary of “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien. I actually had to check the Wikipedia article to confirm that the publication date for “The Hobbit” was, in fact, 1937. (“The Lord of The Rings” wasn’t published until after World War II in the early 1950’s.) Since the trailer for the new movie has been airing on the big and small screens, I also had to check to see that “The Hobbit” had 13 dwarves with so many similar names. I have read “The Hobbit” once as young child and again as a teenager, and LOTR once as a teenager, but that was 30 years ago.


As an eight-grader, I read “J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography” by Humphrey Carpenter for a book report. My Language Arts instructor warned me that it was a difficult book to read. And it was, but not because of the language. (I would later be tested that school year to have a college-level reading comprehension even though the school system had me classified as being mentally retarded and an idiot to boot.) I had no historical framework of the early 20th century to put everything into perspective. When I read the biography again a few years ago, everything fell into place as I’ve been reading extensively about history and literature in that time period. My instructor gave me an A-grade even though I only reported on the first one-third of the biography.

Would I read the books again now that they are available as ebooks? Maybe, maybe not.

I was never a serious J.R.R. Tolkien fan. Perhaps the language was high-brow for my taste. I’m more of a David Eddings fan, having read “The Belgariad” six times and “The Malloreon” three times. The language in these two series are low-brow for sure, especially since I want to take a red pen to cross out all the adverbs in the early books. I like my fantasy down to earth and away from the ivory towers of academia.

The Rock Bottom Remainders Final Swan Song

This week on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, the literary rock band, The Rock Bottom Remainders, played their final performance. Following the death of Kathi Kamen Goldmark, who founded the band with some really famous authors—Stephen King, Amy Tan, Scott Turow, Dave Berry and many others—20 years ago, they had their final concert at the American Library Association convention this past June.


The outsized personality of the band has always been Stephen King. A biography about him quoted a band member saying that if the tour bus ever crashed and everyone died, the headlines would say, “Stephen King and 30 Others Dead”.

The first guest being interviewed was Stephen King, promoting his newest book, “The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel” (the eighth book in the series). This book better be good. Like many readers of the Dark Tower series, we were finally relieved to finish the series with book seven. The circular ending that links the seventh book to the first book was an interesting but not satisfying ending for a great quest.


He talked about a short story called “The Lady’s Room,” where husbands are left stranded outside as their wives disappeared inside and were helpless to do anything about, that he left unfinished because he couldn’t figure out what went on inside the lady’s room.

Seriously, the literary master can’t finish this story? His mother never took him in the lady’s room when he was a small child?

Having been forced many times by my mother into the lady’s room at Gemco in the early 1970’s, sometimes kicking and screaming as she took my hand to force me through that sinister door, I know exactly what goes on in the lady’s room.

  1. For little boys, your eyes must always be on the worn black-and-white floor tiles to avoid seeing fat bearded ladies do makeup and/or smoke cigarettes.
  2. You must turn your back on your mother to study the flaking lead paint on the stall door before she can mount the ivory throne.
  3. You MUST ignore all sounds as a tentacle monster from deep inside the toilet bowl sexually assaults your mother. If you cry or throw a fit, a squishy thing will press you flat against the stall door.
  4. You exited the lady’s room in a daze, wondering if your mother was still your mother and not a monstrosity in disguise.
  5. Unless you become a writer as an adult, you will NEVER EVER REMEMBER what happened inside the lady’s room and stand around clueless when your wife takes your little boy into the lady’s room.

If Stephen King can’t finish a story like that, I might as well. Heck, I might even submit it to The New Yorker and win an O. Henry award.

Write, Revise, Submit, Repeat

Note: This is a special blog post for the “My Best Advice to New Writers” blogfest organized by Peevish Penman.


If you want to be a prolific short story writer like Ray Bradbury, who wrote 400+ short stories during his long career, you need to write, revise, and submit your short story. And then write the next short story and submit that. You need to keep on writing and submitting your short stories until you have so many manuscripts floating around in the slush piles that a handful of rejection slips in one day won’t faze you. If you’re going to be a short story writer, rejections will always be waiting for you like a dear old friend waiting for you to buy him a drink on payday.

Most new writers stop writing after the first submission and wait to be discouraged by the inevitable rejection slip that arrives six weeks later in the snail mail—or the next morning, if submitting by email. Discouragement will make writing the next short story more difficult. Unless you’re one of those literary writers who must take ten years to write that next prize-winning masterpiece, you can outrun discouragement by writing and submitting as often as you can.

I wrote a dozen short stories each year for the last five years. Sometimes the stories came one at a time, with a month or two going by before the next one demanded to be written. Other times I have short stories raining down like fish from out of the sky, which can be quite overwhelming if you’re not ready for the deluge. No matter how fast or slow a short story arrives, I get it written and submitted ASAP. If a short story returns home with constructive criticism on the manuscript page or rejection slip, I make the revisions and kick it out the door.

My first short story wasn’t accepted until two years after I started writing. By then I had a dozen short stories in circulation and a hundred rejection slips. My second short story wasn’t accepted until a year-and-a-half later. By then I had a four-dozen short stories in circulation and another hundred rejection slips. And then something happened. My writing and editing got better. The floodgates were open. I had a dozen short stories accepted for publication in magazines and anthologies in the last nine months.

Even now I still have 35+ short story manuscripts in circulation. I’m still too busy with writing—and sometimes trying to keep track of everything—to be discouraged by rejection slips. That doesn’t mean I don’t take the rejection of some submissions more personally than others. Whenever I’m disappointed that The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction or Weird Tales haven’t accepted my wonderful short story, I allow myself a fifteen-minute hissy fit. But only for fifteen minutes. I’m too busy with writing, revising and submitting my short stories to do anything else.