As an actor I have been lucky to be in over a hundred plays.
Sometimes the audience likes my work.
And sometimes they don’t.
Sometimes they laugh and clap.
Sometimes they fidget and cough.
But sometimes there is that magical symbiosis that happens with just the right audience.
Where they are listening to every word.
Understanding everything you want them to understand.
It’s a dance.
Just humans in one room.
I first met Robert Stone when he came to see a play I was in.
This tall, older, cheerful man came up to me after the show and told me how much he liked my performance.
Then he came to see another play.
And then another.
Sometimes he told me he liked my work.
Sometimes he told me he liked the last play better.
That was 25 years ago.
I have never had dinner with Robert.
I have never been to his house.
I am not really even sure what his job is.
I believe he is retired now.
But I heard a rumor once that it had something to do with printing checks.
All I know was that if I was in a play, he would do his best to be there.
Other actors and directors told me the same thing.
They could always count on Robert.
No matter how few people came to see their plays, Robert would be there.
He is the consummate audience.
Then one day he sent me a sonnet he had written.
And then another.
Sonnets flowed out of this man.
Turned out the audience is a poet.
Then one day I happen to mention to Robert on Facebook, that in a thousand days I would be 50 years old.
That day Robert posted on my page a haiku he had written celebrating the occasion.
Then the next day he posted another.
And so on and so forth.
For 500 days the man wrote and wrote.
Sometimes the haikus were inspired by something going on in my life.
Sometimes they were inspired by what was going on in his.
For a period he wrote a series of lines inspired by e. e. Cummings, then the Tao Te Ching, and finally Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Soon bloggers picked up on them.
And these ‘little celebrations’ of another day lived were all over the internet.
Which brings me to the book you are now holding.
It contains the first 500 haikus he’s written as part of his 1,000 day challenge.
It obviously won’t be his last book.
The poor man is only halfway there.
I hope you enjoy our journey.
Jan 24th, 2013