Book Review & Guest Post: Silence of Islands by W.M. Raebeck

Book Title:  Silence of Islands — Poems by W.M. Raebeck
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18 +),  170 pages
Genre:  Poetry
Publisher:  Hula Cat Press
Release date:   July 2020

Content Rating:  G. this book of poems is ‘grown-up’ but nothing violent, explicit, illegal, profane or hardcore.

Poetry for the summer day, poetry for the dark night. Poems that cut a walkable trail through the forest of life. Always with a nudge and a wink, “It’ll be okay.” This collection reflects a lifetime of nature, love, travel, death, joy, art, family, and the eternal questions. A potion of emotion to soothe and move you.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Silence of Islands is a book full of poetry that I enjoyed. The poems are all so different. They are about art, nature, travel, relationships, family, loss of loved ones, and more. You can feel her emotions throughout the years. These personal reflections of the author have the power to move the reader in one way or another.

Here’s a short, cute poem from May 22, 1989, when she was in Venice:

Trouble

Oooh we got trouble
size thirty Jeans
trouble at five foot eleven
trouble on that motorcycle
trouble in that kiss

Here comes trouble
with a capital T
Trouble
you’re trouble
total trouble

I love trouble

I think my favorite poem out of all of these is “Close Friends.” It’s a funny poem about friends and their interconnecting relationships.

I read Silence of Islands in one sitting, but I will keep it on hand to pick up occasionally to read a poem or two once in a while. I’m glad that the author decided to publish her poetry. It’s definitely worth a read.

Guest Post by W. M. Raebeck

“Always Wanted to do Yoga?”

      Way before my first yoga lesson in 1972, yoga always seemed ‘right’ to me. And after learning and practicing it a few decades, I wanted to go deeper. But the only avenue for more in-depth yoga—from asana variations, anatomy, and chakras to pranayama (breathing), meditation, gurus, Sanskrit, mudras (hand positions), and yogic philosophy and history—is teacher training. So, in 1997, I mustered the guts for that and never looked back.

      Later on, becoming a massage therapist, also, I always offered private yoga sessions on my business card. This led to discussions with people long interested but who’d never tried yoga. Hearing their complaints of stiffness, decreasing range of joint motion, or apprehensions about age, extra weight, and other limitations, I eventually came up with 4 key suggestions for how to start a yoga practice:

      1.  Start at the beginning.

      Bopping into a crowded 6 p.m. class at a trendy Main Street studio, you’re risking a) getting hurt, because the teacher doesn’t cater to beginners, b) being intimidated by buff 20-somethings in scant Lycra, and c) never going to another yoga class because “it’s just not for me” or “it was too hard” or “I got hurt.” Indeed, that class is NOT for you. You need either a true beginner class where you can learn the basics in a safe environment, and/or a warm, caring, old-school teacher who isn’t showing off his/her contours or sizing up potential soul-mates, but loves yoga, loves teaching it, and understands newbies. Not so complicated, but sometimes hard to find. This teacher will probably be female and over 45, but truly could be anybody.

      Seek out said instructor. Ask around for the right class. And check if a local college might offer a yoga course—schools are about education, and more likely to start from the beginning, plus might even have additional info about yoga as well as teaching the poses. If you’re over 50, a Senior Center can be a resource. I know…sounds frumpy, but they often offer ‘Senior Yoga,’ someplace you won’t get hurt, won’t get intimidated, and won’t be the only one in baggy pants. And whoever teaches Senior Yoga almost certainly teaches elsewhere, too, and will invite you to their ‘regular’ class nearby. Then you can be a normal yoga student who already knows the teacher.

      2.  Find a class near your home or workplace.

      Once you’ve broken the ice by attending a few classes—Senior Center, college, or wherever you find that safe, intro-type class—your next challenge is to continue going on a regular basis. Make that easy by finding a class nearby. If you have to drive 30 minutes to and fro, do you think you’ll always have time, always feel like it after a long day, and always be up for squeezing it in when there’s a dinner party that same night?

      3.  Start with once a week.

      Many think of ‘real’ yogis as boney, sarong-clad, deep-breathers in Himalayan caves. For weeks, without food, in full lotus. If this is your vision or your goal, you’re in the wrong hemisphere and the wrong century. Los Angeles, not India, is today’s world center for yoga. Think urban yogi, health food eater on a bike, yoga mat under arm. Forget the cave, denunciation, and turn-blue inhales. We’re not aiming for transcendence anymore (though it can be a pleasant side effect), just increased mobility, stress relief, and more peace. Practicing yoga isn’t extreme, it’s a cool 90 minutes you work into your week (once you find your sympatico teacher). The stakes aren’t that high, but the rewards can be.

      Commit to once a week. Buy the 10-class pass to save money, and Tuesday night becomes yoga night or Saturday morning is yoga morning. That’s how you develop a practice. You don’t move to Tibet or fast until your third eye is searing passers-by. A year or two from now, you may decide to go twice a week, but once a week is a legitimate, beneficial, affordable yoga practice.

      4.  You should love your yoga class.

      You should exit your class wearing a smile. Yoga is a great thing and doing it should make you feel good. If you feel grumpy, anxious, sad, hurt, or embarrassed during or after the class, find a better one. (There are a plenty of inadequate or ego-driven instructors to be avoided.) I’ve attended classes of over 100 different yoga teachers on my journey, most not wildly memorable, but some magnificent, and even magical. The best ones had plenty to offer.

      Take these tips and you’ll do FINE!

      Namaste.

. . . . . . . . .

About the Author

W. M. Raebeck‘s trademarks are humorous candor, spiritual stretching, and frequent exits from the comfort zone. She lives in Hawaii, with regular Mainland visits. Her 5 books to date are true-life accounts, from the misadventures of a sugar-freak hippie chick (‘I Did Inhale’), to 20 stories about art, Hollywood, and spirits (‘Stars in Our Eyes’), to trekking through the Costa Rican rainforest (‘Expedition Costa Rica’), to teaching yoga in Santa Monica (‘Some Swamis are Fat’),* and now her poetry collection, ‘Silence of Islands.’ Before authoring, Raebeck was a film and television actress based in LA, London, and NYC. She went on to freelance journalism, contributing to the then-alternative world of green politics, environmental protection, U.S. involvement in Central American wars, socially conscious investing, and much more. Her articles were always accompanied by her own photography, including numerous cover stories for the LA Weekly and other papers like the East Hampton Star from her former hometown. In Raebeck’s personal life, yoga and natural health (sugar notwithstanding) remain institutions. As is maintaining a zero-waste household. Animal rights and environmental activism are lifelong commitments, including all-too-frequent bird rescue. W. M. Raebeck’s books are available in print and ebook worldwide, and can be ordered from any book store or library. Audio editions are in the works! For additional info, or to join the email list, visit WendyRaebeck.com. Her next book, ‘Nicaragua Story—Back Roads of the Contra War,’ takes a hard look at a people’s war, and will be out in 2021. * ‘Some Swamis are Fat’ is under the pen-name Ava Greene.

Connect with the Author:   

 website   ~   facebook  ~  pinterest  ~  goodreads

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