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Harley King


"The more I try to be perfect; 

the more I fail."








— Harley King


American Poet, Speaker, Storyteller


1949 —








Much of my life, I have tried to be perfect: the perfect son, the perfect student, the perfect husband, the perfect father, the perfect writer, the perfect speaker and the perfect employee.  But I failed every time.  I have never been able to live up to the image I had myself or that others had of me.





And most people can not live up to the images that other people have of them.  I am sure that you have favorite writers or artists whose work you love.  Yet, if you ever read a biography of the person, you realize that he was not as good in his personal life as you imagined  him to be.  All our heroes have clay feet.





It has taken me years, but I have made progress.  I worry less today about being perfect.  In fact, I have learned to celebrate my failures.  And to enjoy making mistakes.  It is okay to be human.





How about you?  Are you a perfectionist?  Are you trying to live up to the image that others have you?  Or have you let go of your need to be the perfect writer?  The perfect painter?  The perfect singer?  Do you celebrate your mistakes?





And to help us celebrate this summer, here are a few of my summer haiku.





lightning bugs


    flicker in the neighbor's lawn . . .


        another June gone





at the crack of the bat


    the crowd roars to its feet . . .


        full moon tonight





family picnic —


    lightning bugs


        among the voices





heat wave —


    sharing watermelon


        with friends





a monarch lights


    on my sweat-covered arm . . .


        and is gone

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