Accomplishments 2017

Here’s what I accomplished in 2017.  I’m digging deep to create material you won’t find elsewhere–visual and written.

I wrote ten new pieces, gave my first poetry reading, made the photography exhibit CHARLESTON WANDERINGS, created a New Series of model photography exclusively using an iPhone camera; made twenty-five diorama pictures, and established an interactive Facebook presence, reaching new friends with my work.

Keep watch for exciting news in 2018. Readers: Pre-order my March 2018 book– all 100 copies will be reserved on a pre-published basis. Information page is here:

2017 output:

1. What a Deaf Cat Can Teach Us

2. A Poetry Reading in the Corporate Workplace

3. A Sunny Day on West Street

4. Embrace

5. A Genuine Moment in Time

6. Hidden House

7. The Family and the Empty Nester

8. The Hook of Respective Longevity

9. Find the Willing

10. Smack That Pivot

11. CHARLESTON WANDERINGS (photography exhibit)

12. A NEW SERIES (photography exhibit)

13. Model Dioramas 2017


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Model Dioramas 2017

Below are the dioramas I set in 2017. These pictures were made in the first 5 months of the year. After the month of May, I took a break to detail several tank models, and for the fall, I got involved in a new way of photographing models. Those were the subject of yesterday’s post.

The photographs below were set on my kitchen table or floor, and modified from there. The sets were built for the particular session and were struck within an hour or two. The camera used was my trusty Sony NEX 5N with the Zeiss 50mm prime lens.

Enjoy the worlds that dioramas bring to us!


























Thanks for looking!

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A New Series

A new series of model photographs. Below you’ll find fifty of my best model pictures, taken in a 3-month period from late September to late December 2017. These photographs are 1% of the total I shot for this project. I took over 5,000 handheld photos with my iPhone and worked them in Photoshop, MS Editor, and IrfanView to make simple, artistic images of the models I own. More detail will follow in the Summary below the pictures.

Photographs are shown in the order they were shot.



























































Summary (to come).



Posted in Photography, The Literate War | 1 Comment

Smack That Pivot

Do you remember what you did? It was a long time ago, forty-one years ago this December. I was eleven. You were what, thirteen, fourteen? I ask this because you were bigger, and in a higher grade. I wish you’d acted differently that day.

We were in the Wakefield Junior High School library. I’m sure you remember that place. It was a big room, with new industrial carpeting and rows and rows of drawers stuffed with cards. Each card had a hand-typed book title, author, and Dewey Decimal System code. My fingerprints were all over those cards, but yours weren’t, and I’m sure that was one of the reasons you punched me that morning.

Do you remember hitting me?

I was reading a book on the Flying Tigers and their service in China. I was getting my head around how the American Volunteer Group worked with the Chinese to beat the odds. How were the Chinese to survive the Japanese incursion? What motivated the Americans to help? Was it the $500 per plane bounty, as paid by the Chinese government, or was this the chance for men with spotty records to make something of themselves, for their future, now that they were a little more grown-up?

That was the book I was reading, the day of your sucker-punch.

I was sitting at a large, four-place reading table, alone with my book. You were with two other boys, across the aisle from me. I heard one boy, presumably your leader, say to you, “smack that fag with the pretty face.” I didn’t see you coming. I had my nose in the book. And you punched me, just once. You hit my shoulder as hard as you could, then you walked back to your table.

I’m sure you were greeted a hero. I sat as still as possible, my nose in the book, my eyes on the words I was sure contributed to my classification and punishment. And I cried. I used the book’s covers to hide my face and my shock. My face wouldn’t look so pretty to your friend any more.

My shoulder screamed, for sure. But no one can hear tissue ache. No one can hear blood race. Humiliation makes no sound. Confusion is quiet.

I didn’t turn the page for minutes. I just stared at the words ‘AND THE MEN TRIED TO CONTAIN THE FIRE, AND THE MEN TRIED TO CONTAIN THE FIRE, AND THE MEN TRIED TO CONTAIN THE FIRE’, waiting for the bell, for the free reading period to be over, and to get back to my class and to the kids who didn’t do this.

The bell rang, but you were back. I saw you come over from the corner of my eye, and stop right where you’d snuck up on my table. I kept the book open in front of me and waited. You were not going to make me hurt any more than you had. You were not going to shock me, or surprise me. You might be a lingering thorn, a new enemy, but my apex of harm had been reached.

“I’m sorry,” you said. “I’m sorry I made you cry.” So my tears were evident, I hadn’t known that. I was sure my ears were redder than a fire truck. You sat down next to me. I didn’t look and I didn’t move but I could see you were leaning on the table. You rested your head on your hand, your fist at different utility now.

“He dared me to do it,” you said.

My fire truck ears were listening.

“He’s a jerk,” you said. “You okay?”

I wiped my face with my hand and nodded.

You stood up. “Look. If you ever need help, if you ever need a hand, I’ll help you, okay?” You thought a bit, waited a moment, and then left. You sprinted up the stairs to where the 7th and 8th graders took class. My 6th-grade exit was through another door.

I ask again, do you remember? Because it occurred to me much later in life that you were something like the men I was reading about just then. Some of those American volunteers had crossed the line with the law or with military authority, and were making a change in a foreign land. They’d screwed up back home and were looking for a new start. Perhaps the China-Japan war was the pivot point for those men. Maybe, in the library on that day in 1976, you pivoted, too.


Pre-order Ara’s 4th book here, to be published March 2018:



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UPDATE 12/13/2017: Photography, artwork thumbnails, and tentative story list have been posted.

Exciting news—I’m now accepting pre-orders for my 4th book!

I’m producing a collection of my best short and mid-length stories from the last five years, work which has never been published on paper—thirty in all. Each story has an artwork or photograph, which will appear with the story. That’s thirty color plates of original material. The price will be $19.95 delivered in the USA, and $27.95 international.

I’m publishing 100 copies in the first run, all of which will be sold on a pre-order basis.

All you have to do: Post a comment saying you would like a copy, and I will respond with your pre-order number and will add you to the list.

No money is needed at this time. Once I have enough orders (sometime in the March 2018 timeframe), I will let you know the money is due. You will receive your signed copy in about 2 weeks after payment. Anticipated publication date is March 2018.

If you buy two or more copies (I personalize and gift-ship), I will include 5 of my photo greeting cards in your order, a $20 value.

This printing will be limited to 125 copies, so all sales will be upfront as pre-orders. This allows me a handful of copies for promotional use. I do not plan for sales after publication.

Basic details are: 5.5” x 8.5” softcover, approximately 150 pages plus 30 color pages, 5 fiction stories / 25 non-fiction, (no poetry), professionally designed cover, perfect-bound with the best paper and glossy cover stock.

Below you’ll find the preliminary list of subject titles. I am very excited to bring this material to life! Will you support me in this project? It only works if we reach the goal of 100 pre-orders.

BOOK STORY LIST (tentative)

A Sunny Day on West Street (fiction, with photograph)

Hatsuyo’s Lasting Impression (with artwork- Hiko)

Utican (with artwork of the same name)

The Wheels of Time Grind Slowly But Fine (with artwork of the same name)

What a Deaf Cat Can Teach Us (with photograph)

This Man (with photograph)

Goodbye to a Friend (with photograph)

Memorial Day parts 1, 2, and 3 (with model photography)

“Do You Think Less of Me?” (with artwork- City)

Fork in the Road (with photograph)

Her Painted Room (with photograph)

In The Hallway (fiction, with artwork- The Shelleron)

The Cryless Class (fiction, with photograph)

The Glass Lady of Los Angeles (with photograph)

The Legacy (fiction, with photograph)

Smack That Pivot (with artwork- Wisdom)

My Kind (with photograph)

Extend (with photograph)

Hidden House (with photograph)

Fragile Life (with artwork- August No. 8)

Embrace (with artwork of the same name)

Find The Willing (with artwork- Joined)

Boy Talk (fiction, with photograph)

The Hook of Respective Longevity (with photograph)

The Family and the Empty Nester (with photograph)

Trace Renee (with photograph)

The Agreeable Man (with artwork- Medallion)

Who Carries The Show? (with artwork- The Carney)

Uncautious (with artwork of the same name)

Depression-Era Artifacts Found in a Wall (multi-part; with photographs)

Samples of images for the March 2018 book:

Photos sized

Artwork for book 3x



Posted in Book | 4 Comments

Find The Willing

It’s not enough to reach out. It’s not enough to want, or to wish.

There’s a man in Norway who’s made a friend in Scotland. He’s in his 60’s; she is about that age too. Both their spouses have passed away.

These two people, the Norwegian and the Scot, are daily supports for each other. They’re good friends via Skype and email. She hosts him on his bi-annual trip to the UK. He performs some technical repairs for her farm; she gathers and holds items he enjoys collecting. Their introduction? The Scot had known the widower’s wife. And today, two people, from entirely different worlds, are friends.

Their friendship wasn’t created because they were both close to the same woman. Their joining is not out of regard or respect for the deceased wife. There is much more credit to their bond. They took a page from the young: They each found someone who was willing.

How nice it must be, to know that someone cares about your well-being.

How nice it must feel, to hear the phone ring or find a message waiting.

How good it is to give, when someone values what you’re offering.

How good, to be in someone’s thoughts.

To be greeted, acknowledged, smiled at.

Spoken to, with regard.

Waited for.

Have you noticed, and do you remember? Children tend to make friends easily, while older people sometimes find their friend count dwindle over time. This dynamic can be explained in simple terms: While older people may be interested in attracting new friends, kids focus on appeal.

Kids make themselves appealing by showing up at a friend’s house with a baseball and two gloves.

A kid will tell another he’s his best friend.

A kid will really care about who she sits next to in the cafeteria.

It’s too easy for an older person to be just fine eating alone. There are other contrasts too: Older people talk about when it would be a good time to get together, while children just show up and knock. The concept may be oversimplified but there is truth to it. In the context of companionship, seeking is passive.

Older adults can learn much from children. Kids won’t organize a class or refer their elders to textbooks. They won’t summarize in a Powerpoint what works for them. There’s no Brain Shark tutorial on their form of natural wellspring.

Adults can scale-up the child’s form of friendship, and for all ages, it boils down to this: I want your special kind of attention. There is room in my life for you. This wagon isn’t moving unless you’re in it. I’m not okay if you’re unhappy. I will look for you when I enter the room. I will miss you when you’re away. I’ll keep your words and thoughts in my heart.

Active people find the willing. Action isn’t physical mobility; it’s your desire to be open to another, and your commitment beyond your self. What comes naturally to the young can be learned by the old.


Ara Hagopian’s third book is out now:

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She Runs

She was a new car once. She was scrutinized, negotiated, fawned over, and loved. This gray Plymouth Valiant Signet was shiny, true and new, over fifty years ago. Today she runs as a beater on Manhattan Beach’s posh streets, the plaything of an uncautious man.

In 1963, she had a life, a function, and a family to carry to school. She took dad to work and mom to the grocery store. She won the Society of Illustrators’ Styling Award and was part of a record sales year.

The years ground on, the Sixties gave way to the Seventies and this special gray car discovered the road felt harder as she dried out and aged. Her owners waxed and then waned, died off or gave up caring very much. Today she just gets along, never bothered being locked, never bothered being stolen, gassed up for just a few dollars at a time, hasn’t seen a full tank since Nixon.


Ara Hagopian’s third book is out now:

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