Issaquah author bares soul in book of romantic poetry

December 18, 2012

By David Hayes

‘The Heart of the Phoenix’

Growing up, Ron Howard (of Issaquah, not of Hollywood fame) was quite the loner in high school, adhering to a stereotypical Goth lifestyle.

“I wore dark clothes, was moody, depressed, the whole nine yards,” he said.

With limited human contact until starting a relationship with his first girlfriend, Howard discovered he was best able to share his feelings for her in writing.

“I began writing poetry for her, expressing feelings I was not good at vocalizing, that I’d kept bundled up inside,” he said.

Now, 25 years after high school and a quarter century more experienced at the game of love, Howard has published his third book of poems, “The Heart of the Phoenix.” It’s his first under his pen name.

Being there was already a famous Ron Howard, he decided to write his latest collection of romantic poetry under an assumed pen name. He decided upon Jaxson Phoenix.

Howard said Jaxson pays homage to his hometown of Jackson, Fla. The last name is a tribute to his own spirit.

“I’ve crashed and burned so many times, yet have risen up each time from the ashes, it seemed appropriate to adopt the phoenix as my spirit guide,” he said.

The book is divided into three sections mapping his journey through how love is expressed — The Heart of the Phoenix (expressions of his feelings through rhythm and rhyme), Passion of the Phoenix (a more intimate look at his passionate and erotic works) and Letters from the Phoenix (actual correspondence with his beloved).

On the Web

Jaxson Phoenix’s book of romantic poetry, ‘The Heart of the Phoenix,’ is available at Amazon.com or through his publish-on-demand parent company, Publish America.

Having honed his craft by sharing his poems and reading that of others on websites such as FanStory.com, Howard has no illusions about his art.

The way he sees it, more people probably read poetry than purchase it. So, his book was never about total sales.

“Most of the more successful poets are dead,” he admitted. “You’re never really famous until you’re gone.”

Instead, his book of romantic poetry is more of an outlet he hopes helps touch others.

“It keeps me sane at home,” he said. “It purges the soul of demons that lurk in all of us. I put these lines to paper to allow an escape.”

Howard’s wife, Rae, also writes poetry, most recently under her own pen name, Scarlet Whisper.

“But she writes much more dark poetry. Her previous husband was very abusive, and writing was an outlet for her,” Howard said.

As a result of sharing their styles, they’ve both been able to grow into better writers in their own genres, he said.

Having met his wife online, they eventually moved their blended family west. Howard settled in Issaquah after a friend helped create a position for him in the administrative department at Spacelabs Healthcare Inc., which became a permanent position a few months after his wife and their combined five kids arrived here.

Unlike typical authors who set aside designated times to ply their craft, Howard said the germ of an idea may hit him at any time for his next poem.

“One time I was walking to work at 4 a.m. and something struck me,” he said. “I had to hurry to work and immediately write it down before the thought was lost.”

Collating his various completed thoughts, usually quickly scribbled in longhand onto the nearest sheet of paper, proved to be a chore for his latest book. Regardless, he believes he has something that can be enjoyed by a wide audience — essentially a book of romantic poetry for anyone who loves romance.

“You can get lost in it,” he said. “Romantic poetry is for anyone who doesn’t have it in their lives. They can experience it in this book and regain the hope that love is still out there. I know it finds me most when I’m not looking for it.”

Howard has a different definition for his book’s successful bottom line.

“I have no illusions that I’ll get to retire off this or be the next J.K. Rowling,” he said. “If I can sell 50 copies, I’d be happy with that. I just want to share more of my soul with whoever wants to read.”

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