WHAT I DO
Eleven-time Chicken Soup for the Soul contributing author
I'm currently working on a series of illustrated children's books.
And Loving It!
I can do such strange things with my voice, people have been known to flee the recording studio, fearing I have become possessed.
I don't know how people who say they can't sing and never try survive in this world. If I couldn't, I would shrivel up and die within a week.
Some stuff I've done
I'm a writer, songwriter, singer and voice artist. My writings have been featured in ten Chicken Soup for the Soul books and numerous other books such as Life Freshly Squeezed, Conquering Life's Challenges and magazines like Black Belt, Inside Kung Fu, Nostalgia and Whole Life Times.
You may have found this page because of my poem about grieving, How We Survive. I wrote it in 1995, shortly after the death of my brother. I get a lot of messages from people who have lost loved ones, asking how much I charge for its use. (Actually, most people don't even bother to ask.) But because of the nature of the poem, and because I have always felt privileged that something I wrote would serve such a high purpose (honoring the departed), I have always given it away for free. However, because it is a "product", and because I now have a family to support (two daughters under five years old who eat a lot. It's kind of frightening, actually), I now humbly request, if you would like to use or reprint the poem, that you consider a voluntary donation of any amount that you feel the poem is worth to you. My Paypal address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also leave a message in the form at the bottom of this page and let me know. Thanks.
Anyway, on with the bragging! (Hey, who else is gonna do it?)
Black Belt magazine ended a 20+ year ban on fiction to print my story, The Master's Short-Lived MMA Career. (PDF copies available upon request.)
I recently wrote the first six one-hour episodes for the upcoming TV western series, Big Sky.
I also co-authored The Other Belfast, my father's memoir about growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland between 1935 and 1957 before that town became known for all the wrong reasons. It is the story of a child's struggle to bond with a distant father, to survive the schoolyards and streets where boys emulated "hard men" role models, to understand the divisions between the Irish people, and to simply be a child in a rough and tumble world. From the sublime joys of love and friendship, to the terror of nighttime bombing raids by the German Luftwaffe during World War II, The Other Belfast is a journey of the spirit into a long-forgotten world as seen through the eyes of an adventurous and irrepressibly joyful child.
I recently completed writing a part memoir, part instructional, part self-help book titled Bullied - The Education of a Martial Artist about going from a bullied kid to a troubled teenager to a happy adult, told through the prism of martial arts training and philosophy. But it's not only about self-defense and will not bore you with sequence shots about how to disassemble someone. It's about seeking harmony in an often disharmonious world, my love letter to humanity, and an attempt to leave this world more peaceful than it was when I arrived. The first person who read it said, "It changed my life." It will be published soon. Wish me luck! :)
I wrote the lyrics and melodies (and sang) 15 original songs for children and parents for my CD, Great Big World, recorded at Score LA Recording Studio with Grammy-nominated composer Rick Balentine. The CD was later signed to a record label. It can be purchased online at www.markrickerbymusic.com
My song Would I Have Done It? was recorded by singer Bob Rawleigh.
A short film called Goal! based on a short story of mine won first prize and $20,000.00 in Bravo's annual short film script contest.
I did some animation voices and audio dialogue replacement for the docudrama God the Father. It's probably the only time this California boy will be able to pretend to be a mafioso.
I performed lead vocals for the Patriot Guard theme song, When Johnny Comes Flying Home, written by Patriot Guard Leader Chuck Johnson, and composed by Rick Balentine of Score LA Studio. I also wrote a song titled I'm a Soldier that I hope will help soldiers suffering with PTSD. Both songs can be heard at www.socalveteran.com/i-m-a-soldier
THE OTHER BELFAST
"I find it almost impossible to praise The Other Belfast highly enough. On almost every level, I honestly don't have the vocabulary for it. Your writing is superb. Absolutely superb. The stories, engaging and profound enough on their own levels. The research. The layout. The virtual framing of the whole piece. The choice of style, prose and temperament of the entire thing works on so many levels. The monumental effort has produced a monumental piece of work. Not once did I falter, pause or have to push myself through a slower or less engaging chapter. The changing formats keep the eyes and subconscious from lapsing into the familiar, and it works on you subconsciously, the formats embellishing and adding variation to a life just as colorful. It is a wicked piece of work. Seriously, you have arrived at a level of mastery, and it's writing of the highest possible caliber. You've truly become a writer that transcends an already formidable toolbox. There are few writers out there that can do it. Instead of thinking of poetic modifiers to color or describe a world, the world you both have created literally redefines the adjective. No small trick. No trick at all. I can't even begin to fathom how many times you've combed through this thing, tweaked and re-tweaked, cut and recut, decided to edit then realize you were right in the first place. The amount of time it took for the book to breathe and find it's own voice; one that was neither yours or your father's; one independent of the hammers and nails that went into its construction. I cannot possibly give you any higher praise, or your father. It's one hell of a kilroy, mate. Humbled."
- Colin Cunningham, actor
"Reading "The Other Belfast" is a lot like having a distant relative or an older neighbor come over for coffee and a chat. This is a slice of life sort of book that I savored. Instead of picking this book up and plunging straight on to the end, I found myself wanting to sample it, bit by bit. Rickerby's tales remind me of listening to my uncles chatting with my parents over card games and cocktails in our backyard. Sleeping in a bunk bed, I would crack open the bedroom window and fall asleep listening to their tales - some were rather 'tall', others were brutish, while the most interesting of all were about long ago romances. Rickerby's stories are much the same, recounting a lifetime of experiences and adventures and characters in a way that made me want to lean in to hear more. I was particularly interested because my mother's family is from Ireland, but unlike my father's Italian relatives, I know next to nothing about the Irish side. For me, this was a vicarious romp through an Irish family's life - warts and all, and it could well have been much like my own. Pick this book up and give it a read, I think you will be pleased. What is better, after all, than a warm cuppa and a listen to good tale on a chilly night?"
- Bernice Foster
"A great read for anyone with a link to Belfast. This is the side of Belfast we rarely hear about; the friendly people, the laconic sense of humour and the great craic. An easy read and very enjoyable."
- Alison Aldersea
GREAT BIG WORLD (CD)
"Just amazing. One heck of an accomplishment. Your voice is perhaps the biggest surprise to me. Your writing has never been a shock, but your voice has been worked and honed and (it feels like) taken some exceptionally good lessons. The vehicle supports the message superbly."
- Colin Cunningham, Actor
"The venue and originality of this CD and music is as unique to the audience as I've ever seen. Very well done and creates a wholesome environment for the whole family to listen to. Congrats on a great CD!"
- Chuck Johnson, Vietnam veteran, S.E.R.E. trainer, Patriot Guard Leader
"Heart-warming and fun! This is a wonderful first album. It's a creative mix of musical styles with lyrics that are thought-provoking and inspire a range of emotions. You will laugh, smile and tear up. The album lends itself to both adults and kids. Love it!!"
- Susan Lummis, singer
"I come to Mark Rickerby's writings periodically, and each time I come away feeling a gamut of emotions, but the main one is warmth that stems from his love of humanity and verve for life. Mark always sees more than what appears on the surface, and he makes a point of revealing what he finds hidden and hypocritical. He examines with intelligence the human circumstance, his travels (both physical and mental), and shares his own experiences with insight, humor, the courage of his convictions, and wisdom. I leave his work always thinking . . . wanting to make a difference in life, and always with a smile, or a tear, expanding my own sense of heart. My words probably don't do justice in expressing my admiration for one of the most emotive, provocative, and profound writers I've ever encountered. His writings will encourage you to step outside yourself, to love and explore life passionately, compassionately, and more fully."
- Karen Harris
"You write with such clarity and feeling, you can make the readers remember THEIR feelings down to the smallest details. That is the mark of a true writer. I think the greatest compliment I ever received was by a fellow who said "You got a knapsack full of living, boy." I pass that on to you. You have that same knapsack, and the way you can reach into it and pull out the memories is worthy of applause. You certainly have mine."
- Michael Mack
"Holy God. This is one of the most powerful poems I have ever read. You have captured faith, doubt, strength and weakness so deftly that I was swept into the POV. Amazing work. If I ever write something half that good, I'll be a happy man."
- M. Talesian
"Thanks for sharing a wisdom that often takes a lifetime to learn."
- Naena R.
"I find you to be a thoughtful man who questions, looks to the right sources for answers, and shares the world through his eyes and pen in a wonderful balance of rhyme and storytelling. Your works are a peaceful rest upon which to reflect."
- Jane W.
"This was very, very thought-provoking and opens up a whole new line of thinking for me."
- Kerry C.
"I am so impressed. I always recognize a truly great piece of poetry because I am left thinking, "Damn, I wish I'd said that!" You did it to me again. Thanks so much for sharing this profound and compelling poem."
- Debbie M.
"I believe you are one of the very best narrative poets on this site."
- D.P. Robertson
"You have an incredible ability to stir emotions with your words. You have made me laugh, made me look inside myself and think, you have made me sad, made me happy . . . and now you have made me cry. I love your writings so much. They are all so personal to me in some way and there is always something or many things within your words that I relate to. I am so glad that you came here. You are a joy to know and a wonder to behold."
- Janet S.
"You simply amaze me time and time again. This poem touches on so many subjects but still stays true to its intent. I love it! Every time I read your work, I am inspired to stick with it and continue writing and aspiring to be that much better."
- Adam Marshalll
"You write with such talented ease, I just find myself shaking my head in awe when I finish reading a piece of yours. The rhymes seem to come to you right out of nowhere. You're a poet that never seems to run out of inspiration . . . inspiring others as you go along. Thanks for expressing what I could not."
- Cheryl P.
"You have a beautiful, caring spirit that is revealed in your poetry. Timeless words that have the ability to touch many more than you will ever know."
- Ellie N.
"I got a rush today. My best friend, who carries an immense personal load, thanked me for emailing this poem. He thought every line was speaking to him right where he lived. He thought I knew or was lead by God to send it. I was trying a simpler technique (I'm an neophyte on computer) and thought the lines about people being what they are might help him as he is often ashamed to be human. He is a gifted skeptic and says he is ready to become a christian and has asked me to help him. Thanks so much for making yourself transparent, vulnerable, humble, and leading the way."
- Mike R.
"Just like there is a difference between a person who can draw and a true artist, or someone who can sing and a true soprano, there is a difference between one who can write and one who is a true creative genius. You, sir, are a true poet and should be published. You paint a picture and you tell a story in verse to create imagery in the mind that will stay . . . magical.”
- Shirley M.
"What I truly admire most about what little I have read of your poetry so far is the compassion that is so prominent in your work. If more people had your level of sincerity and love for people, this world would be a whole lot better off. I think many of us could learn a lesson or two from you, as I certainly have."
- Don B.
”If I didn't know better, I'd think this piece was written by Longfellow. It has the passion and certitude of his "Psalm of Life" and its undeniable truth as well, I think. You are definitely one of the "New Masters" in my book.”
- Debbie L.
Please follow the links below each item to purchase.
The Other Belfast, my late father's memoir about growing up in Northern Ireland -
Page for Great Big World, my music CD for kids and parents -
My dad's CD of classic songs (Standards) -
Other Great Big World CD page -
Mark Rickerby Poetry, Book 1 - Inspiration
Mark Rickerby Poetry, Book 2 - Love
Chicken Soup to Inspire the Body and Soul -
Chicken Soup for the Soul - Dreams and Premonitions -
Chicken Soup for the Soul - The Dating Game -
Chicken Soup for the Soul - The Power of Forgiveness -
Chicken Soup for the Soul - Touched by an Angel -
Chicken Soup for the Soul - The Power of Positive -
Chicken Soup for the Soul - A Book of Miracles -
Chicken Soup for the Soul - Older and Wiser -
Chicken Soup for the Soul - My Very Good / Very Bad Dog -
Chicken Soup for the Soul - The Joy of Less
Chicken Soup for the Soul - The Spirit of America
Life Freshly Squeezed - Conquering Life's Challenges -
PLEASE CHECK BACK HERE SOON FOR MY NEW LINE OF ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN'S BOOKS!