Tripio The Novel

How I found my mind, brewed some coffee, and learned to write novels.

This was not the topic I was going to write about today. Especially since this happened over a year ago in real life. At some point, yes, I was going to let you know how my request for a blurb from Starbucks Founder, CEO and my old boss Howard Schultz, went. A yes, no, or maybe. However, I discovered while I was looking for his contact info that he has beaten me to the punch and written his own book https://www.howardschultz.com/. Some of his book covers the early days of Starbucks, much like Tripio. It was due out before mine. Howard’s book “weaves two parallel narratives,” not three, like Tripio. So, my book is 33% better, as anyone can plainly see. By all means, buy both and compare. In fact, I think it would make Howard’s book nearly as interesting as Tripio. Because, in it’s historical fiction way, Tripio is holding up a mirror to Howard’s book.

I have attached my thought on Howard’s book to this post below. Even if this post originated almost a year ago, I still see it’s point as valid. That is: Howard Schultz and I were meant to have their books come out as companion pieces. Of course: “There are no accidents” (Deepak Chopra)

Of course, Howard has a team of experts helping him sell his book. I’ve got my mouth and this blog helping me sell mine. This post was generated almost a year ago as nothing more than a commercial designed to generate interest in selling Tripio to anyone who wants a copy, or two, or 20. Seriously though, this blog, and I do mean this part, is meant to help someone find their own unique voice on their own unique journey to creating their own unique novel. You might be asking yourself, “Who is this guy and what the f*** does he know?” But, I know what worked for me and I hope that some of what I share will help you in any way you chose to apply it.

Since Howard’s team doesn’t need my help, I”ll talk more about Tripio. It could be said that there are three endings to Tripio, since there are three story lines. The story line I call “the Starbucks growth narrative” is intertwined and alongside the other two plot lines of Tripio. The reason I call our books companion pieces is that Howard’s book covers subjects like employee stock options and healthcare for nearly all employees. These are also the things I write about in Tripio because I experienced both first hand. It is a barista-in-the-trenches look at what Howard covers in his book, as the man giving the orders. So, to have both perspectives will make each book, when read, a deeper and more meaningful experience.  So, buy both and compare. I have read both and like Tripio better. But, I may be biased.

“May I help who’s next?”

My thoughts on From the Ground Up

               Reading From the Ground Up was a very personal experience for me. You see, my life has been greatly affected by Howard Schultz every day since working for Starbucks from 1990- 1994. I say everyday because if I had stayed at Starbucks, based on the number of options granted to me at the time, I would be a millionaire as of last year, that being the 25th anniversary of the Starbucks IPO. I think about that every day. Howard’s decision to provide healthcare for nearly all Starbucks employees helped me pay for the birth of my two oldest children, whom I also think about everyday.

        The above is part of what informs my own historical fiction novel, Tripio, which takes places at a Chicago Starbucks in 1992 and features a scene where I actually meet Howard on stage to receive a Bean Stock Bravo award. I am not trying to sell my own book here, simply attempting to put this review in context.

       And that to me means, to some degree, visualizing Howard as president, which this book clearly wants the reader to do.

     To this day, the Starbucks of the early 90s was the most inclusive, empowering and energizing workplace I have experienced. I don’t think most people would describe today’s White House and, by extension this country in those terms.

      The book itself covers milestones in Howard’s life chapter by chapter, in mostly chronological order. Howard gives example after example of listening to and including the people around him in order to get things done. His background is authentically humble. He is straightforward in admitting his and Starbuck’s mistakes and faults. The book overall gave me the impression of someone who can understand and relate to most of the country because he does share the pains he experienced relating to not having had enough money growing up.

       I felt that From the Ground Up further humanized Howard for me, likely another goal of its writing. I could relate to his own upbringing as a son of a working class father. I saw a lot familiar to me in Howard’s post college lack of guidance and direction. I understood what he was trying to say when he devotes a small section to writing that he wished that he and his father had been more able to talk when his father was alive.

    I think Howard’s’ book succeeds in that he is able to get me, the reader, to become energized by his vision for America. Of course, in my case, I may not be completely objective since Howard, at one time, gave me a shot at becoming a millionaire. 

I stepped out of my car at the parking lot of the grocery store. A quick Wednesday run, not the big haul. Of course, I reached for my mask before physically getting out of the vehicle.

I shut the car door and that somehow cued the music to the soundtrack for the Pandemic. All around me were people headed in or out of the store in masks, clothe or paper, plain or designer. I was used to this now. We all are. This is our life now, the norm, the routine. Bring your mask wherever you go. I put mine on and looked around to locate the source of the music. Who was providing the soundtrack to the Pandemic? It had instantly put me at ease. Then, I saw that a man had set up on the far side of the entrance from where I had parked. He was playing a violin hooked up to an amp. I was soothed, taken away from the normal existence in this Pandemic and placed as an extra in a movie. The violin was powerful enough to cover all the parking lot and strong enough for us all to hear it. For me, the music contained and captured all of us.

Yes, I was in the soundtrack for a movie about the Pandemic. I was grateful for the parking lot violinist and dropped a couple dollars in his case on the way in to the store. Through his music, he had taken me out of the Pandemic by putting me into a movie about it.

The violinist was gone by the time I had finished my quick shop. I wasn’t surprised because his violin case was nearly full of bills when my singles fell onto the pile. My fellow extras in the movie were appreciative as I was.

I began to wonder who will star in this particular movie I had just placed myself in as an extra? How many movies will there be about the Pandemic? Who will make them? I know that the stars will have to look good wearing a mask, that is for sure. My mind took me to the possibility that I could write the novel the movie would be based on. Why not? They would need a book first, right? I need to get home to get some of this stuff in the freezer first, then I can start on it.

Mask off and back in the car, I ruled that out. Not putting my things in freezer,I did that. I ruled out writing a novel about the Pandemic. That would have to be after my five novels in five years plan. By then, the Pandemic will be long over and there will he hundreds of novels in line in front of mine. The Pandemic will be long over. That was a comforting thought to carry home with me. It has to come to an end, right? All things do. World Wars, Plagues, Invasions, the Iron Age. An even more comforting thought was that books have preceded and followed those events. Books have survived and outlasted all events and times. The Pandemic will be no exception.

Once home, my freezer items in my freezer, I remained grateful for the music the violist provided that got me through another trip to the grocery store. One trip, one day at a time. That is all we can do for now. It may take some time but one day, we can head to the grocery store and to work and everywhere else, mask free. With any luck we can make these decisions with a little more appreciation. That in mind, we may even chose to go out to our local coffee place and read a novel about this Pandemic.

May I help who’s next?”

“Set thy heart upon the work but never on its reward”

-my nieghbor, the HVAC guy

I had to ask my neighbor across the street to look at my AC unit last Saturday. I had cut my grass about a hour earlier. Once out of the shower and ready to start writing, I noticed I was still warm. My body temp had cooled down after the work outside but my house had not. Luckily for me, I could ask my neighbor across the street, an HVAC guy, to have a quick look before hitting the panic button.

He said he’d be over in a few minutes. I was thankful. We’ve been neighbors for over 20 years so what were a few minutes? I would use that time to get back to today’s post. Except I had no idea what it was. I am in the process of reading The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde. Maybe the post could be something like “There is only one thing worse than not having air-conditioning, and that is having air-conditioning that doesn’t work.” That had possibilities, but not quite.

I felt a bit guilty about asking my neighbor to look at my AC of his off day. He does this kind of work all week. But, I had already asked for the favor so there was no going back. I started thinking about why we work. From there I decided to direct my thoughts to my work. Not my real job. But the work I trying to do at this laptop. I considered why I do this work of writing. Certainly not for a paycheck. Not for the $2.36 I usually get from Amazon every month. Back in my day at Starbucks that would have been enough to buy you a short coffee and a scone. I could certainly be using my time for something more valuable, right?

The knock on my front door took me away from my laptop. I wasn’t feeling it anyway. My neighbor and I headed downstairs to look at the furnace, electrical box and all that is down there that I never pay attention to. We exchanged pleasantries and such as he diagnosed the situation. Strange. All seemed fine. So, we headed upstairs and outside to look at the unit’s fan and control box there. I was edging into panic mode. If he couldn’t find the problem quickly, I thought, it had to be bad. Bad means money. My $2.36 from Amazon won’t buy a lot of new AC units.

I stood outside proudly taking in my freshly cut lawn as my neighbor examined the AC unit tucked behind the house. I was thinking that work produced this sense of pride in seeing my lawn looking so nice. It was similar to the sense of pride I get when I see my copies of Tripio, gathering dust in a box under my writing table. The work that went into the lawn and the book are not debatable. It took work to do both. The relative value of both to someone else is where the subjectively comes in. And not in the time, effort and discipline required to do the work. That’s where the true reward is in all of this. I know what the work took out of me. The price on the cover of any book can not possibly reflect that. Yet that is part of the deal. No one else should know, or even care what it costs one to write a novel, a poem, a paragraph. None of my other neighbors came pounding on my door to demand I write Tripio.

Looks like you cut a wire when you were mowing the lawn.” My neighbor informed me. Well ,so much for my pride. At least when it comes to lawn maintenance.

He took some electrical tape from his tool kit and went quickly to work. He fixed it in about a minute. He was happy to help me out. Plus the smile on his face told me he was pleased with himself. A job well done on his part. I offered to pay him and his response was the quote above. (Not really but it makes a good post).

“May I help who’s next?”


I just reviewed my checking account. This is never a moral boosting exercise, so I most often do this on Fridays when the end of the work week momentum combats the buzzkill prompted by the figures.

Those figures tell me “I have just enough“. It has been that way for some time. Since I first suddenly became head of a single income household, in fact. Next month, due to long known consequences, I will no longer see a good amount of money appear among those figures on the second Friday of the month. My mind will then produce a new response upon seeing them, ‘It will be just enough…if”

I am not alone in seeing times tighten financially right now. An important distinction here is that I saw this happening to me. No one saw COVID-19 and all it is bringing with it on the horizon.

Several years ago I made a decision to deal with the end of this revenue stream. I had to create another one to replace it. That was easy enough. I could:

  • try to move up the ladder at my current job
  • find a second job
  • make a sensible career move
  • try to make a second revenue stream from my fiction, from my novels.

That choice is known to those of you reading this post. I decided to spend most of my spare energy and time over the last three years attempting to generate a revenue stream from creating and selling my fiction. So far the stream is not flowing. It is, at best, a revenue drip. A drip from a rusty faucet that is more irritating than useful.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

And make no mistake, I have regretted hearing that drip. There are lots of opportunities from the above list that I could have pursued. I have taken small steps towards some of those opportunities. Yet, I kept coming back to the last one on the list. I reasoned, at times, that the once in a lifetime experience to be given the chance to be a millionaire at Starbucks was, “the most valuable thing I owned.”

Drip. Drip. Drip.

red-apron-2

However, along the way something unexpected has happened. Sure, I want-really want– the books to sell. Thankfully however, the writing, journaling, blogging (along with lots of yoga and meditation) has begat something of greater value than can be accounted for in neat columns. One could call it wisdom or peace of mind or simple maturity. Call it what you will. The clarifying ingredient here is that most of the activities I mentioned started a couple years before I even thought of selling books. The selling, and the drip, are results. They are a product of a calmed mind. They are things grown and cultivated from my mind garden. Sure, the stream is not there. Just the drip, drip, drip. Over the years, though, I have gotten used to the drip. It no longer bothers me. I have come to understand that I am the one who can turn off the faucet.

“May I help who’s next?

    It is nearly 7 a.m. on this Sunday morning. I have been up for close to ninety minutes. This is my schedule. I have come to the conclusion that sleeping in is overrated. This is my day off and one hears a lot about how others relish the chance to “sleep in” on their off days. I can’t, even if I try, I can’t. So, I get up and make coffee. Or, I simply warm up the leftovers from the day before and get to work. I always, always, always have a cup of coffee near me when I write.

    This brings me to Stephen Fry. I read once that when he was working on a screenplay for Peter Jackson he could not get going on it to save his skin. It took him awhile to find the reason but it struck him that at the time he was working on the screenplay his was trying to give up smoking. Smoking energized his mind while at the same time the ritual calmed and rewarded him. I feel almost exactly the same about my cups of coffee. This morning, I am wondering if I could have written Tripio without coffee?

  One indisputable answer is no. No coffee, no Starbucks. No Starbucks, no Tripio. Starbucks did not invent coffee of course and I drank plenty of coffee before Starbucks was available. In Tripio, Jay even refers to a coffee house where he was working before he moved to Chicago, the long gone Oregon Street Coffee House in Dayton, Ohio. Even after Jay is working at Starbucks he often goes to favorite coffee house that “sat on an alley under the El tracks”. As you can see, I come by my love of coffee honestly. Hey, I loved coffee before it was trendy and pricey.

   The point here, however, isn’t how cool I am. I was thinking as I started this post that it could be a bad thing that I believe I have to have a cup of coffee within arm’s reach anytime I write. I sometimes know that I will not drink the contents of the mug but that I have to have it close regardless. If I were feeling somehow inadequate about myself for not be able to write without coffee near, I arrived at the conclusion to stop it. One reason is that I am in good company with Stephen Fry. The second is that I would have never responded to the Starbucks want ad if I hadn’t already loved coffee. For proof I refer again to Tripio and Jay thinking to himself as he prepares to answer the want ad for Starbucks, “about the only real qualification I have is that I’m a coffee lover.”

   And I am not alone! The spectacular growth of Starbucks and the interest in a coffee culture it begat, confirms this. If you are reading this blog with a cup of coffee nearby, then drink up! If you are reading this and nodding your head in agreement, then I have done my job with this post.

                                           “May I help who’s next?”

‘All of spring is found in one bud” Oscar Wilde

This post’s first bud of spring appears way back when I first began contemplating direct-publishing Tripio. To be clear, the idea of publishing Tripio came way after the origin thought of writing it. And way, way, way after I kept the journal entries that became the novel, Tripio. Just two years ago, I did not have a blog, shop Amazon for books and only used Facebook to keep track of my kids. Just to be clear and for context and perspective (however unpopular those are these days), Tripio’s direction was always inward. I mark that staring point with tying on the green apron for the first time, in the fall of 1990.

As for the two years ago, that is when I found myself taking a class at the Indiana Writer’s Center, called Publish your Memoir. Since then the information and advice available on and around publishing Tripio has been staggering. A tactic for dealing with all that information, advice and insider know how is to let most of it pass by you. What you need will come back to you over and over. One item that kept coming back to the top of the pile was the selection of the right category for Tripio. Here is where I feel it is important to refer back to the prehistory of Tripio. If I would have known it was so important, I could have written Tripio with a category in mind and directed it’s plot, characters, it’s very soul into the correct and ultimately profitable category. Ah. Hell. No.

In order to sell on Amazon at all, a book needs a niche, a genre, a category. As far as Amazon is concerned, the category is your book’s sacred ground. Plant your book in the correct category and in just a few weeks a dispatcher at Brinks will call you and set at time for the truck pull into your driveway with money to unload.

I realized the importance of it all, but finding a category for Tripio came and went on the priority pile. I think one reason I couldn’t get closure on this was that there is no simple answer. As you may know, Tripio has three distinct but collaborative story lines so it is a hard novel to grab hold of and define. To me, this a sign of something special and unique. To Amazon, that is a problem. Since I “had” to choose, I placed Tripio in the “historical fiction” category. That just didn’t feel right. I felt like I had picked a major going into college just to keep my parents happy. That choice was made over a year ago. Life went on. But for the past several months, sales have stagnated, which may or not have anything to do with category choice, but one never really knows. It was enough motivation, however, for me to find myself contemplating the right category for Tripio yet again. Category choice had once again found itself near the top of the pile of things to do.

Which brings me to yesterday. For the better part of an hour I considered a category for Tripio as I drove to Elwood, Indiana. All options were in my mind. Was Tripio a romance? Literary fiction? Maybe contemporary historical fiction? I was back to the same thing that had kept me from settling on a category in the first place. In and around those thoughts was the hope there would be coffee shop somewhere in this small town. I love that type of coffee shop. They are usually found in an old bank or pharmacy. They are roomy but carry a sense of gravitas and history, not of transaction. Once my business was done, I asked an Elwood local and soon enough I found myself at the Gypsy Soul.

//www.gypsyjax.com/

The gypsy soul is indeed a coffee house. I chose a cappuccino for the ride back from Elwood. But the Gypsy Soul is also part a salon and another part boutique. A “women’s dream” the barista told me as she steamed away at the milk. The cappuccino she made was quite good. I almost bought some hand cream. I regretted that I didn’t have time for manicure.

As I drove home later, I was thinking of the Gypsy Soul. It would make a great coffee shop on it’s own with it’s high ceilings, long wooden bar, and view of Elwood’s old streets. The other elements were there but,for me, Gypsy Soul was a coffee house. My next thought was that Tripio is a coffee book with a coffee title, which mean it belongs in a coffee category, right? In order to stand out yet at the same time feel “right” to me, Tripio belonged in a coffee category. I already knew there was a coffee category but it was for the business end of things, or for making mochas at home. I took my visit to the Gypsy Soul as a sign of good fortune however. If you can’t believe a Gypsy fortune, who are you going to believe? I decided that I would dig deeper into the category selection on Amazon when I made it home.

The Gypsy was right. She told me to keep searching and I would be rewarded. There was a category on Amazon called Coffee Shop Fiction! This is where Tripio belongs. Such a relief. This is a category that would also work for Back outta the World and Altonstreet & Philpatrick, both of which take place in and around actual coffee shops, ( Brazilia in Columbus, Ohio and Oregon Street Coffee House in Dayton respectively). I can rest easy now. The category was not large which also means Tripio will be easy to find among Grounds for Murder and Bikini Baristas. This gives me hope that I will one day “own” the coffee shop fiction category. I can finally cross the category search off my list. I can now tune out the background noise in my head that had been buzzing around for over a year. This means that I can spend more of my valuable time actually writing. Time to get started! But not before I order my copy of Bikini Baristas.

“May I help whose next?”

          “Just dash something down if you see a blank canvas staring at you with a certain imbecility

I wrote that

I take this blog seriously. I know I have come to use humor more frequently as the blog goes on.  However I believe that is an indication of growing confidence in the blog itself. The humor, mostly self-deprecating, is an attempt to create an enjoyable, unique experience for anyone reading the blog. I feel responsible to put out a good post even if it is read by a single person.

But this week, I have devoted the mental energy usually spent writing the blog to the countless other details required to sustain and maintain a published novel on Amazon, the moving forward of novel number two, following up your posts and the housekeeping required to manage it all. As such, last night arrived and I found myself without a topic in my head for today’s first draft. It is the end of the week, the time when I usually begin work on my Monday post. Mildly panicked, I did glance over some books I have around that I sometimes refer to for inspiration. They provided none. 

Earlier this week I had met a fellow ex-Starbucks barista. We exchanged battle stories and favorite coffee drinks. An unexpected encounter that made my day. I promised I would drop off a signed copy of Tripio when I returned next week. Tripio was in my head more than usual since then. As I wondered around the house searching for content, I remembered Letters to Theo,  I knew where it was. I went upstairs to retrieve my copy, brought it downstairs and did nothing further with it. At this point, I was past writing but knew I would find something in Letters to use.

I remembered Letters to Theo because I have called it “the best book on creativity I know”. If you google Van Gogh you will discover he was, the letters to his brother aside, a painter. If you read Tripio, you will find the book mentioned by Jay, the main character:  

One must not wait till it reveals itself. By painting one becomes a painter.”  That must be from Letters to Theo.” 

Jay isn’t trying to become a painter. But he is sure that he can apply Van Goghs’s wisdom to his own life and write. Jay will just write and not worry so much about anything else. Did he do the right thing by taking Van Gogh’s wisdom to heart? Did he write and forsake the promising career he had in front of him at a new and growing company called Starbucks? Did he write, reveal his true self or did he become a millionaire simply by showing up to work at Starbucks everyday and steaming milk? More importantly, what would you have done in a similar time and place in your own life?

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As for today’s post, Van Gogh provided the inspiration again. This morning, after brewing my de-rigueur pot of coffee I picked up that same, beaten up copy of Letters to Theo. I opened it. Then, I am not making this up, I turned to and read the paragraph containing the quote:

 “Just dash something down if you see a blank canvas staring at you with a certain imbecility

 And the canvas, as you have read, is no longer blank.

                          

 “May I help who’s next?”

I have two chive plants in my herb garden. I have a sage, oregano and thyme which all have returned this spring. And, for you climate change doubters out there, my rosemary plant came back this spring. I have had a rosemary plant every summer for ten years and each winter it has died. This year, I checked it and saw new growth. It has survived the mild winter in the Midwest for the first time ever.

It has occurred to me that my advocacy of the use of “using your mind garden to produce your own unique story” may come down to money. What doesn’t’? I find it works not to outsource your creativity, process, inspiration, validation in order to to write, in order to find your way as a writer. I primarily use my own mind, which is free and always open. It works for me. It may or may not work for you. Although, It may work for me because I have had not a choice but to make it work.

Over the course of my writing, starting just out of college in the mid 80’s until now, I have not been able to spend a ton on money on it. I could have, but my kids needed to eat. So, I think out of pure necessity I had to devise my own belief system, which aligned to life as a whole. I did not have the time or money to take seminars, workshops or fly overseas to retreats. I ain’t pissed. If fact, the years that I am referring to when I was raising a family produced a human being who has something worthwhile to share. I did occasionally get back to writing short stories and always kept a journal, but was nowhere close to being able to plan a couple hours a day “writing”.

How do my chives figure into all that? Well, they are green, like US dollars. The lack of which left me recently without the ability to hire an editor, which had temporarily halted my 5 novels in 5 years plan. A plan that I hope ultimately produces some more green stuff, and I don’t mean chives. For the first time since post college I had time to write but felt stuck due to lack of funds and direction. Then it occurred to me to practice what I preach. I had written a series of short stories called Altonstreet and Philpatrick. Like the herbs in my garden, I could use them for free. So I headed to my garden and got to work.

Once used by Altonstreet

Here is where I brilliantly tie it all together. I wanted to make pesto earlier this week, partly to feed 2 of those adult children I mentioned. I could not afford to pay to go to a weekend writing seminar i.e. buy pine nuts. I had no way to get to Italy and be inspired at the grave of a dead Italian poet, i.e. my basil wasn’t’ ready. So, I found a recipe for pesto using chives and toasted walnuts i.e. I began a short story using my old characters, Altonstreet and Philpatrick. The chives were already in my garden and the walnuts way, way cheaper than pine nuts. I used what was at hand, what my mind garden had ready and waiting.

The pesto with chives and walnuts was quite good. The short story is titled “Altonstreet & Philpatrick receive a letter” and made me laugh out loud a couple time, which is good because that was my intent with the story. So, I took my own advice, fed my mind, body and spirit on the cheap. And this years’ garden is just getting started!

“May I help who’s next?”

Just as a piece of land has to be prepared beforehand if it is to nourish the seed, so the mind of the pupil has to be prepared...”

I was on my front porch drinking coffee, vibing to the start of the weekend and reading “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg when I came across the above quote. The book was of great interest to me in regards to writing. I knew that I used habit to help me write. Not with the pen or at the keyboard. If you read this blog regularly you know if I believe if you start writing at that point it is already too late.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

My example: When I was in the early stages of creating Tripio I was also taking a ninety minute drive three times a week. By this time I had already spent several years trying to understand my mind, how it works and why it was sometimes my worst enemy. I had hacked out a rudimentary understanding of the subconscious mind and would put it to work on these drives. If you don’t mind looking foolish for just a moment, raise your hand if you think that driving is an exercise is habit….OK, put your hand down.

I began to use the habit laden 90 minutes of highway driving to access my subconscious mind, to ask it to deliver the names and events I needed to populate Tripio. As I checked my speedometer, checked the rear and side view mirrors, sped up or slowed down, my subconscious mind delivered what I needed. From there all I had to do was remember what it had provided.

I learned from The Power of Habit that the habit formation and execution takes places in the basal ganglia. I was confirmed, validated. Even though I knew what was taking place, it was nice to know I can use the words “basal ganglia” to anyone I was talking to about my writing process. This bit of gratifying news came near the start of Habit. The above quote was near the end. The quote is from Aristotle, not me. Though I can understand if you are confused. Because, in the quote it sounds like Aristotle is describing the “Mind Garden”that I am going on about in many of my posts. I do not claim to have invented the concept behind “Mind Garden”. I am sure it has been used before. Again though, it validating that I can now refer to Aristotle when I am talking to anyone about how I write.

I believe writing starts before you pick up the pen or click on your laptop. I have seen, felt and came to know that clearing and preparing the mind and letting the actual writing come to you works for me. Don’t go looking for your writing, it isn’t out there. If that sounds a little weird but you can see some seed of wisdom, I’ll take it. However, if you find yourself thinking about the post, (miracles do happen) or even talking to someone else about it (I’m being serious) then you can say “Aristotle said that”, which will make you look smart. Which we all like. That, in turn, may lead you back to this blog in order to find more ways to make you look smart. I am not saying you need any help looking smart, but I hope that coming back to this blog becomes a habit anyway.

May I help who’s next?”

So much out there. So damn much. Too damn much. If you are reading this post then you have come to it by deciding to pass up millions of other blogs. First let me congratulate you on how wisely your are spending your time.

It isn’t easy to navigate once you click and fire up the internet. Like nearly all bloggers and writers, I am looking for ways to improve what I do. I do have regular blogs that I access for advise. They show up in my mailbox. I try to keep them to a manageable amount. But more keep appearing. They all sound appealing. I could improve my blog, my fiction, and even my mind by reading them. I have, I fact, achieved all three simply by doing what you are doing now.

I am well into the second year of this blog. I am going to publish my second novel this fall. Put some of those keywords into a search engine and the response would make War and Peace look like flash fiction.

So how do you know what works? Of course, you never know. You think, suspect, consider what may work for you and your book or blog. But you never know. That is because that writer of that post sent to your email box doesn’t know either. I say this now because I’m one of them. Earlier today I responded in the comment section of another post. I left sound, confident and useful advise that has worked for me. An hour or more late, I am suffer from “comment box remorse.” I think I just made that condition up. Possibly not. My comment sounded good, and more importantly made me sound like I knew what I was talking about. As of a few hours after posting my confidence is waning, my courage fading, the caffeine wearing off.

Like I said, my comment box response was something that had worked for me on my journey. There is wisdom in it. This particular comment included advice to ignore most the “static” out here in the blog sphere. To look at it from one angle, I am advising the author of the post to ignore my own comment.

What does does mean to you readers of this post? I’m not sure. I don’t know for sure. I think it is an indication I am an the write path though. Even a single senescent in a comment box should mean something, should come at some cost to it’s author, right? Yes, because true giving is giving from need. So it follows that real advice, or “static”, from your heart must produce a feeling of loss, or it’s not worth writing, clicking and posting.

May I help who’s next?