How do I work this?

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?


The Motorcycle Man still has one of the funniest lines of the summer.  I was at a party telling Motorcycle Man about the book I was writing. I told him it was my second book and that my first book was an anthology that begins with an opening allegory.  He interrupted me to say, “I am not sure what the heck you are talking about…Is that anything like an algorithm?”  I know that my friend was just messing with me and he knows a lot more than he was letting on in that moment.  Given that we were both enjoying sipping some flavored tequila at the time,  I went ahead and said, “Sure it’s a little like an algorithm. . . but then again not really.”

I know some guys would feel more comfortable if I wrote out a concise algorithm.  I remember telling my friend Curiously Named George about my first book, The Asha Chronicles, and he was quick to ask, “What is it about?  What will it do for me?”   I hesitated realizing that The Asha Chronicles was probably not really for him; it might not do anything for him.  The Asha Chronicles was written by a father who had a disrupted childhood doing his best to make sure his daughter had a happy childhood, a quest beyond his experience but not beyond his imagination.  However, my friend Curiously Named George was a well-adjusted individual from a stable home who knew very well how to create a stable loving home environment for his children including his three daughters. I certainly was not going to tell him how to be a better father or husband. Every day he fulfilled the theme of the opening allegory of the Asha Chronicles, “A Gift for a Special Child” by giving good gifts to his children.  Like the giraffe in the story my friend Curiously Named George instinctively knew “it is important what gift you give to a child because the gift you give to a child will shape who he [or she] becomes.”  The Asha Chronicles was a gift to my daughter on her 16th birthday, a book for a child who loved to read.

My current book, Days of Elijah is another anthology of essays, poems and allegory directed toward the needs of a young man.   Still it is not an algorithm.  I hope that I have laid out some useful information that will assist my son in his journey as a man, but it is by no means a how-to book or even a self-help book.   The reader might grasp the algorithm for how to best read the book by going back to why I love anthologies.  

Unlike my daughter I did not read a lot as a young child. When they were together my parents did their best to encourage reading by buying me various early reader book series. I left them sitting on the shelf.  Then after sixth grade my parents divorced and I went to Germany with my father while my sisters went to California with my mother.  I found myself alone in an apartment at night in a small town in Germany and the only television reception we got was in German and cut off at 10:00 pm.  That is when I started reading.  I first read all of the series of books my parents gave me during grade school such as the Danny Dunn Mystery series.  Then when I got through all of those I started on my father’s English literature books from college.  I read anything available in the house including the Bible cover-to-cover and all 1,673 pages of the collected works of Emile Zola.  I loved short stories by Anton Chekhov because a short story was like a complete literary meal in one sitting, just enough to fill you up before falling asleep at night. 

Falling asleep at night was an issue for me, especially when I came to California for high school.  I searched my mom’s house to find something that would give me that quick literary fix before bed and I found it in a copy of the Norton Anthology of College Literature my mom had from an English course she had taken at Ohlone College.  At night I would reach for it like a child reaches for a security blanket or an addict reaches for a pill bottle.  The beauty was you could pick something that fit both your mood and the dose of literature you needed for the night.  You could skip around.  And that is exactly how you should read Days of Elijah.  Yes there are sections with unifying themes but nothing prevents you from skipping around.  Each article is an entity unto itself that can be enjoyed separately.  At the same time you could read a section or even the whole book in order and appreciate certain articles more within their section context.  Better yet you could do both: First pick interesting titles and read them by priority of most provocative and then maybe go back and read them in the context of the section, especially if you reach the end of an article and  “ask yourself, ‘Well... how did I get here?’"

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by, water flowing underground Into the blue again, into the silent water
Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground
-Once in a Lifetime  by David Byrne


Get the entire book Days of Elijah at

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published