Category Archives: Teaching

Writing: Finding inspiration through Church’s Chicken…

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I’m just clearing the photo album on my phone – because, as time goes by, the photos just pile up if I don’t take some time to organize or delete them.

These are from mid-May, when I stopped by Church’s Chicken and was told it’d be a 15-minute wait for the order.

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So, I took out my notebook and brainstormed some ideas for my writing.

Some time after I’d finished eating, my phone rang and it was an interview subject getting back to me wanting to do that interview at that particular moment.

(It was regarding a book I’m writing dealing with advice for young people wanting to get into the world of sports business.)

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It was good timing because I was able to ask him some different questions that I’d come up with during the waiting time – and I’d scribbled down those ideas.

You just never know when inspiration comes. And for those who scoff at the idea of carrying a notebook when many people simply store their ideas on their smartphones or electronic devices… well, what happens if your device runs out of battery and you need to be on your phone too for that important call?

I have a couple of devices, and I have that notebook as a backup…

Life as a Writer – May 10, 2019

Friday. I had a couple of things added to my itinerary last-minute. Well, sort of.

On Thursday afternoon, I was asked by my boss to go in on Friday morning and work some OT – some course planning that suddenly fell on my lap. I accepted.

I also received a text from Charles Harris, a former sports executive now teaching sports management courses at the university level in Southern California. I had previously reached out to him to see if he could be an interview subject for my next book. He texted me Thursday afternoon to set up a time for Friday at 9 a.m.

So, I used the local Blenz as my “home office” to call Mr. Harris – and then after that, I showed up for work. Turned out to be a long, exhausting Friday indeed. But – that’s the life of a writer. … well, a part-time writer anyway.

Life as a Writer – April 15-16, 2019

Wow… another week has gone by…

Well, sometimes things work out schedule-wise, without me having to make any adjustments.

I was involved in a work project which began in late February and just ended on Friday the 12th. This project involved me going into the “office” regularly to collaborate / brainstorm / write / edit… but it all ended on Friday.

That same afternoon, I received a message from my other company and they wanted me to go in to be trained on some online educational program that I’ll be using and I’m needed for the second half of April to fill in and do some work there – beginning Monday the 15th.

So, the timing worked out fine. I didn’t have to say no to either side. And on Monday I went there to get that training. Then, during lunch, I was able to step out for some time to take a call from Pat Gallagher, a sports executive who used to work for the San Francisco Giants. Mr. Gallagher and I had made plans to speak on the phone on Monday – as I’m working on a book and had requested to speak with him about his tips for readers.

It was great, because I learned a lot from Mr. Gallagher, and this information will be included in the book. I was able to get trained on the online program. I didn’t have the February to April proposal (with the first company) to deal with anymore. It’s good timing.

And later today, I’m going to be speaking to another gentleman, Jake Hirshman, who has his own impressive background in the sports business world.

As a writer, it’s about managing time and so far in April, things have been great.

I mean, during this process of writing this book, I had a chance to speak to a writer from Los Angeles (back in late January), and he’s right. He told me that to pull off a project like this, you need to be honest with yourself in terms of the time you can set aside for it. So far so good. I do have that time to spare for this project. And I’m glad that I am working on something that will inspire those who will be reading it. That’s the motto – inspire others. Give people practical advice and let them know they actually can succeed if they are persistent. That’s the message I want to be spreading.

At the same time, it’s rewarding to be talking about important life lessons with these executives and writers, those who help out and mentor others. I’ve experienced situations where people just have these poker faces on them and be petty, and then they like to gossip and do unproductive things – eg. talk trash about others and engage in name-calling. All very negative. I’m glad I’m not stuck in that path with those individuals but am working on something more meaningful with my time.

Life as a Writer – April 8-9, 2019

Monday and Tuesday. It’s been a productive first half of the week so far, as I managed to squeeze in an interview with Steve Brener from BZA and schedule two more (with two other leaders in sports business) for next week.

This is part of my exciting project with Fred Claire, and it’s cool to discuss topics that will inspire young people.

The thing is, there’s so much negativity in the world, so much negativity around us, that it’s important to think about why we do things. I do things to inspire. I write to inspire. I teach to inspire. Some question my methods, but at the end of the day, I do my best to inspire others, and that’s important to me.

With work piling up, I’m glad that I was able to get some research and writing done. Nothing happened for me the last two days in terms of the 1992-93 book that I’ve been working on, but I’ll have to find time to continue working on it.

There are a few other projects that are “on hold” at the moment – mainly because I’m waiting for others to get back to me on certain things.

Let’s see what the rest of the week brings.

Life as a Writer – April 4-5, 2019

Yes, life as a writer is a daily grind and involves some regular routines that I follow.

Thursday, April 4. Well, late last night, I followed up on a task regarding the Hockey Hall of Fame that I had put off for a while – and this involves the photos I requested for use in my 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens book, whose manuscript is due June 30th.

A business associate who’s not part of this book project (S.M.) but knows the era in hockey this book relates to, joked that the Canadiens aren’t winning another Cup – but I said I wasn’t a Habs fan. I then pointed out to the 1988 Dodgers book from last August, which celebrated L.A.’s last title. And talk then switched to a future project that I have lined up, the 1989 Flames. We joked about my timing; the Flames are good this season, which would have made a book about Calgary seem like perfect timing.

I work fast and dedicated my time to my projects, and with the John Cangelosi book arriving my way for me to finalize the edits, I finished late Thursday night – and sent back my revisions.

At times, it is frustrating – and sad – that people misunderstand my intentions. When I requested time off in Winter 2014 to go to Dayton, Ohio, for a short break, my two bosses scoffed at me. They didn’t realize I had decided to go to Ohio because I wanted to give an inspirational speech in front of students at the University of Dayton. Instead, they were mocking me for going to a cold place.

Just like how I’ve written a book about John Cangelosi, a 5’8″ ballplayer from Brooklyn, New York, who went on to have a 10-year career. People scoffed when they heard what I was working on – just like how certain people scoffed when I was working on that 1988 Dodgers book. People don’t understand that I write to inspire. There are those who look down on me, diss me, or just conclude in their minds that all I do is try to piss people off.. Not true at all.

But as Cangelosi once told me, you don’t try to focus on what others do or say. If you do that, then you never accomplish your own goals. That’s a good point. Many folks know that but don’t follow that advice. I think when this book comes out and at least one person is inspired by it, then, as far as I’m concerned, I have done my job. I write to inspire.

Oh, and I made it into the Richmond News newspaper on Thursday… that was from the time I was at the mall and a journalist asked me for my thoughts on tattoos.

Friday – I’m supposed to talk to Rick White, president of the Atlantic League, and Ari Kaplan, baseball analytics expert, to pick their brains on the project I’m working on with Fred Claire.

Hopefully, what Megan Devlin (the journalist from Richmond News) said to me that day will help to inspire me and get me focused on what I need to do.

And, after that, back to the 1992-93 Canadiens book. I might not do another interview on that book… although it would be interesting to track down Mario Roberge. We shall see.

Oh yeah, I had opened the post by talking about regular routines. On Thursday, it involved doing research online and reviewing those materials that were found.

While I was finishing up the Cangelosi edits, Tom Candiotti – the other Candy Man whom I’ve written about – texted me with some cool videos. I’ll be sharing those when I have some time later on… Hours earlier, the Indians and Blue Jays – two of his former teams – played and Cleveland took a no-hitter into the ninth inning. I was hoping that the Indians wouldn’t finish it… because, well, Candiotti had two one-hitters in a Cleveland uniform and I didn’t want to see another pitcher (or group of pitchers, in this case) have a no-no with the Tribe.

Somehow, I was too busy with the edits when Candiotti texted, that I forgot about that Toronto-Cleveland game and so the no-hit bid didn’t come up. The 1991 Blue Jays, though, came up in conversation. Another topic for another time…