About Writing 2

Saving 25-feet of the

best 4-ply writing

Or, how my work got into the Duke University Library

     I graduated from Colorado State University (CSU) in 1970 with a B.A. in English (Literature). It was the height of the Vietnam war.  Without a deferment from the draft as a teacher, I was at some risk but, I was a typical Midwest boy with a dream of becoming a writer.

     It was the English Department which helped nurture and nourish my passion to put words on paper. My poetry was published campus wide. I even won the Silver Spruce Poetry Contest for which I received $8.00 and a copy of the yearbook. (That made me a “professional”, and I framed the check stub and mounted it and the 1-inch announcement article in the Collegian in a frame.)  I became copy editor of the Silver Spruce in 1970. I was Reach  editor, the literary supplement to the CSU Collegian.  I wrote humor columns which were regularly published in the Collegian. I edited numerous campus publications including the English Department’s own student publication, Mosaic – well, edited is not exactly correct, I was the “technical editor” because I knew copy-fitting thanks to early experiences in my parent’s Rubber Stamp company.  It was a dream to rise above typography to actually writing and the English department knew this.

     Even though a lowly undergraduate, I sent my best pieces into the publishing world to compete with the likes of Mailer, Capote, Trumbo and the greats of the 70’s and 80’s. I collected rejection slips from a great many reputable publications: The New Yorker, Playboy, Penthouse, Esquire, Vanity Fair, etc. While “paying my dues” until I had my “break through”, I applied for several jobs and was offered two lucrative “entry level” positions: one selling carpeting, the other selling incense for Krishna Consciousness. I didn’t like the idea of finger-painting the bridge of my nose so I took a position selling carpet at World Wide Carpet Company.

      “Bait-and-Switch” was a term I thought I vaguely remembered hearing in Dr. Tom Mark’s Shakespeare class. It had something to do with Tatiana wanting to buy new shag wall-to-wall for the forest from Bottom the salesman and Oberon stepping in, or something similar. So, based on those fond memories of Dr. Mark’s class, I took the carpet sales job rather than selling incense.

      World Wide Carpets was a TRUE “bait-and-switch” operation all right. WWC was run by two guys named Ron and Tony who wore shirts open way too far, drove a 60’s Cadillac and smelled of way too much English Leather. I guess “stank” is closer to the truth. It was my introduction into the world of business. I found that I had a natural understanding of business, a taste for finer things which I could not afford, and a capacity for mentally calculating the square-yardage of carpet for a room the speed and accuracy of which bordered on my being a savant. “Perhaps”, I thought during long hours of combing my 4-ply, cheap nylon and polyester sample books, “this will give me something to write about.” It didn’t. What a waste of time!

One thing remained after I left WWC was an almost maniacal urge, no matter where I am, to slide down and “cop-a-feel” on the horizontal woven goods, visualize the “ply” in the yarn and then mentally estimate how much it would cost to carpet the room wall-to-wall. I’m sure Mailer, Capote or Joyce Carol Oats could never do this.

      Secondly, I discovered, I had a natural gift for the “old switcheroo” as in “bait-and-switch”.  I could sell people who didn’t want to buy. I would listen and listen and catch the direction of their inner-mojo and then, from out of no where, the answer to their question or problem would appear. Never failed. Despite an almost dead-certain future which would have led, I am sure, to the Carpet Sales Hall of Fame, I never wore my shirts open to the waist, used way too much English Leather or lost my dream of becoming a writer. I attribute the latter to the impact of my time at the dear old CSU English Department.

     Like other wannabe literary greats, I found my way into book publishing and worked as a technical editor in cold-type composition and pre-press production. This was good until I became unemployed and homeless, and my wife and I camped out in the spare-

bedroom of another CSU grad, with a B.A. in Microbiology, who was working in advertising as a copywriter.  Advertising!  Now there’s a word! I thought: “If a CSU grad with a degree in Microbiology could be successful as an advertising copywriter, think of what a CSU grad with a degree English could accomplish!”

     So, with his help, I created a mock advertising portfolio and started to show my “book” around. Honestly, I was laughed out of the offices of nearly all the top-flight Creative Directors in Dallas, Texas. It was humbling but it toughened me. I dreamed that later they would probably regret treating me so badly. I actually reminded one of them at a party years later that he had thrown me out of his office. He said, “You know, your book sucked. However, between the two, you and your wife, your WIFE is the genuinely funny one. I’d hire her before I’d EVER hire you! But, take my advice – print is DEFINITELY NOT your forte. Try something with NO visuals to it – radio.” I took that as a compliment. I kept true to my dream of becoming a writer and eventually landed a job as a junior copywriter.  Apparently the boss liked my humorous radio comedy ads.  His comment upon reading my “spec” radio scripts was: “If he don’t have two noses, hire him.” There you have it – radio is NOT a visual medium. Finally, I was writing – AND earning money! Watch out Silver Spruce Poetry Contest!

      That’s where my writing career “broke through.” I wrote radio comedy ads for 7-Eleven in the late 1970’and 80’s. I won awards! I went to Hollywood for “sessions”. Soon I was in demand. So, I quit the agency and set-up my own creative service agency. Then I wrote speeches for top CEO’s, television commercials, print ads, sales collateral and other things. Anything! Bumper stickers! Lies? Lies!  I even intentionally wrote one lie – but it was a small lie and pretty insignificant. It was a lie about whether or not a microwave oven will heat food in metal or foil containers. That’s not EVIL evil, is it?  That doesn’t make me a BAD person, does it? Wasn’t it just fiction?

      Thousands of pages flew off my typewriter and eventually out of my computers! My corporate theater shows were sought by Coca-Cola and other Fortune 100 companies and produced before hundreds of thousands of adoring, half-drunk sales executives who were required to sit through days of incredibly boring break-out sessions and entertaining shows.  I know the sales “break-out” sessions were incredibly boring because I wrote them, too!   Entertainment and glitz and boredom. It’s the yin and yang of business.

      During my more than 2–decade career, my writing clients included (only to name a very few): McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Interstate Batteries, Denny’s Restaurants, The National Association of Broadcasters, The London Zoo, Doyle-Dane Bernbach Advertising (Los Angeles), Marriott Corporation, Zales Corporation, Esso (U.K.), American Airlines, Dr Pepper Corporation, Tandy Corp/Radio Shack, Northern Telecom, Republic Health Care,  Anderson Clayton Foods, major and small advertising agencies across the southwest and Fortune 500 companies. In addition, I wrote personal humor for speeches and radio programs for the late Mr. Stanely Marcus,  co-founder of Neiman-Marcus; Roger Staubach, former quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys; and other celebrities.

      Highlights include the fact that I was head writer for Coca-Cola’s 100th Anniversary Bottler’s Meeting staged in the Omni in Atlanta with a $1.1 million production budget – Money plus imagination is exhilarating! Because Coca-Cola owned MGM, I could write in the script that the Pointer Sisters (under contract to MGM) sing “Rum and Coca-Cola”! and they would appear on stage, beautifully attired while miniature Coke bottles parachute from the ceiling of the Omni! I was indeed making the “Yankee Dollah” as a writer!;  a speech for then President Ronald Reagan was presented to the National Association of Broadcasters meeting in Las Vegas in which the President’s speechwriters changed NOTHING… not one word; my treatment for the “Texas Sesquicentennial Celebration” television show was produced and starred Willie Nelson. The network had to re-name this TV program the “Texas 150th Birthday Celebration” because “W” was then governor of Texas and reportedly had difficulty with the “Sesquicockerspaniel” word; and I optioned a low-budget “slasher” film called Night Ride.

Continued On About Writing 5



  •  2013 – “A-Wire”. Feature. Historical / Drama. Registered WGAe.

  • 2013 – “Velcro PFC”. Feature / Action Adventure. Registered WGAe.

  • 2013 – “How Santa Claus Came To Whisky-Alpha-Romeo”. Feature / Action Adventure. Registered WGAe

  • 2005 - “How Santa Claus Came To Simpson’s Bar”, © Copyright 2005, Registered WGAe, # I29276. Feature length.

  • 1996 - “How Santa Claus Came To Simpson’s Bar”, © Copyright 1996, Registered WGAe, #102829-00. Feature length.


  • 1978 -“Night Ride”, © Copyright 1978. Optioned to Crescendo Cinema III, Fort Worth, TX. Feature length.


  • “The Texas 150th Birthday Celebration”, 1985, treatment commissioned by Cormac Communications / Texas National Television Productions. Produced by CBS, this 3-hour television special was hosted by Willie Nelson and others.


  • 2005 - “The Homeless Millionaire“, treatment commissioned by Media Arts, Detroit, MI. Registered WGA west  #1051065. A reality tv concept for a pitch to John Feist, Co-Executive Producer, NBC Summer Series. Unproduced.

  • 2002- “100 Stories”, concept commissioned by Media Arts, Detroit, MI for Word of Faith International Christian Center.  A half-hour television program with standard sitcom timing and sequencing for an audience of 6-10 year olds.  Unproduced.


  • 1985 – ADDY AWARDS, Finalist :60 radio commercial comedy / national

  • 1983 – CLIO AWARDS, Finalist :60 radio commercial comedy / national

  • 1983 – ART DIRECTORS OF NEW YORK (ANDY) AWARD, Finalist :60 radio commercial comedy national

  • 1981 – INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING AWARD (IBA), Winner :60 radio commercial comedy

  • 1979 – INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING AWARDS (IBA), Winner :60 radio commercial comedy.


Three Simple Questions:

Who am I? Why am I Here?

What do I want?

The assignment was simple. Take three minutes at least once a week and answer three simple questions.


Here's the result.



"About Writing"