I have a marketing degree. Turns out I hate selling…things I don’t believe in.
Armed with my college sheepskin, I ventured off to Dallas to enter the Land of Adults. I got a job selling. I was enthusiastic, until I realized I was selling 3rd best.
There’s a daily death with that kind of selling. Conscience bothers you, so it’s going through motions, until the bills come due, so you uumph yourself to go make some sales, make a few, money comes, money goes, the stink increases.
That’s when my father started looking pretty shiny. The Padre was timid, on the introvert side, yet his occupation was that very out-there of jobs, being a preacher. He measured by an invisible line of sincerity. The only thing he would put his name to was his faith. He believed, Father, Son, and Spirit, and never tired of “selling” the everybody-wins simplicity of Christianity.
My father sold with a clean conscience, a pure product, he was all give ‘n no get, just because he thought your soul was something special.
Meanwhile, there I was…
That early lesson steered me towards self employment. I won’t ever wear that knot in my stomach again. I’ve known self respect, and I’ve known the loss of. Put up a pile of money and ask me to sell my conscience for it, see how that goes… Yesterday, today and tomorrow, I want to wake up clean, hopefully go to bed with some Add, but under no circumstances do I want to hit the pillow with a Subtract.
That’s me. Not me always. But that’s me now.
So I Wrote Some Stories…
I believe all gifts and talents are God’s. He could’ve given them to someone else. But what He gives you has a bite. Don’t use, it’s chew, chew, chew, inside where nobody can see, making you miserable until you Do and Do Again and Do Better, and grow it from raw to ripe.
My Bedtime Stories were my Do’s and dues.
There was no master plan. Just obeying the urge of the gift. Early on, I’d get online, and I remember typing, “Anybody in the mood for a story?” and four or five people would yes-me. I’d come back an hour later, with a story. More people began following.
There was a stretch of years where I was doing three Bedtime Stories a week. Let’s just round it to 150 a year. As the years went on, I’d get these when-you-gonna-put-them-in-a-book comments. It was no now, another no later, and then this year, Yes. I did it.
What’s It Like?
My goodness! Weeks into this, the stories almost memorized, eyes tired, sleep deprived, stomach all-a-wacky, I’m reading over the last proof…and it went like this…
…I’m in my chair, in my messy office, and I just start, at the beginning and read. These stories are tight and short, a page and a half, maybe up to four pages, read one in the time it’d take to eat a bowl of ice cream…
…except this isn’t desert.
Oh my goodness! One minute I’m wiping my eye with my sleeve…next minute I’m pumping my hands in the air like Rocky Balboa on the steps of the museum, it’s so thrilling, it’s so deep, it’s so mattering, it’s so damn humbling I just want to kneel…
My whole life, I’ve been looking out, and turns out, it was within me.
Can I Sell My Book With A Clean Conscience?
Here’s my answer. A lady is buying the book. I ask what I always ask, “How long have you been reading these?” If they say “a year” I think, ‘O my, they missed Amazing Grace, The Lullaby of Cajun French, Ceremony of Coffee, and all The Padres.’
This lady, first one ever, her answer is, “I’ve never read any.”
Pause. Pause some more. I don’t know her; she doesn’t know me. It’s quiet. It’s getting awkward. So I say what I’m honestly thinking…
That was my measuring moment. I believe in my book. Fully. Not a dud in it. I’ll never get to feel what this woman is going to feel. I’ll never know what it’s like to open page one in full neutral, and go…o…oo…ooo…
This whole writing thing, it feels very tool-in-the-hand-of-the-Master. Why-me is my gauge for right-me.
So hear me, in my honesty, saying, this book is worthy.
In a world of noise, and dilution, where what-has-always-held-water is lied into leaks, where sense is anything but common, this book has legs that stand on proven ground, has arms that point Up, has a heart that is lonely for quality, for substance, for God, for not squandering the gift of life among the crowd of people who only follow crowds of people.
Having grown up country, I know well, the old saying, You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. And so it is with this book. But if you’re considering it for a meaningful gift, it’s serious water.
I, the writer, am no wimp. But when I read it, I feel, I tear up, I aspire, I think, I am laughing, and then prayerful, I feel clarity and the best of conviction. I feel less wide and more deep. I feel less me and more us. I feel meaning. I feel simplicity, served up on a plate of two sentences.
Yes, I believe in my book.
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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories, Volume I is now available. 3507 Ryan Street. Uncle P can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.