Wagner Writer

Hi you!

Here’s my 5-pronged update:


Current Book

So I’ve rewritten the second chapter as I mentioned I would. Then I reread it and decided it had to be rewritten again.

It was during the reread that I figured out what’s really bothering me. The second chapter doesn’t have enough conflict for the main character. What he does is very important so it’s not necessarily a stagnant scenario. But there’s really nothing standing in his way, unlike in other chapters. It just felt too ‘easy’, and a way to introduce a certain scenario.

It’s hard to say without giving too much away. But, when the final product is ready, I can share the original if you want to see the changes.

Or maybe not. It’s pretty cringe worthy, lol!

New Book

I still haven’t touched the new book. When I finish the fifth draft of the first book, I’ll be hopping back into this one.


I’m a loser and still haven’t done anything with the video. Grab your pitchforks and come make me do it!


I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’m seeing Josh Groban this week. It’s going to be so fun! I mention it here, because I’m really trying to find a way for Josh to hear me sing, LOL. My sister’s boss managed to get us front row seats so I’ll be right there in front of him. And I’m really loud!!

So I decided I’m going to sing along with him… as loud as I can! I might try to harmonize with him, too.

The problem is, I only know one song (‘You Raise Me Up’).

How am I going to look amazing to Josh Groban if I only know one song? Especially if he chooses not to sing that song??

I guess I could just randomly sing another song in between one of his, but he might not appreciate that. And what would I choose (I couldn’t do You Raise Me Up cuz what if he sang it later or got mad at me)?

OK I’m making that last part up. But I do want to sing along, if only for fun. Therefore, I downloaded the album a couple days ago. That’s not a lot of time so I think I’m going to learn one or two songs and really put my all into them.

OK I might be the biggest loser and dork on the planet….

(UPDATE: I’m leaving for Phoenix in like 20 minutes and, after a couple ‘memorization sessons’, I have three songs pretty much down. Go me! I’m a loser! Go me!)

Enjoying the Area

I’ve done a few more volunteer stints since a previous post and wanted to share some updates on how everything is going.

First of all, I picked the absolute craziest time to volunteer. Unbeknownst to me before I started, they are actually moving to another, larger store. The grand opening is November 1st.

Consequently, my job has been to assist them with getting ready for the move. That’s included assembling shelves, moving book cases, putting existing products into bins, etc…. I actually feel a bit sorry for the customers now, because instead of residing on shelves, more and more products are piled into plastic bins. Imagine looking for a book in one of fifteen huge bins sitting on the floor.

Next, I wanted to talk about the people a bit. Everyone is really cool! The staff is made up of like 99.9% women (and with only ten employees that .1% of men is hard to come by). The main cashier is approximately 738 years old but she’s super nice and feisty. She’s Nicesty! An older tourist came in and was clearly annoyed none of us knew about the local tractor pull event (for reals). The lady laid into him. She was like, “I grew up on a farm and we had to work our tails of to eat. Our tractors were used to feed the family and we didn’t have time for silly games on them. So no, I don’t know about the tractor pull.”


The manager is also a total firecracker. At first I wasn’t sure I’d like her. The first time I volunteered, it was made very clear that she was the manager. I’m wary of bosses who like to remind everyone that they’re in charge.

But she turned out to be really cool. She thought she had whooping cough (she sounded absolutely awful last Friday) but still came in and worked hard. And she’s good at finding tasks for people. I guess that doesn’t necessarily make her cool. What makes her cool is she banters with the staff and is good natured with them all.

OK with that out of the way, here are some memorable things that have happened while helping them:

1. Three weeks ago, they put me in charge of testing electronics. That meant I went digging through the piles of donations looking for things like CD players, boom boxes, Teddy Ruxpins (I wish I found one!), portable GPSes (is that how you pluralize it?), etc…

When I had a nice little pile, I went through and checked to see if everything worked. It was fun and I even came across an old Sega Genesis, complete with controllers and games. Woot! When I pulled it out, they said I could try to hook it up to one of the TVs available for purchase. I admit that made me nervous – I was a web developer so people think I’m techy, but I’m awful at stuff like that. I ended up standing by the TVs with my mouth cupped over my phone, whispering, “Chris, OK the back has like a plug for something with a bunch of holes in it. What cable do I use?”

2. This past Friday, we moved the book cases over for their new book section. Now, you have to understand that virtually everything in the store has been donated (even the test batteries I used for the electronics). That includes the book cases so, instead of uniform sets, they’re all random – random heights, random colors, random materials. Naturally, because they’ve been donated, some are kinda rickety. So they wanted me to bracket them together. It turned out to be the hardest job I’ve ever done. I had to screw the book cases together so they’d be more stable. The wood in one of the central pieces was so hard, I literally gave myself blisters AND rug burn from the screwdriver.

3. The new location they’re moving into used to be a Napa Auto Parts. And the old owners left all the old shelving. It’s the kind you usually see in auto stores – metal with lots of holes. The blue color they’re famous for is also in everything. Because of the nature of this goodwill store, they’re not getting anything new. So all the shelving and stuff we put up were all the existing Napa ones. LOL So when you walk in there, it’s going to look really familiar.

Random Insights or Stories

Some of you might remember the story I posted a few weeks back about the Children’s Park. Well, we had so much fun that night that we decided to do ‘weekends in the park ™.’ I thought there were only one or two parks here, but there are quite a few more (like six!!). So we decided to have dinner at a random park every week or two over the next few months. Actually, I shouldn’t say that future tense, because we had one a couple Saturdays ago.

Hmmmmmm… OK I was going to tell you the name of the park, but I can’t remember. And getting there was just as confusing as the Children’s Park! Apparently, ‘park’ in page means, ‘a place where stalkers can hide their victims,’ because we all had to call for directions. Chris and Windy even needed help and they’ve lived here for over six years!

Once we got to the park, I really, really liked it. It was very well lit and looked fairly new, with newish playground equipment. I liked the vibe I got from the place.

It actually felt very secluded so we started telling stories. And by stories, I mean everyone talked about how racist their grandparents and great grandparents used to be (everyone has one, don’t deny it!). And by telling, I mean we were yelling. At one point, we realized the park was surrounded by a small apartment complex. I still wonder how many people heard us. If any of you did, I assure you we were talking about our racist *grandparents*, not each other.

Short Stories

Here’s a story: I’m leaving for Phoenix tomorrow to see Josh Groban.


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