Thursday, December 15, 2011



A series of accidents.

Or fate.

You could call the birth of THE FEEDSTORE CHRONICLES either one I suppose

The journey began in the early spring of 1989 when I landed a job I’d never considered applying for. My decision to hire on at that dusty Texas feed store was made on an impulse. Of course I had no idea my new boss was the world’s most morally bankrupt man, nor did I realize working for him would change my life, both then and now.

Flash forward nearly two decades, to February of 2007. I’d been writing with middling success for nearly a decade when I found myself at a weeklong writing workshop out in Tucson, Arizona. The workshop was an intense series of exercises as well as pitches to various agents and editors. To unwind each night we writers would gather in one of the cabins and imbibe in copious amounts of adult beverages while bullshitting. Given my Texas roots I probably did more than my fair share of that bullshitting, but for once that proved to be a good thing.

At the exit meeting, the editor who’d organized the workshop sat down with each writer, and explained what he viewed as our strengths and weaknesses. His words to me went something like this … “Travis you’re a good writer, but a better storyteller. At night when everyone was sitting around with a beer in their hand, you were the voice they wanted to hear. But you think too much about the words you put on paper. Go home. Write something not as a writer but as a storyteller. Pretend you’re sitting on a barstool and telling a tale to a half-drunk stranger perched beside you.”

If I wasn’t an eternal optimist, I might have taken the editors comments as to mean only the inebriated found my stories captivating. Instead, I went home and did two things. One, I started a blog because an agent had told me I needed to develop a web presence, and two, I began writing a short story in the style the editor suggested.

That short story turned into a piece called Plundered Booty which appeared in the Deadly By The Dozen anthology published earlier this year. But this post is about THE FEEDSTORE CHRONICLES so let me focus back on it.

Finding it difficult to create fresh blog content on a daily basis, I soon began to rely upon my repertoire of stories from my own life, including my days at the feed store working for that incredulous boss. My blog series THE FEEDSTORE CHRONICLES sort of took off. For twelve Sundays in a row I ran pieces about those days and I saw my blog readership double, then triple during that time span.

Now I may not be the sharpest rowel on the spur, but it didn’t take me long to realize I needed to turn the collection of humorous vignettes in a full-out, coming-of-age comedy. The task proved harder that I imagined as I had to focus on my own shortcomings as well as the crazy behavior of my boss but in the end I discovered more about the person I am than I ever thought I would going in.

Funny thing is that feed store job; the one I never aimed to get in the first place, has had a hand in every facet of my life. Including the fact I can now call myself a published author.

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Dorte H said...

Haha, good to hear that bullshitting pays in the end :)

Thank you Patti for hosting Travis; I enjoy these optimistic posts a lot.

Travis Erwin said...

Thanks Dorte but if bullshitting paid well I'd be Bill Gates by now.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Great story and I'm sober.(for now.)

Charles Gramlich said...

Texans and BSing go together like cornbread and butter.