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Daniel Pieracci is a novel writer and a freelance advertising copywriter. 

Postcard from Maggia

Greetings from the Maggia Valley in beautiful Ticino. I'm lucky to be able to move my writing week here, into a little stone house, just me and my laptop. It's my own personal writing retreat. 

That's my writing spot, right there behind the lense flare.  

That's my writing spot, right there behind the lense flare.  

I began at the beginning and wrote just over 1000 words today ... All I could manage after a busy train trip and a hot bike ride to the house. It's a start. Will attempt 2000 tomorrow. And then I'll do a little road ride in the afternoon.  

On 40

When people ask me how I feel about turning 40, I tell them the truth – that I was against it, but I didn't have any say in the matter. I don't imagine that my struggle with aging is any different or any more profound than anyone else's, but whatever, it's mine, and I'm not concerned with how old anyone else is. And I didn't want to turn 40.

Only fools and children look forward to turning 40. If someone had pulled me aside thirty years ago and said "Listen kid, there's gonna come a time when you can walk into any grocery store and buy (dramatic pause) as much chocolate as you want," well, that would have sounded pretty fucking appealing. But now that I'm here, I know the truth of the matter: too old to be young, far too young to retire, and running out of choices. Turning 40 is some serious business. No more time to find my dream career, I'm in the midst of it, dreamy or not. Can't take my health for granted anymore – one sleepless night, and I wake up a broken man. And it isn't just me any more – I've got people to take care of that aren't me. No more fooling around.

The good news is that I've figured some stuff – what I'm good at, what I'm extremely not good at. What I should be doing for work. When to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em. I became an expert in something, at least enough that people pay me money to do it. I learned how to ask for what I need, I learned how to take yes for an answer, and I learned how to say no. I feel like I'm ready to sit at the grown-ups table. Indeed, I've grown up at least twenty years in the last ten, and I'm proud of that. I hope this curve of learning keeps getting steeper, because I've got some lost time to make up for. Too many years spent a-wanderin'. I'm done with that now.

And so, 40. I'm getting used to it. Slowly.

Here's to the next 40. I'm against turning 80 too, but slightly less so. 


I Got Great Readers

A few weeks ago we had lunch with my in-laws, Elisabeth and Gregor. They asked me how it was going with Take Your Shot and I told them it was going fine. And then Elisabeth asked, "Has Gregor shown you how he's reading it?" 

English isn't his first language, it's his fourth. And while Take Your Shot isn't Shakespeare, it ain't no kids book neither, so he has to work a bit harder. And the thing is, he really is working hard! Check this out:

Mapping out the characters, their roles, and relationships. Like a boss.

That's the chart he drew up to keep track of the characters and their roles and relationships. That's dedication! And I am so honored that he's putting in this kind of effort. 

He's the busiest retired person I know. But he's not waiting for a week-long beach vacation, he's diving in head first. He's not just using the book as a mere train ride time-killer (which, of course I would be totally fine with), and he's not just skimming through it, content not to understand. No, he's attacking it like a hungry grad student. He's reading the heck out of this thing. 

I saw Gregor yesterday and got the update: He's on part three now and still going strong. He's upped his game by moving from a pad of graph paper to what he calls his Three Screen System - he reads Take Your Shot on his iPad, he keeps the dictionary app open on his iPhone, and he takes notes on his laptop. 

So Gregor, three cheers for you and your Three Screen System! You're hard at work reading, which inspires me to keep on working hard on Novel #2. Now, excuse me as I get back to writing something that makes all that effort worthwhile. 

Time for a little post-reading relaxation.

My First Reading

So, the trip to Japan wasn't just fun and games (and food). We also did something a little crazy in Kyoto – we organized a reading. It was Caroline's idea, naturally, but it made perfect sense – with my first book Take Your Shot very nearly finished, why not start putting it out there?

Daisuke, our very gracious AirBnB host and all-around cool person, also runs a cafe in Kyoto. It's called Kazenone, and he offered us its lovely meeting space in the back. So we picked a few chapters, wrote up a presentation, and put together chips, salsa and guacamole – the perfect post-reading snack far a book about a Mexican-American family living in LA. 

It was the first reading I've ever done, and I think it went really well. It certainly was such a pleasure to meet everyone, talk about writing, and learn more about life in Japan. I'd like to thank Daisuke and everyone at Kazenone for the great organization and the lovely space. And thanks Caroline and Maiko for the brilliant organization and delicious food!

The Pieraccis Do Japan

When I was a kid back in the 80's, Japan was this mystical, magical faraway place where the rules were strict, the food was crazy, and the car industry was so powerful, it was sure to destroy America like some sort of ultra-capitalist Godzilla.  But I wasn't scared – Japan was where all the really good toys and comic books were, and I desperately wanted a piece of that action. 

Fast forward to this year, and the kid in me finally got his wish. We took off on October 1st and explored for three weeks. We saw Tokyo, Takayama, and Kyoto (we had planned more, but traveling with a 1.5 year old turned out to be more tiring than we thought). We took very fast trains, and ate weird and wonderful food. We met a bunch of very friendly, interesting folks, and enjoyed spending time with old friends. We wanna go back!

Check out all the excitement on my Instagram feed.

Just another cabinet full of all my childhood wishes and fantasies.