Joe Choi's Stories and Advice on Writing, Health, and Living a Happier Life

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Real People In The Real World

I met someone who worked at Disney a few months ago. She told me how some of the Disney characters live by her and how they like to party at night.

Last time I was at Disney was the summer going into third grade. I walked by Disney characters and the last thing I thought about was how the people wearing the suits partied after work. And how much they probably hated wearing those suits in 90-degree weather. Everything and everyone just seemed so happy then.

When I was a kid going through school I had young teachers in their twenties. I looked up to them as omnipotent sources of knowledge and wisdom. It was hard to imagine them drinking, smoking, and having sex.

Later, when I was 17, I got a summer job working as a janitor at the elementary school I went to. I already wrote about how that was the best job I ever had. But it was also a taste of the adult rumor mill. Miss So and So used to be a model and a singer. Now, she’s just a cog in the wheel, going through a bad divorce, and the only music she sings now is “Happy Birthday” whenever it’s one of the kid’s birthdays. Mr. So and So is gay. His boyfriend teaches at the school across town.

I don’t know what was true and what wasn’t, but I think that’s when I started to see teachers as “real” people. People who had hopes, dreams, fears, and insecurities. People who drank, smoked, and had sex outside of school. And then they eventually grew out of these phases and settled. And then unsettled once they were done settling.

I’m grateful I got that jolt of reality back then. It prepared me for the real world in many ways. One of the janitors used to be a truck driver. He told me the story of how a few drivers bragged to others about how much money they just made from a job at an overnight truck rest stop once. Then they got beat up and robbed in their sleep.

I carried that lesson with me when I traveled the world. I always had my transaction wallet—the one I’d whip out to pay for purchases in touristy areas. Then I’d have my real wallet stashed away. It had the rest of my cash, credit cards, and identification in it.

That janitor job also gave me a lot of the ideas and inspiration for my latest fiction book “The Hunt For Innocence.”

This is the back cover text:

Tom Hicks lives a good, simple life. He works as a janitor at an elementary school in a wealthy suburb.

He minds his own business. He loves to help people and he’s popular around town for it. He gets his biggest thrills from fixing things in his shop and hunting season. In fact, he lives for hunting season.

One day, Tom’s world gets turned upside down. He walks into a tangled web of money, drugs, and a group of powerful people who want him gone.

Tom is forced to go on the most important hunt of his life: A hunt for his own innocence. Who can he trust? Will he succeed? Or do the people who want him dead have the upper hand?

Other random notes

  • This is my longest book to date. I started this book over a year ago and worked away at it slowly.
  • I almost didn’t finish it. I got stuck at one part, but decided I had to push through to completion. So I feel like the story starts out in great detail, but comes to an abrupt end. That could be me overanalyzing things though.
  • I used a cover designed on Fiverr again. I feel guilty about hiring cheap labor through Fiverr though and will stop using it going forward. More on this later.
  • My first book went up on Amazon a little over a year ago. This is my fifth book.
  • This will probably be my last book on Amazon because…1.) Copywriting is picking up and I want to focus on that and paying off debt. 2.) Amazon has too much control over things. So if I do write another book, I’ll print and bind everything on my own and sell through my own means. 

If you’re interested, check out “The Hunt For Innocence” here.

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