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People Stories


 Product Description

Inside the Outside

This is really an interesting book. Full of fascinating experiences, interesting observations and unexpected conclusions, it rings of authentic, unvarnished truth. These are real people in real moments with real feelings. I think you'll enjoy it.
– Roy H. Williams

The Wizard of Ads issued a middle-of-the-night diner challenge in the January 9, 2006, Monday Morning Memo titled Inside the Outside.
Some of the responses were brilliant.
Some were deeply troubling. Some were simply confused. This book is the collection of all the responses the Wizard received.

Only 1,000 copies of this book will be printed. 200 of those copies will be given as gifts to the contributing authors. 800 copies will be sold.

Here's a piece of the memo that started it all:

It's 5:00AM and I'm sitting at the bar of an all-night café on the wrong side of town eating a three-dollar breakfast, listening to the smelly, funny stories of downtrodden people who know each other well. Their sparkling banter gives me a glimpse into problems I'll never touch, victories I'll never celebrate, a life I'll never have. These are they who will never have internet access, a credit card or cable TV.

But they seem happy.

I've come here to learn what it means to be an outsider in America.

People tell me they want to write. I respond, "You can't find a pencil?" In truth, few want to write. Most want only to have written. People tell me they want to travel, have adventures, meet interesting people and learn about different cultures. They want to expand their world. I'm betting you can guess my answer to that one... "If you will expand your world, you must crawl on your hands and knees, get on your belly and squirm under the fence that surrounds your insulated life."

For most people, travel means being pampered by accommodating servants in exotic places. But interesting people, strange cultures and high adventure don't await you on the other side of the world. They await you on the other side of town. Are you willing to get on your belly and crawl under that fence? Will you invest an hour to enlarge your world? If you will actually do it, not just think about it, but really do it, and write to me about it, I will send you a special gift of initiation. These are the rules:

1. You must arrive and be seated in a 24-hour eating establishment between 1:30AM and 5:30AM in a part of town where you rarely go. Or perhaps a truckstop beyond town's edge. The further outside your comfort zone, the better.

2. If a man, you must go alone. If a woman and concerned for your safety, you can take one other person with you. But make sure your friend understands the goal isn't to chat with each other, but to glimpse a whole other world that exists side-by-side with the one you know.

3. While you're eating and listening and absorbing this strange new reality, think of what these people need most and how you might help them get it. While you're at it, you might also think a little about what they have that you don't. There is a rich sense of community among the outcast.

4. Write the details of your excursion within 24 hours of your meal and email them to Corrine@WizardAcademy.com Be sure to provide a mailing address where we can send your special Gift of Initiation. I don't yet know what it will be.

331 page

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  1. People Stories

    Posted by D. Ellis from Shediac Cape, NB on 20th Nov 2013

    The basic emotions and needs of life are all too often lost in the material minded thought processes we all too often dwell upon. The 'People Stores' book was a very interesting read giving us the reminder that we should perhaps slow down our 'activities of self', to look around, to listen and to give of ourselves to others if it be only in the reflection of the moment. I compliment those who had the initiative, took the time and shared their experiences.

  2. A common beauty

    Posted by Michael Kenyon on 20th Nov 2013

    There were 2 points that really struck me in reading the People Stories in the book. The first was the way the authors wrote direct prose in sharing the stories they lived for the assignment. I read strong writing again and again which reflected the unadorned honest lives of the late nighters. It was refreshing to read this writing - a purge of my literary accumulations. Direct talk has beauty too often forgotten by writers searching for a memorable phrase. Instead of just a phrase, the entire expression can become memorable when it has the power of raw, direct prose. Sure, there might be inaccurate contractions, along with the spice of profanity. Yet you know what? Like a pair of fried eggs served on buttered wheat toast, it hits the spot.

    The second point that struck me was how similar the stories are in this book. People from all over went to their local diner at a late hour , and time after time what they wrote was nearly the same - the folks in the diner were a durable community. The outsiders at this hour were us - the ones sent like a tenured professor on sabbatical to study a different race. I thought that was cool. I thought it was cool, too, that the authors in this book found this same conclusion though they were far apart, and disconnected. We'd find links after the book was published; giving us, for a little while, a community too. I advise you to get it, and put it somewhere you want 2 - 5 pages of reading at a time. I think you'll be glad of how much treasure you gather while panning along this over looked stretch of river.

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