Monday, April 14, 2008

The Latest Letter or E-Mail about The Joy of Not Working

I received the following e-mail from Tracy Maxwell in Aurora, Colorado in April 2008:

Re: The Joy of Not Working

Ernie, Thank you so much for your great book. I plan to check out the others now that I have finally finished this one.

Almost a year ago, I left my job of eight years with a start-up company for which I was one of the first employees hired. By the time I left, I had been running the place for two years, and taken on a great deal of stress in the process. A cancer diagnosis at age 36 was just the wake-up call I needed to find a new life path.

I took the summer off, camped with friends, guided four whitewater canoe trips (I have been doing this weekend warrior job for five years now), took a five-day sea kayaking trip around the San Juan Islands, visited friends and family around the country, went to Alaska with four friends to celebrate my cancerversary, and took five weeks to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. It was at a weekend retreat at a wonderful place called the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, that I came across your book about 8 month ago.

After my summer off, I started a non-profit which I have been running for just over six months. I work from home, feel a real passion for what I am doing, am managing to pay the bills on about half what I was making last year, and my life is much happier in many ways. There are many adjustments to working from home - I miss being around people as I am a big-time extrovert - so trying to do more to spend time with friends.

About two years ago, I got rid of my tv, and for the past almost year, I have pledged myself to not buy anything new (anything I need I can get used or borrow), and I'm happy to report that the quality of my life has not suffered from either of these decisions. In fact, just the opposite. I still watch some tv online or on DVD on my laptop - but watch only what I want, when I want, and much better quality programs.

I am one of those people who has always wanted to write a book, and I have always been an avid writer. For a year now, I have been writing a monthly online column about the experience of dealing with cancer as a single person ( and search on my full name if you are interested - the column is called A Single Cell). It has been hugely fulfilling for me, and seems to be impacting others as well. I recently started two blogs as well. Even though I am writing for free at this point, I hope to find a way to make a living at writing sometime in the near future.

Even though I was already on my path when I discovered your book, it has offered me great encouragement that it is indeed a valid path, and I have recommended it to many other people. Thanks for the inspiration and the good advice. I wish you the best.

P.S. I am going to blog about The Joy of Not Working and this philosophy of life soon.

Tracy Maxwell, Executive Director,, Aurora, CO

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Note: More retirement quotes coming soon:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Writer's Life - Nothing Smells Like Unpublished Writing

These are some quotes about the writing life that I am adding to my websites (inspirational quotes and retirement jobs ).

Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.
— Sylvia Plath

Nice guys can't write.
— Knox Burger

Writing books is certainly a most unpleasant occupation. It is lonesome, unsanitary, and maddening. Many authors go crazy.
— H. L. Mencken

Writing is a profession in which you have to keep proving your talent to people who have none.— Jules RenardBooks for general reading always smell bad; the odor of common people hangs around them.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.
— Leo Tolstoy

I hate books, for they only teach people to talk about what they don't understand.
— Jean-Jacques Rosseau

What Would You Do If You Could Replan Retirement? — Top Five Replies from Retirees

Save more or save less money — 39 percent
Take better care of their health — 29 percent
Live closer to their children — 24 percent
Retire earlier — 23 percent
Get involved in more hobbies — 21 percent