“Honest, witty, wise, raw, hysterical, heartwarming, heartbreaking… and hard to put down.”

             Michael J. Chase, Bestselling Author and Founder of The Kindness Center

Maybe you’ve recently puked up some ayahuasca in a Laurel Canyon VRBO, or dropped a half-hit of LSD at a tech-sponsored Burning Man camp, in an accelerated search for some sort of life-affirming wisdom you can’t quite grasp.

You want wellness, clarity, and purpose.

I get it, kind of.

I’ve written three books under another name, all published by a very well-known company that ‘specializes’ in those things. I’ve garnered critical praise from Huffington Post (important, enlightening, and ultimately inspiring), Deepak Chopra (a beautiful tribute to the resilience of the human spirit), the late, great Dr. Wayne Dyer (an inspiring, thought-provoking, and life-changing work… one of the greatest writers I’ve ever discovered), Ellen Degeneres (I. love. this), and Billboard Magazine (one of the year’s most touching, unique releases).

And now I’m back in the ring with ‘Manifesting is for Pussies,’ which plays off its skeptical title and hopefully into the hearts of readers searching for a modern-day “Catcher in the Rye.” Delivered with vulnerability (and the occasional f-bomb), the stories in this book really happened to me.

Told through the eyes of a struggling singer-songwriter (that’s me) caught between his 1980s childhood and today’s comparative-happiness landscape, I wrote this collection of vignettes to reveal truths about relationships, family, society and career often buried beneath curated social media posts… truths that once acknowledged, can shine an empowering light on your own transformative journey toward joy, gratitude, and connection.

Read on for a glimpse into the world of Tweety Park, my alter-ego and porn-star name (first pet and childhood street… works every time), at the beginning of our journey.

SHITBAG

I’m a million miles away, floating along the western edge of the nature preserve down the street from my house, where the dawn mist clings to the willows and a soft sea wind blows dove melodies from the cottonwood trees.

Tribal legends have drifted for ten thousand years through these mystic reeds, rooted in the nourishing collision of fresh water from the coastal mountains and the saltwater bounty of the ocean. I’ve been gone from this place for a while, but now I drift here, too, in this confluence of ancient and personal history.

My fingers brush the waist-high grass as I breathe deep and walk moccasin-quiet through the early morning peace, daydreaming that instead of a reluctant warrior, I’m Russell Crowe at the end of Gladiator, brushing the same waist-high grass on a battle-weary return home to my beautiful family.

A self-composed cinematic theme song lifts this scene into the heavens of redemption, and I am triumph embodied, I am success realized, I am a dream come true and a lost love found, I am everything I thought I’d be by now, I am a crinkling, strained crunch under my right foot.

I stop mid-stride, and look down to discover a little pink piece of plastic peeking out from under my shoe.

But this isn’t just any little pink piece of plastic.

This is a little pink plastic bag of dog shit.

Somebody has watched their precious LuLu take a shit, wrapped the waste in a little pink plastic bag, and left the accomplishment on the side of the trail.

I have a lot of experience in this area.

Well, not in banging a Tinder swipe.

Everything about my old dog was big and brown, and I used to carry plastic bags of her substantial shit out of this nature pre- serve. The only transmission I ever encountered was a warmish palm, not exactly unwelcome on chilly walks, but the pebbles of shit in this bag are rock-hard cold from being left outside overnight.

Who does that? I’ll tell you who. A shitbag.

shitbag (n) an individual bearing the marks of entitlement who wilts in the face of responsibility

Because I saw this same little pink plastic bag with the double-knot right here yesterday, and gave the depositing party the benefit of the doubt, hoping they’d pick the special delivery up on their way out.

But now I know they had no intention of coming back. They elected to abandon their shit for someone else to deal with.

I sketch a drawing on the cover of my mental PeeChee folder, like I often do when incredulously faced with selfish human behavior. Maybe the burden was too heavy to carry, or they were worried they’d get a disease, although that Tinder swipe at the wine bar is likely a more reliable infectious option.

Shitbags must have some sort of pussy-strength in numbers, which makes them feel better about leaving their shit for other people to deal with. I’ve been seeing little pink, black, brown and green plastic bags lurking everywhere, from the side of this trail to the beach, sidewalk and riverbank. I even saw one hanging from a tree last week, like a Christmas turd ornament.

I pick up as many of those bags as my small hands and match- stick forearms will hold, carry them wherever they need to go, and throw them away. Like I’m doing with this bag of shit right now.

Imagine the world if we all dealt with our own shit, instead of packaging it up pretty and leaving it for someone else to deal with.

I’m talking about life here, shitbag. And your little pink plastic bag of shit.