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starting From Scratch

Updated: 2 days ago

First published on Medium

That’s what we need to do most of the time, right? 

Before I realized that making sourdough bread was a “COVID” thing, I was already well on my way to “perfecting” my loaves: Flour, Salt, Yeast, and Water. Although four simple ingredients are all it takes to make bread, it’s not that simple. It never is.  The sourdough starter alone can take up to 10 days to ferment, which involves two feedings a day (equal parts of water and flour), patience, and a fair amount of doubt that the starter will even work. 

Early in writing Ten Days With Dad, I knew I had to create a writing platform: a basic website, social media accounts, and emails from friends and family. That also seemed pretty simple. It wasn’t. 

Website options are voluminous and time-consuming, so I hired Melanie at to build it, though I still had to spend hours getting her the written and digital assets. Do I create new handles for the book or expand my existing ones for social media? Wait, I need email software? Can’t I do bulk emails from my Outlook account? (The answer is no unless you want to get tagged as a spammer.) Which email address will I use to communicate to my audience: personal, work, or one dedicated to my writing? (The answer is all three, depending on the intended audience, though serves as the primary “contact me” email for anything book-related.)

But then I realized that starting from scratch is how I’ve tackled every major moment, from my first college application to my first book. Yes, for sure, I’ve had help along the way. Anybody who claims they are “self-made” is full of themselves or unaware of how selfish that sounds. If it comes easy to you, you’re an elite individual, but it still requires you to put time, energy, and resources into your endeavor, assuming you seek elite results. 

My definition of an expert is simple: once you’ve been in the trenches of your particular subject, issue, or domain, then you’re entitled to call yourself an expert. Thus, I’m an expert in making sourdough bread. After many failed attempts and hundreds of hours handling flour and yeast, I can now produce bread I comfortably serve to friends. I’m not saying my bread is elite, but it’s good, and I proudly serve it to friends.

Unfortunately, I’m also an expert caregiver, specifically for Alzheimer’s and dementia. I’ve been in the trenches, the places that teach you the most about yourself. Those deep, dark places that sear doubt, anger, and fear into your soul yet simultaneously bring humility, hope, and endless love into your heart. It was the greatest burden and greatest blessing of my life. 

Ten Days With Dad isn’t a white paper on dealing with Alzheimer’s or a guidebook for caregivers, either. But it was made from scratch, one memory, one sentence, and one sleepless night at a time. The book’s not elite, but my overall sense of pride, purpose, and passion is. 

If you haven’t purchased a copy yet, I hope you will soon. And if you have, I would welcome your feedback, either through an honest review on Amazon or by emailing or texting. I’m always happy to swap recipes–about bread, author platforms, writing, publishing–or anything else made from scratch. 




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