The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Daniel Will Harris

The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased as punch (diet punch that is) to bring you the humor and insightful human observations of Daniel Will Harris, author of My Wife and Times. —Ed].

Cast your web into the net

By Daniel Will Harris

You know how sometimes you just wake up with an idea your head? That just happened to me. I realized that I would not have been writing this to you today if a lot of things hadn't gone wrong in the past. These were things that seemed bad at the time, but eventually proved to be blessings in disguise.

For example, I wouldn't be writing this now, or editing if, eight years ago, someone hadn't stolen a big chunk of a book I wrote, and put it in a major magazine. At the time it seemed like a disaster, but it really started a string of good events.

I started to think about all the things that led me to where I am today. Being petrified to go away to the school that accepted me in New York led to meeting my first (and hopefully only) wife. I also wouldn't have met her if her mother hadn't pretended to be sick so she wouldn't leave school and go to Europe as she'd planned (something she wasn't happy about at the time, but if she'd gone, we might never have met).

Living in a bad apartment building and picking up a postcard on the dirty elevator floor led to meeting life long friends. Being too lazy to take a "real" job led to my getting a part in a movie.

Not being able to afford something that cost $100 led to a job where I started writing about computers and I met a fellow writer who's one of my best friends.

Fighting with a PR person who said no one on earth would ever want a laser printer led me to use the seventh LaserJet ever made, and to immediately see the future of desktop publishing. Having a bi-polar boss who liked to scream at his employees and make them take lie detector tests led to my quitting to write my first book.

Having a publisher who "forgot" to pay me my royalties led me to finding a better publisher and publish the first book about desktop publishing with a word processing program which led to my being able to escape from L.A.

More unfortunate incidents with publishers led me to build my own web site, when the web was young. That plagiarism thing led to my meeting an editor, and writing for c|net when it started. Having to endure later editors there who seemed unable to read more than 150 words at a time led me to abandon my biggest source of income, which led to the wonderful chance to do what I'm typing right now. I get to write and edit articles and exchange e-mail with interesting people like you all over the world (and even meet some of them). And If my computer hadn't had a particularly bad crash, I wouldn't have started writing these personal intros.

Finally, if I hadn't almost died a few years ago, I might not appreciate everything as much as I do now.

This is how life works—so when we make friends, fall in love or get a great job, it's either an amazing stroke of luck, or part of some plan far too complicated for any of us to understand, much less really control.

And while I sometimes look back and wonder about the road I didn't take, I remember that I my own plans turned out far different (for the better) than I imagined. So my dreams of what might have been might have turned out far different, too, and perhaps for the worse.

Anne Lamott summed it up with a story in her book, "Crooked Little Heart,"

"Long ago, there was a farmer who lived in China. One day, several wild horses crashed through the gates of his farm, causing a great deal of damage. "Oh no!" cried the neighbors, "This is terrible news!" The old farmer shrugged, "Bad news, good news—who knows?"

The next day, the horses came back and the farmer's twenty-year-old-son managed to capture one. All the neighbors ran over to admire it, "Oh, how wonderful!" they cried, "What good news!" "Good news, bad news—who knows?" shrugged the farmer.

Several days later, the farmer's son, attempting to break the steed, was thrown and his leg badly broken. The neighbors rushed over, peering at the young man in bed, "Oh, this is awful news!" they cried. The farmer shrugged, "Good news, bad news, who knows?"

A few weeks later, the Chinese army came by, conscripting all the area's young men for war raging in the south. They couldn't take the young man with the broken leg... "

You just never know. So cast your net out into the web (or your web out into the net) and try to enjoy whatever catch you reel in. You never know where it might lead.



My Wife and Times by Daniel Will HarrisIf you would like to read more fabulous stories such as Moms Online, you need Daniel Will Harris’s My Wife and Times. The 148 page book contains stories that are conveniently short, perfect for bedtime reading, or between airport friskings. Price: $15 postpaid and is available for purchase online at or on



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