An accidental author

The poet Allen Ginsberg, who liked to work quickly, had an oft-stated theory about writing: "First thought, best thought."

Michael Henderson, a Huntington Beach resident who found himself out of a job early this year, never aspired to be the next Ginsberg or a literary icon at all. But one day in January, he sat down at his computer and wrote the first thought that came to mind — and that thought became the first entry in a 184-page book.

"I was literally sitting at my desk and staring out the window of my home office and realized I needed to be working on something," said Henderson, 47. "I felt like I wasn't doing anything in my life at that moment and the idea came that I needed to be writing."

The first words that flushed across Henderson's computer were as follows: "Sincerely compliment someone you care about today. If doing so makes you feel uncomfortable then you haven't been doing it often enough."

Soon, that short paragraph was followed by another about reducing salt intake, then another about keeping pets' water bowls in the shade. When Henderson reached 365 pieces of advice, he assembled them into a manuscript, keeping them in the order he wrote them in, and titled it "Wise It Up: 365 Pearls of Timeless Wisdom & Sage Advice to Help You Live a Happier, Healthier and More Fulfilling Life."

The book, which Henderson released in September through the self-publishing company AuthorHouse, is now available on Amazon, Google Books and elsewhere.

Henderson, who grew up in West Covina and has lived in Huntington for 17 years, assembled his 365 pearls from a variety of sources. In some cases, he consulted books or websites for research; other tidbits came from conversations with friends.

Many entries also came from Henderson's personal experience — particularly travel, which he called his primary passion in life. Among the entries in "Wise It Up" are a list of tips for vacationing on a budget, a guide to saying "thank you" in different languages and a pointer on how to experience all four seasons within a few days (hint: It involves the equator).

Henderson, who worked for 20 years as a real estate appraiser, has made ends meet in recent years by investing, working in network marketing and serving as a background actor on TV. While he may be a novice as an author, he has at least one supporter already in the publishing world: JT DeBolt, who wrote the motivational book "Flight Plan to Success" and contributed a foreword to "Wise It Up."

DeBolt, who became fast friends with Henderson after meeting him at a personal development conference in 2008, said he expects Henderson's book to catch on with readers.

"Unlike a whole lot of self-help or motivational books, it's coming from a place of authenticity," DeBolt said. "He wrote it himself, published it himself, and he means it when he says it. And I think that's really refreshing."

Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB

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