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DP Alum Writes Not so Trashy Novel

By Caleb Hawkins

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Teddy Stienkellner as a young DP student and today as a writer | Images courtesy of Teddy Stienkellner

By Caleb Hawkins | Editor

September 22, 2013

Six years after graduating from Dos Pueblos, Teddy Steinkellner is coming back. Not as a teacher, not as an administrator, and not as a custodian.

But, he is interested in trash cans.

On Tuesday September 24, Steinkellner will visit Dos Pueblos’ library to sign copies of his new book, Trash Can Days. 

“I am so pumped to return to DP!” said Steinkellner, “The only thing that makes me nervous is the idea that everyone will hear someone is visiting campus, and they’ll all think it’s going to be another Katy Perry concert, and then when they see me they’ll get all disappointed and bored. But that won’t happen. Probably.”

Trash Can Days follows the trials and tribulations of four students as they begin junior high school. In the story are best friends Jake and Danny struggle as changing times cause growing distance between them. Also in the book are Jake’s sister Hannah, the school’s queen bee, who stuggles to retain her crown, and Dorothy, a quiet kid, who discovers a way to live out her fantasy through the school’s writing class.

Although it’s stage is set at San Paulo Junior High, DP did take part in the creation of  Trash Can Days’ setting. And while happy to admit some of the characters in the book are based on Steinkellner’s experiences at DP, he is not releasing which ones.

DP has also influenced his style and even his desire to become a writer.

“DP helped me to become a much more confident and bold person. All of the different activities I did at DP — improv, Holiday Package, playwriting, mock trial — helped me step outside of the introverted shell that I’d sort of made for myself in junior high,” Steinkellner said.  “In addition, my teachers at DP, especially my English teachers, not only made me a better writer, but they made me a bolder writer who became willing to try bigger things.”

In addition to his many activities at school, Steinkellner was also active off campus by hosting his own public access TV show Santa Barbara: Uncensored. 

But now, he has an opportunity to outshine his TV fame, as an up and coming author who has been reviwed by the  New York Times (click here to view).

 “I still don’t believe that that really happened,” notes Steinkellner on the Times review.

Although there are a few more days to wait until Steinkellner’s visits DP for a book signing this Tuesday, he has left us two main pieces of advice for aspiring writers:

Firstly, just write:

“If you want to get good at something, you have to get experience. I do recommend keeping a journal of some sort at the very least, but it’s absolutely one of the most satisfying things in the world when you write something and when you’re proud of it.”

Second, write what you know:

“[This] maybe the most cliche piece of writing advice there is, but it’s the one that works for me. I only pull from real life experiences and real relationship dynamics I’ve known in my life. This doesn’t mean that I’ll only ever write realistic stories, but everything that I do write has to be from my experience, some way, somehow, and I believe that every writer has to do basically the same thing.”

Trash Can Days is available for $16.99 online at Amazon.com, at local bookstores and will be available at the Dos Pueblos signing on the 24th.

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DP Alum Writes Not so Trashy Novel