The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

photo by Salem Ortega-Morales

A new chapter

English teacher publishes book inspired by his past

Setting foot in his first job, English teacher Brent Bockelman was introduced to new tasks waiting to be fulfilled, but for the first time in his life, left the day with a feeling that the adults in his environment did not have his ‘best interest’ at heart.

At 19 years old, Bockelman spent his days pushing carts at a big box retail store but ended up writing a series of journal entries including abnormal events and dishonest behavior that ultimately led to the creation of his first self-published book.

Growing up, Bockelman had confidence that his teachers and coaches were always looking out for him and pushing him to do his best. But his experiences at work uncovered a different perspective.

One of these incidents was overhearing his managers making plans to steal fr

om one of their best employees due to the abundant amount of money she made.

As these events occurred more often, Bockelman began journaling them down in a notebook or even, in a floppy disk.

“(There were) days I’d be like, I’m going to write down this thing that happened. That’s crazy,” Bockelman said.

But after moving to a different city and leaving the job behind, the journals remained untouched until last year, when he gained a new motivation to create something from it.

Since the birth of his two daughters, Bockelman has always aspired to set a good example for them. However, he realized that he couldn’t encourage his daughters to put their best effort in accomplishing things if he hadn’t done the same.

“I can’t really tell them to go out and do their best and achieve if I don’t ever achieve anything,” Bockelman said.

So, he picked up his pen and began crafting together “Worked.”

This “cautionary tale” follows a teenage boy by the name of Billy Evans who gets swarmed into an unfamiliar work environment at the Triple J’s Supermarket. There, he is tempted by ‘shady dealings’ and an unethical employer but still longs for promotion. As he progresses, his relationships face corruption, and his loved ones grow concerned as he sacrifices more of himself.

Although he shares a familiar experience with the managers, his book is loosely based on a previous co-worker who became a manager a

couple years after he left. Bockelman was stunned to find out his co-worker began complaining about his employees just as his manager had once done.

“I saw him turn into the person that we didn’t like,” Bockelman said.

At 19, Bockelman started the job that inspired his book ‘Worked.’
photo contributed by Brent Bockelman

After discovering this, Bockelman continued working on plot and character arc while making sure to include allusions, figurative language and symbolism. Once the writing portion was done, he worked alongside a professional editor and book designer to finalize revisions. Through some self-teaching, Bockelman successfully utilized the Kindle Direct Publishing platform to publish years of hard work.

As his family and friends discovered his book, they were surprised to find out because most of his work was done in secret.

“I kind of did it in the shadows,” Bockelman said.

Bockelman’s wife Sarah Fox knew that he was working on a book, but she wasn’t sure when it would come out.

After starting on it, she expressed that she enjoys trying to pick out pieces from the book that he’s shared with her in the past.

When his former Language Arts teachers, Kay Watson, got a copy of this book, she was extremely proud of him.

“I loved reading it. I really didn’t want to put it down,” Watson said. “He did a very good job of characterization and keeping his readers interested in the story.”

Retired SHS media specialist Mary Jane Jones, Bockelman’s colleague, expressed a similar reaction.

“The real test of a good book is whether or not you keep thinking about a book after you’e finished reading it,” Jones said. “I couldn’t get his book out of my mind.”

Jones even added that she definitely wants him to write another book.

But Bockelman feels that it was hard to stay consistent while writing his first book so he encourages writers to find joy in their writing and persevere.

“Stick with it because it’s pretty rewarding in the end,” Bockelman said.

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About the Contributor
Lucy Len Dim
Lucy Len Dim, Features Reporter
Hi guys, I’m Lucy Len Dim! I’ve always loved being able to express ideas and feelings through writing, so I joined the Journal as a Feature reporter. I try to be involved and open myself up to new opportunities so I joined Drama Club and I serve as  the Sophomore Class President. After high school, I plan to study psychology and teaching alongside theater arts. But, I’d absolutely love to go on a mission trip where I can share my faith with others because I love kids and of course, traveling! I am in LOVE with Tennessee, rainforests, and beaches so I’d definitely love to head there for a trip. In my free time, I watch rom-coms and family shows with my brothers while eating endless bags of spicy chips. My favorite rom com is “10 Things I Hate About You” and my favorite family show is “Fuller House.” Speaking of family, playing volleyball with my cousins is my way of ending a perfect summer grill-out night. Nevertheless, I’m happiest with my girls. We support and help one another out while still living out our teenage girl lives! We love listening to Taylor Swift together! But even though I love being surrounded by people, I’m a complete germaphobe and clean freak. I hate bacteria, dirt, or just the risk of getting sick. So to sum it up, I love bright, unique energy and hope I can bring some to you through our feature stories!

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