When Mike Copeland was in middle school in Mountain View, an episode of the 1970s TV series "The Brady Bunch" featured young Peter Brady becoming popular around school by writing about the accomplishments of his middle school peers.
"That episode inspired me to start writing a column that I called "Did You Know" for my own middle school newspaper," said Copeland, 50. "The attention I got by being a writer was intoxicating." Copeland said that his column then morphed into "Around the Quad" at Mountain View High School and later became "In the Locker Room" when he attended California State University, Northridge.
Copeland, who by day is the managing partner of Cassidy Turley Northern California's office in Pleasanton, credits his talent for writing with helping to build his name recognition in the competitive commercial real estate market.
"I began writing magazine articles in my 20s that included a younger agent's humorous take on aspects of the market," he said, adding that his work appeared in the Business Times, California Real Estate News and the Association of Silicon Valley Brokers newsletter. Today, he is a regular columnist writing humor lifestyle and personality profile pieces for ALIVE Magazine, a monthly publication for readers here in the I-680 corridor. Copeland's enthusiasm for the benefits of writing prompted him to mentor fifth-grade students at Sycamore Valley Elementary School in Danville, where his daughters, Hannah and Claire, attended school.
"I created a school newsletter that focused on school events, sports and community," he said. The newsletter helped win Sycamore Valley a Distinguished School Award in 2010.
At the urging of his wife, Julie, he wrote a collection of children's bedtime stories based on stories he made up and told his daughters each night. The book was illustrated by one of the girls' baby sitters.
"Sadly, it has gone unpublished, but thanks to our office copy machine, it's widely read by friends with young children," Copeland said wryly.
Copeland also wrote a screenplay that was 20 years in the marking: "It's a movie with true box office appeal," said Copeland, noting that it combines drama, comedy, car chases, a love story, family angst and takes place in San Francisco. "Now I just need a major studio to buy it," he said.
One work Copeland got published is his collection of humor lifestyle pieces written primarily for ALIVE Magazine. Available through Amazon, the book, entitled "Alive and Kickin'," contains vignettes on everyday topics such as parenting, family vacations, school, the economy, ecology, holidays and friends.
"I don't proclaim to be a comedian, but I do think I have a humorous way of assessing things that occur in our lives," he said. "I attribute this to a lifelong morning diet of frosted Pop Tarts and Kool-Aid."
Asked what's next, Copeland said he would like to one day teach and coach. He is in the process of becoming qualified as a substitute teacher.
"As corny as it sounds, I want to make a difference," he said. "If I can get kids to see writing as way to express themselves or as a creative outlet, that would be very cool."
Contact Jim Ott at email@example.com.