Friday with Friends: Doing the Dishes with Allen Klein

Doing the Dishes

When I was in grade school, I wrote a poem that was published in the school paper. If my memory serves, it went something like this:

The Dishes

We have a little system that we do each night,
And when we do this, we never fight.
Mom is the one who washes, of course,
Dad dries them off, the father the boss,
And I am the little boy who puts them away,
Who goes to school every day.

Certainly not a great poem but it was the first piece of my writing ever to be published. Little did I realize it at the time, but that experience unexpectedly came full circle years later during my midlife. While this latter career was based on my writing talent, my first career was based on my artistic talent.

When I was seven years old, I was taken to see my first Broadway show, Oklahoma. From then on, I wanted to be a scenic designer…the person who creates those pretty stage pictures. Growing up in New York City, I saw nearly every show that opened on Broadway. I studied at various places to become a designer. I got into the scenic design union after passing a very stringent test and worked at CBS-television. There I designed such shows as Captain Kangaroo, The Merv Griffin Show and The Jackie Gleason Show.

Things were going well…until they weren’t. The TV shows moved out of New York, and I was left designing soap operas and commercials, which didn’t suit me. Since my wife was from San Francisco, a city we both loved, we decided it was an ideal time to move across county. I had no steady job at the time, my daughter was not yet enrolled in a regular school, and the landlord gave us a bunch of money to vacate the apartment so he could renovate it and raise the rent. We took the money and moved across country.

I got work with the San Francisco Opera painting scenery and we found the Victorian house we always dreamed about. Again, things were going well… until they weren’t. My wife, Ellen, contracted a rare liver disease. There was no cure nor liver transplants at the time. The prognosis was three years. And indeed, she did die three years after the diagnosis.

It was an extremely difficult time, but Ellen had a great sense of humor that helped us cope with the situation. It also surprisingly thrust me into a speaking and writing career. After Ellen died, I realized how beneficial therapeutic humor was during her terminal illness. It helped us rise about the situation and, if only momentarily, gave us a reprieve from the challenging time we were going through.

I wanted to share with the world what I had learned about how humor could enable us to rise above any situation. I joined the National Speakers Association to find out about the ins and outs of being a professional speaker. I had almost failed speech in college because I feared getting up and speaking in front of a group. But here I was speaking to groups of upwards of 1,500 people because of my passion about the value of therapeutic humor. And it was the speaking that led to my writing career.

At one speaker’s convention, I kept hearing colleagues say, “If you want to accelerate your speaking career, you need to have a book.” It seemed like every speaker I heard that year was saying, “You need to have a book, you need to have a book.” When the conference ended, I went back home, put together a book proposal on the benefits of humor. After numerous rejections and revisions, my literary agent sold The Healing Power of Humor to a mainstream publisher.

The book hit a nerve with readers. I think it was, in part, because of Norman Cousin’s book, Anatomy of an Illness, which talked about his personal journey of healing himself with laughter. Even though my book was published way back in 1989, The Healing Power of Humor is still going strong today with a 40+ printing and a 9th foreign language translation.

One book led to another. For example, the hundreds of uplifting quotations I didn’t use in the first book became the basis for the second. That book led to a series of quotation books that got reprinted in many different formats with several different publishers. And those publishers continued to release several of my other non-quotation books.

Who knew when I wrote that poem for my school paper that years later it would lead to my writing of 30-plus books? ……. © Allen Klein, June 2021

To see Allen’s previous interview on MTA, go here:

Meet the Author: Embracing Life After Loss by Allen Klein

About Allen Klein

Comedian Jerry Lewis has said that Allen Klein is “a noble and vital force watching over the human condition.” Klein, also known as, “Mr. Jollytologist”® and “The Ambassador of Light”, shows audiences worldwide how to use humor and positivity to deal with life’s not-so-funny stuff. He is an award-winning professional speaker, a TEDx presenter, and author of 30-plus books including, The Healing Power of Humor, You Can’t Ruin My Day, and Embracing Life After Loss. His latest book, The Awe Factor: How a Little Bit of Wonder Can Make a Big Difference in Your Life was named by as “One of the Best Spiritual Books of 2020.”

Connect with Allen

Email: [email protected]


TedX talk:

Amazon book page:


Here are a few suggestions on how to further support this author:

  • Comment on the interview
  • Share the interview using the social media buttons
  • Click through to learn more about the author and their book(s)
  • If interested, buy the book and leave a review

To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Meet the Author: Embracing Life After Loss by Allen Klein

Today we welcome Allen Klein as we travel to San Francisco, California to learn how short poems, a messy desk, gardening, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and New York City are part of Allen’s past and current life. Call upon your inner Jollytologist®, we’re gonna be more playful with this one ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in a Victorian house in San Francisco where I write books that show readers how to use humor and positive thinking to deal with not-so-funny stuff. In addition, I am an award-winning professional speaker as well as a TEDx presenter and blogger on happiness. Comedian Jerry Lewis has said, “Allen Klein is a noble and vital force watching over the human condition.”

In which genre do you write?

Non-fiction / Self-Help / Inspiration

How many published books do you have?

Twenty-Eight (28)

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I used to write short poems in grade school, so I suppose my writing started there, but my real writing started when I had a passion to write about how humor helped me get through the loss of my wife when she was 34-years-old.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

Sometimes I put things that interest in a folder, never knowing if I will ever use them again. When the folder gets real fat, I use those articles and notes to write something about that subject.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Messy desk, computer on it, me facing the wall to avoid distractions. Sometimes ear-plugs to avoid outside noises.

What are you currently reading?

The Energy Code. It has a lot of what I’ve believed in for years…that we are all energy, all connected.

It is very much aligned to the principles taught by Unity, which is a worldwide new-thought spiritual organization and which is my spiritual home.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Walk my dog, garden.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Woody Allen. I love his quirkiness and wonder if that is his persona or is he really that nutty and neurotic. I’d want to know if he was happy.

What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Although it has happened to me so many times, I probably should not be so surprised by it now, but I am. I have been able to create amazing things in my life, things that many might call mini-miracles. Some of them are:

-Wanting to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and getting to do so.

-Drawing pictures of Victorian houses and getting one when I moved to San Francisco.

-Having no place to stay when I vacationed in New York City and being offered a free apartment when I go there each year.

-Having a division of my publisher close their doors, thus stop publishing my books, and finding the ideal one by affirming “The perfect publisher will find me.”

-Adding that I wanted to do a TEDx talk in January to my bucket list and being asked to do one the following month.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I was a very serious kid, so I don’t miss much. I try to make up for it now by being more playful and having more fun. And also helping people to get more laughter and joy in their life. I’ve branded myself a Jollytologist®, so now I’m forced to come up with jolly stuff.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

Since the publisher of my first book, The Healing Power of Humor, is now part of the Penguin publishing empire, the penguin is there to tell me that my book will be made into a major motion picture and to hand me the million-dollar advance. The sombrero is a fun way to indicate that the movie will be made in Mexico.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Definitely. My wife died at a very young age. I certainly didn’t want that to happen but her wonderful sense of humor, even during her illness, lead me to investigate the therapeutic value of humor, even in loss. As a result, I started writing about it. My first book, The Healing Power of Humor, is now the quintessential book in the field and has helped scores of people. I know there was a reason why my wife was in my life and why her death was instrumental for me, and as a result of my writing, to so many others too.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

I’d ask my dog, what it’s like to be a dog, how does she handle never knowing exactly when I’ll return after I’ve left the house, how did she get so cute?

Tell us about your most recent books.

Two most recent books are:

Embracing Life After Loss, and Positive Thoughts for Troubling Times

Thank you Allen for joining us on MTA! It was great to learn more about you and your books. –Camilla

Embracing Life After Loss

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things you can deal with in life whether it is a spouse, a parent, a child, or a friend. Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, Jollytologist® Allen Klein knows how it feels—just like you, he’s lost loved ones. Inspired by Klein’s experience with the loss of his wife, Embracing Life after Loss will help you recover from grief and loss—just like author Allen Klein did. You never forget the people you lose. But you can grow stronger, wiser, and more appreciative of life as you move forward. And, believe it or not, you can even laugh again. Embracing Life after Loss will show you how to navigate the difficult times—how to take a break from the pain of your loss and find joy in life again.

Available on Amazon in both hardcopy and Kindle.

US Amazon:

UK Amazon:

Positive Thoughts for Troubling Times

The words in this book are the prescription you need for a daily dose of the positive. Words can warm our hearts and fire us up or clam us down when we are worried and stressed.

The inspired ideas and power thoughts in this book will provide you with hope, a renewed spirit, and a new perspective in which to view our worrisome times.

US Amazon:

Connect with Allen Klein:

Social media links:


Twitter: @allenklein


Instagram:  allenklein22

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee