Reyn Guyer: “Be comfortable knowing that you don’t know everything”

Be comfortable knowing that you don’t know everything — I don’t claim to be a fantastic writer or creator, I am comfortable knowing that I still have so much to learn. When you keep a lust for learning, you never stop looking for ideas. As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know […]

Thrive Global invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive Global or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

Be comfortable knowing that you don’t know everything — I don’t claim to be a fantastic writer or creator, I am comfortable knowing that I still have so much to learn. When you keep a lust for learning, you never stop looking for ideas.


As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Reyn Guyer.

Believe it or not, the man who writes and sings the MY FRIEND WREN stories and songs is the same guy who developed the TWISTER game and originated the NERF line of kids’ toys. He also began the Nashville-based WRENSONG music publishing company that has a Grammy and two Country Music Songs of the Year, and on top of that, he started the WINSOR LEARNING company that helps more than 10,000 kids a year who were not reading….to read. The Wren’s real name is Reyn Guyer, and it’s quite obvious that he’s made his mission in life to inspire young minds through creativity and fun!


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

In 1966, The Milton Bradley game company had agreed to manufacture and market a unique new game idea that we had introduced to them. The game idea involved players with hands and feet on a mat on the floor vying to keep their balance — that game was, TWISTER.

A week before Christmas, Mel Taft, Milton Bradley’s V.P. of new products, called to tell me that they were not going to go ahead with the launch. Apparently, one of their largest clients had decided not to put the game in their stores and catalog and M.B. was pulling all the spot advertisements and calling back all previously shipped TWISTER games. For our team of inventors, it was a shock that made for a sad holiday.

Fast forward to spring of 1967 and Mel Taft, without his fellow executives knowing, was in the audience of the Johnny Carson Show because he had already paid a public relations company to try to get TWISTER played on the show. And play they did. None other than the ravishing Ava Gabor, in her usual low-cut dress, decided to entice Johnnie onto the TWISTER mat. In the morning, there was a line of fifty people waiting to purchase some TWISTER games at a large N.Y. City retailer who had not sent the games back to Milton Bradley.

Did the M.B. executives do a rapid reverse? I guess they did. The game went on to be the Toy and Game product of the year and still gets players of all ages reaching for left leg blue and right-hand green.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming an author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?

After I had produced several of my stories and songs, I reached out to an advertising and PR group that had just successfully directed a big launch of a new retail product. I gave them the material I had prepared and the name of the project MY FRIEND WREN. Right from the start, I had qualms about the direction they were choosing to take our launch. Essentially, they were building a new site that was basically a copy of the online sites already on the kid’s market. But I kept deferring to their judgment because they were hugely successful, and I presumed that they knew more about what we were trying to do than I did.

Finally, after a year of expenditures, and my silently disliking where they were taking my products, I called an end to the entire effort. It wasn’t easy and I had no idea where I was going from there. Fortunately, there were some people who had come to the project that I admired. So, I went to them and slowly brought them in as I built a new team and now we are heading in a direction that features my original stories and songs.

After nine months of launching, from all the indicators we rely on, it appears that we are cookin’! May it be so.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

For most of my adult life (even though some say I never grew up!) I’ve written stories and songs for children. I’ve always tried to make the stories interesting for the children’s parents also. In the late 1980s, with Jeff Harrington writing the music, he and I put together six cassettes of my songs and stories that we marketed as CURLY LASAGNA’S CARTAPES. I still have parents of young kids who will ask me where they can find the Curly Lasagna tapes, they grew up listening to on car rides!

Throughout the years, Jeff and I have continued to build our growing library by recording more songs and stories. Four years ago, I began to choose some very talented illustrators of children’s material to apply their skills to our material and then began working with Todd Obernolte who has helped video the stories and songs.

I chose MY FRIEND WREN as the title of the project and developed a logo to keynote the stories and songs. I then brought on some veterans of the internet world helping us launch the site eight months ago and we have far exceeded all of our first-year projections. It is very possible to have another fun success story to tell.

Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

I can say with confidence that “Jamazon” has a chance to be the next ‘time to get to bed’ song in America and beyond. I feel that song and message belong in every household, and I believe it has the potential to be the ‘let’s get to bed’ song for generations to come.

Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Become a Great Author”? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Be comfortable knowing that you don’t know everything
  2. Don’t do it yourself — teams are much more effective
  3. More than 5 people on a team is a committee, and committees cannot create or be as effective as a team
  4. Have everyone on the team form a habit of starting every sentence with “What happens if…”
  5. I stop here because I’m not in any way a great author but someday I would like to be one

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?

Be comfortable knowing that you don’t know everything — I don’t claim to be a fantastic writer or creator, I am comfortable knowing that I still have so much to learn. When you keep a lust for learning, you never stop looking for ideas.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

Stone fan of Ted Geisle (Dr. Seuss) and Jim Henson and his creation of the Muppet world

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I were a person of greater influence, or should I say, if I ever become a person of enormous influence, I hope that the education company that I started called Winsor Learning can bring their programs (that teach individuals how to read) to all of the prisons in the country because it is apparent that a large percentage of the prisoned population cannot read. That shouldn’t be the case.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Background Information about me can be found at www.reynguyer.com

My Friend Wren can be found at www.myfriendwren.com

My Friend Wren’s Socials can be found at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myfriendwren

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/myfriendwren/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbT2P5zOQJFWmyXHKIZqhSQ

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Former NFL Star Garry Gilliam: “Why growth comes from vulnerability”

by Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated
Community//

“We want everyone to know that they are not alone in the struggles they face and give them anthems to sing through the ups and downs” With Ben Ari, Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Rae Cash, Martin Cash and Andrew Bergthold

by Ben Ari
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.