Monday, July 13, 2015

Coffee, Tea, or Me, Sir?

If you weren't a writer, what would you be professionally?

- from Susan

Thank the fates and my step-father's library for turning me into a writer at an early age.  I honestly can't think of anything else I could do but write. Even when I was wrapped up in fundraising and running a non-profit, writing was always the key to any successes I had. I've already been a reporter, a freelance writer, a PR person, a marketing director, a VP, an ED, and a fundraiser. What's left?

In college, I worked in the library (big surprise there, I know). In high school, I was a model and salesgirl (and girl, I was) in a local department store. My eyes were opened to many things when I was drafted into being a store detective one year in early adulthood, fending off the racist biases of the head of security who gave me strict instructions to follow any black person who came into the Bridgeport, Connecticut department store. I've never been great at following orders and I shocked the guy by regularly bringing in weepy white housewives with blouses tucked into their handbags.

I was a waitress at a casual breakfast place on Cape Cod for several weeks one summer. There, I was great at taking orders. I was not so great at remembering who ordered what, or even that their eggs and pancakes might be sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be brought out to the increasingly edgy diners. One man left me a $50 tip and invited me to come to his house after work, but my grandmother, hearing about the invitation, made me give the money to the restaurant owner, who was her friend, and between the two of them they decided I wasn't cut out for waitressing.

I am so lucky to be looking at a February publication date for my third Dani O'Rourke Mystery, MIXED UP WITH MURDER, and to have just finished another manuscript and gotten started on a new one. What a life, with all its ups and downs.


RJ Harlick said...

No matter what our jobs are, we writers do tend to gravitate towards the writing end of the job. I love your summer jobs. Mine weren't much better, but hey, look at all the experience we gained, fodder for our books.

Art Taylor said...

Fun stories here! Thanks for sharing!

Susan C Shea said...

Robin, you're so right that our own ineptitude becomes material. Aren't we lucky we get to recycle it?

Art, The experiences are a lot more fun to recount than they were to live!

Robin Spano said...

Wow that security gig sounds intense!

Susan C Shea said...

Robin, When I applied for a part-time sales position, someone in their personnel office looked at me and said, How would you like to earn three times that hourly salary and get to walk around all evening? I said great, thinking it was more in-store modeling of the merch. But it definitely wasn't a job I liked and I bailed pretty quickly!