Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker

First, a shout out to G.M. who continues to garner award nominations (and awards) like mad. We're all so proud of you!

I write mysteries about a manufacturer and purveyor of various unguents and goos -- a soap maker, if you will. Sophie Mae Reynolds sells her Winding Road Bath Products on the Internet. She works hard, and she manages to make a living at it.

Yep, I did that. At first it was all about putting together a business plan, coming up with unique formulations, designing packaging and plotting marketing strategies. After a while it became more of a manufacturing job than anything else, and the prospect of renting a facility and hiring employees loomed large. There would have been considerable financial risk, as well.

So I quit.

There was a time when I would have made a different decision and embraced the entrepreneurial spirit, but the truth is all that soap making didn't allow me any real time to write.

And I wanted to write, so I switched from my tales of western grit and wrote about a soap maker who also preserves food and spins yarn. Who makes cheese and gardens and bakes and keeps chickens.

My work informed my writing, but so does my whole life.

Which makes me wonder about all those other jobs I've had over the years. Maybe I could write a mystery series based on an eighteen-year-old driver's license examiner in Wyoming. She could solve cases of cow tipping while giving harrowing road tests to a populace known to start driving in a field when they turn five.

Or how about the port of entry clerk who solves oil field murders while writing hundreds of oversize permits to truckers hauling fractionation tanks and eighty-thousand-pound scraper blades? That sounds like a winner, no?

Oh, maybe I could do something with the tobacco mixologist and pipe saleswoman. Meerschaum, not water. Though, come to think of it, there are bound to be some pretty punny titles with the word "bong" in them.

The gig selling life insurance for children would be too dark (and I'm not interested in revisiting it, either), and as for the mystery-solving software program manager, well, I'll leave the techie mysteries to Keith Raffel.

A trucker mystery, though ... could be worth a little more consideration.

How have your day jobs informed your writing?


Jess Lourey said...

Bong with the Wind?

Fascinating life, Cricket! Can't wait to read more about it.

Deborah Sharp said...

You are astounding, Cricket. What a rich life .... My work experience as fodder for fiction: waitress, reporter, retail sales clerk. Yaaaawwwn.
But, how 'bout: A Bong Day's Journey into the Night.

G.M. Malliet said...

The Bong of Bernadette?

Thank you so much for the congratulations!

Lisa Bork said...

Cricket, you've led an interesting life! I learned a couple new words today: unguents and meerschaum.

Alan Orloff said...

Cricket--is there anything you can't do?

Gotta run. Gotta go take care of my meerschaum unguent before it, um, bongs.

Cricket McRae said...

Love the title suggestions! Forget the trucker mystery -- now I'm thinking about a character who has to solve a crime without involving the law because they might find his big ol' field o' cannabis.

And, no, I've never done THAT.

Egad -- I never thought of my life as interesting; more like a getting-through-by-the-seat-of-my pants thing.

Gin -- you deserve all the congrats we can muster.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

It's all grist for the mill. Every bad job, bad boyfriend, bad cable hook up, death, harrowing experience, even bunnies who eat your garden -- all worthy of mention in the right context.

"For Whom the Bong Tolls?"