Imagine receiving this note from your friends:
You have one year off from your job
to write whatever you please. Merry
Most of us have not been so fortunate. We've struggled through our day jobs, writing at nights or on weekends. The blessed among us have had spouses who encouraged our writings. Some have lived with significant others who were as jealous of our computers as some musicians' partners have been green-eyed about their guitars.
Let's take a look at the hats some well known writers have worn prior to their successes.
Zane Grey was a dentist, and he hated it. After nine years, he married Dolly, who had a substantial inheritance. He lived off her money from then until he began earning his own in writing.
J. D. Salinger was the entertainment director on a cruise ship.
Robert Frost was a newspaper boy, his mother's teaching assistant, and a light-bulb-filament replacer in a factory.
James Joyce sang and played piano. Dubliners was rejected twenty-two times, and that was before electronic submissions, so he sang a lot.
Nabokov was an entomologist who was not very noted in the field. In 2011, his theory of butterfly evolution was proved to be correct by DNA analysis.
Ken Kasey volunteered for CIA psych tests. These mainly involved being unknowingly dosed with LSD. Dr. Broom was the one element in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest who was based on hallucinations in the lab.
John Grisham worked watering bushes for a dollar an hour at a nursery until he was promoted to a fence crew with a fifty cent raise. After that, he worked for a plumbing contractor.
George Orwell served as an officer of the Indian Imperial Police in Burma before he changed his name from Eric Arthur Blair and wrote 1984.
Kurt Vonnegut managed one of the first Saab dealerships in the United States as well as working in public relations for General Electric and serving as a volunteer fireman.
Jack London was part of the Klondike Gold Rush and worked at a cannery, but most interesting is that he also spent time as an oyster pirate and named his sloop the Razzle-Dazzle.
|R. T. Lawton|
Now let's take a look at the various hats some of the SleuthSayer writers have worn:
Meanwhile, what hats have you worn in "real life" when you weren't busy writing? I retired from teaching in the public schools, but summer jobs included legal secretary, used car salesperson, caterer, and managing bands--bluegrass and rock 'n roll. Writing employments included promos for entertainers and editing magazines.
Now, it's your turn. What about you? What hats have you worn?
Until we meet again, take care of...you!
Postscript: That lucky recipient of the Christmas note at the beginning was Harper Lee, and she did pen To Kill a Mockingbird during that year of freedom from her day job.