Because sometimes it takes a lot of unique working experiences to tell a good tale.
- delivered the TV guide and the Middlesex Chronicle on my hometown routes.
- had the usual 1950-60s kid experiences to make money: raking leaves, shoveling snow, selling lemonade, returning bottles, etc.
- created some unusual 1950-60s kid experiences to make money: having a horror house in a neighbor’s basement, wrote a play and managed the puppets during the performance (the money went to the JFK Memorial Library), and ran errands of dubious importance.
- stuffed grocery bags and stocked groceries at Shop-Rite in Middlesex, NJ.
- answered phones for a hotline.
- assisted qualified nurses in a state mental institution.
- cleaned-up at a home for children with disabilities.
- drove a shipping and receiving truck for several months.
- soldiered in the volunteer army–Vietnam-era veteran. (I’d tell you what I did, but I’d have to kill you.)
- slept at the recreation desk in college while pretending to care.
- helped, I hope, students as a Resident Assistant in a dormitory.
- washed dishes using McD’s soap at McDonald’s for three hours.
- did some acting. (I was terrible.)
- spun records at WNBT/WGCR. (general manager of my college radio – WNTE)
- proofread novels the old fashioned way, reading line-by-line from the end to the beginning looking for errors.
- wrote as a newspaper stringer. (editor of my college newspaper–poor editor; good organizer)
- dug ditches for a day.
- typeset for the Sentinel newspapers in Denver.
- tolerated butt-pinching as a secretary/word processor for Xerox.
- fumbled around as an assistant director of public relations.
- created weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly reports for an oil and gas company.
- constructed manuals as a technical writer at NBI (put them out of business), Prolink (put them out of business), AT&T (made them split up), Northern Telecom (put them out of business) — I’m detecting a trend.
- herded cats as a project manager/program manager at Northern Telecom.
- wrote webinars on how to fix printers.
- penned ‘best of’ articles for an online product site.
- filled out in-person product surveys several times. (Man, did that pay well.)
- edited Masters and PhD theses and other papers.
- taught a class on plotting your novel.
- set up the documentation for a medical testing company.
- graded school papers for Measurements, Inc.
- had fun gathering information for the census, twice.
- played with old people in an assisted living facility.
- stayed awake as the night cashier for a grocery store. See “Paper or Plastic” under “Yeah, I Wrote That” or an example chapter under WIPS at Paper or Plastic.
And now, as of June 1, 2016, I’m a full-time author.
That is what I intend to do for the next thirty-eight or so years. That is, when I’m not doing laundry; dishes; vacuuming; cleaning the house; planting, weeding, or harvesting the garden; shopping for groceries and other sundries; mowing grass; chopping wood; transporting cars across the country for relatives; etc. You get the picture.
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