Writing and summer jobs
October 14, 2010
I was going to call this "How I Spent My Summer", but was worried at first that people might be scared away by memories of all those September essays in public school. But really, how many of you even remember what you wrote back then? Was there panic as you realized nothing really memorable had happened, that you just hung out all summer, that it was all just a blur? Were you one of the lucky ones that had spent the summer on a ranch or travelling Europe or deep sea diving? Were you one of the creative ones that just let the imagination flow and made it all up? Did any of you realize that the point of the exercise was not what you actually did, it was just to encourage you to write?
I admit most of my summers were spent reading books, mostly fiction. Some might dismissively label this as escapism, but that's the attraction of good fiction - you do want to be able to identify with some of the characters and situations, but you also want to escape reality and travel to other countries, to other worlds, into other minds. Lots of reading, along with observing, is a necessary part of being a writer, and those hundreds of books certainly helped me when it was time to string some words together for the teacher.
I've rekindled that interest lately, the writing part, with more blog and newsletter articles, and some one-finger typing on my iPhone. I also checked out a library book today by Stephen King, simply titled, "On Writing". The first part is largely autobiographical, with various general anecdotes about his life, as well as specific references to his development as a writer. The second part is his ideas on how to write. I stopped in my local Bridgehead with the book today, and two coffees and two hours later I was almost halfway through.
A thought provoking book, so I decided to not have more caffeine, to instead go home and type some of those thoughts on a real keyboard. More on the book once I finish it.
So, some topics? Well, I'd been thinking of doing a series of articles on my summer jobs as a teenager, as some were unusual, and perhaps a topic to play with. When not reading, I whiled away some of those teenage summers scraping logs on a cabin in the woods, racking bread at a bakery conveyor line, digging basements under houses, deep-frying endless orders of fish and chips, and burning electric motors over a gas fire. None of those for much money, but they were fun jobs, and covered an interesting range.
Stories to follow. Feel free to tell me about your unusual jobs too. If you want, I can add them here - with names changed to protect the innocent of course.
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