Checking out of the Paranormal HotelPosted: June 11, 2013
It looks like I’m going to have a lot more time than anticipated for writing this summer. Last week, I reluctantly and sadly quit my job at the paranormal hotel so that I can better tend to the needs of family members.
It’s a strange feeling, this being unemployed after more than a year. An awful lot of perks came along with the job. Of course, there was the money – and the sense that I was finally contributing to the household coffers – but that’s the least of it. (No, really. The pay was pretty paltry.)
Working at the paranormal hotel reacquainted me with some of my forgotten strengths. Through my late-teens and early-20s, I worked as a waitress, then a barmaid, then a bartender. I didn’t get gigs in what you’d call swanky joints, so I had to develop a set of skills that allowed me to get along with just about anybody – even folks that scared the piss out of (or disgusted) other girls my age. I became more canny, though, and street-smart than any four-eyed bookworm with literary dreams had a right to be. In self-defense, I learned how to flirt and charm, and/or misdirect and deflect, my way out of anything. I learned how to “handle” people.
(Not that I was exactly an innocent before I went to work – I grew up in a family of women who mastered similar skills before I was born.)
When Ogre and I married, things slowly changed. For the first few years, I clung to my ways, even though I didn’t have to. It took a while before I realized I didn’t have to be on guard all the time – he accepted the absent-minded-professor-ishness that made me annoying to the hard-drinking, hard-working, hard-living people I’d known before. I didn’t have to be loud in order to be heard – he asked my opinion, then he listened to what I had to say. I didn’t have to be “on” all the time – he loved me, even when I was decidedly “off”. My grifting talents were no longer crucial to my survival.
I adjusted. For ten or fifteen years, I lived in a mostly safe and “normal” world full of mostly safe and “normal” people.
Then – as most of you know – Ogre lost his job, we moved from the country to a first-ring suburb, and I went to work at the paranormal hotel. Suddenly I had to cope with a more threatening environment, populated by all the archetypes I thought I’d left behind in the pubs and dives.
It was a gift.
The paranormal hotel stripped away my complacency. It gave me back an edge that I think I will need as I venture into the publishing world. It inspired some of my favorite blog posts:
- Freaking out on the Friday night shift.
- Please don’t let this man die in my hotel.
- How do you know you aren’t dead?
- A Tuesday afternoon domestic at the paranormal hotel.
It taught me Twitter. (What will I tweet about now?)
Most importantly, it reintroduced me to the fascinating characters that first fired my desire to write … including, perhaps, a ghost or two. (And it provided a place to practice paranormal investigating.)
But maybe the loss of my job is another gift.
In the days since I quit, I’ve come to understand that this next season of life will simultaneously consume and provide some generous swaths of time. I’ll be doing more of the kind of writing I used to do – marathon, muse-driven sessions. I think it will be okay, and it might even be better (for summer) than the more structured schedule I’ve been using for most of the last year. I’m already spending more net time writing, and the editing of the Lizzy novel is going well.
Which is awesome. I want to continue along that path. But I do miss my job. And I can’t wait until I finish my current manuscript, so that I can plunge wholeheartedly into finishing the novel I started in November — the one that’s set in a kinda seedy rooming-house / hotel.
I just hope I can do the paranormal hotel justice.
I can’t help but look forward, though, to life outside the: