Those of you who are among the five percent of Americans who believe Congress is doing a good job may not be aware the US government has been shut down for over a week. This means the contract I work for [agency name redacted]’s [program name redacted] program is also shut down, which means I am essentially laid off from my job at [company name redacted]. (Editor’s Note: “Laid off” is used in the traditional sense, of temporarily idle during a time of insufficient work, and not in the more current definition, which, loosely put, is “Get the fuck out.” The author is not unemployed, so nobody panic. He’s in much better shape than most other people affected by the current hostage situation.)
Frankly, the timing could hardly have been better. Bouchercon got my batteries fully charged for writing, of course, but also for being a writer. Lots of ideas for things to do came to mind, unconnected to the work in progress. (Which is also moving along much quicker than it would were I otherwise busy eight-plus hours a day.) A series of interviews to get a feel of how people in different positions view Bouchercon panels. Promotion of Grind Joint. (Available for pre-order; official launch November 16 at 10:00 AM at the Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont PA.) Things I wanted to do were piling up, and the baseball playoffs loomed.
The government shut down made me a Man of Leisure on the day the playoffs started, at the same time it made me a full-time writer. (At least for the time being.)
How does a freshly minted, yet temporary, Man of Leisure spend his days?
Mornings: Correspondence and blogs. Catch up on social media (Facebook, Crimespace).
Afternoon: Writing, reading.
Evenings: Baseball. Or hockey. Reading before bed time.
I could get used to this pretty quick. It will end—soon, I hope, for reasons other than what I’m discussing here—but I’ve had a taste, and that taste came shortly after the high of Bouchercon. (Oh, yeah, I also got a check for books sold on consignment in Albany. Only enough for a nice lunch, but I got paid for books sold, which is sweet.) I know all the bullshit that almost led me to quit before is still there, but I’m also coming to the conclusion it may be more tolerable than I’d thought, given sufficient time to work on it. So, if nothing else comes from this cluster fuck we currently call Congress, I have some direction for the future, in case there is more to this writing thing than self-pubbing a book every year or so.
Consider this fair warning.