I’m told people like to learn about the author of their books, their life, and inspiration for their books. Today, they may even want to know what that author is like, or know their interests to better understand how that contributed to the book.
Starting this month, I will share a little more. Of me.
To start, I don’t like to share. At all. It was a struggle for me to even share that with you. And if you want to get to know the author of this book, you would need a time machine. I’ve changed a little since then, though I can remember who this guy was anyway (I’ve met him a few times). It seems a good point to start there.
Who was R. B. Thurman?
At the time of the completion of this book, I was broke. In the sense that I was working a little, and not making much doing it. Writing helped fill some of my extra time. Despite how slow I type, writing actually didn’t take that long, compared to editing. Editing was such a chore, I couldn’t focus enough on it to be effective. I enlisted the aid of a few friends to help me. One particular friend who helped at the time derived great pleasure finding word choices that were amusing, even though the scene would indicate amusement was not the sought-after emotion to be evoked.
Since editing was a chore, and I would soon after dispose of my computer (writer’s block, duh. doesn’t everyone do that?), I printed them a copy to look over. Actually, I printed several over the years, but it is interesting that by this point, I was printing it in 100-page allotments. And it took weeks for them to review them (they’re not a pro; they’re just a friend helping out). Printing was relatively cheap, so going to a Kinkos (now, FedEx Office) to print this stuff made sense, versus buying my own printer (because why would I buy a printer? I have no money for that!)
I still needed work. Work that paid better than the employment I had. That’s when I joined … the Corporate American Workplace. I choose not name the place because it doesn’t matter; they’re all surprisingly similar.
The Corporate American Workplace was assured to pay better than my previous job so, why not, let’s give it a try. Now, in case you’re wondering, no my first job at the Corporate American Workplace was not in management (Seriously? I’m a writer/artist! I have no skills of interest to a 20th cent. Corporate American Workplace!)
The Corporate American Workplace was surprisingly hard to apply for when you don’t know how to contact them about the job offer. This is before the internet was useful and ubiquitous, so job search engines could tell you someone was offering a job at a Corporate American Workplace maybe 6 months ago, and maybe still are, but they won’t actually connect you with that Corporate American Workplace. They don’t do that kind of research, provide that kind of assistance. You have to look into the ‘phone book,’ dial a ‘phone number,’ and ‘speak’ to someone about your interest in an opportunity at their Corporate American Workplace.
Compared to today, it is surprising I ever found work, let alone this job. The interview/screening process was particularly exhaustive. The Corporate American Workplace (let’s call them CAW for now) relished the idea of giving a test of ‘competence’ for the job in question, screening applicants well before any job offer were made. CAW didn’t want to waste their time training you for the job, so they pre-empted firing you for incompetence by testing you for it instead. It seemed to add a middle-man, but okay.
Once you passed the test for CAW, CAW then calls you (using the ‘phone.’ It was common to speak to them then), and conducts an interview. Once again, adding a middle-man to the hiring process. These interviews by CAW (yes, there was more than one) seemed more an opportunity to be enthusiastic about the idea of working for CAW, without actually knowing much about what that entails. Also, it seemed that many of the questions used by CAW interviewers were designed to ensure uniformity and compliance. Of the interviewer it would seem, not the interviewee. Do you really think I will be unable to provide my work history? I’m still working as I apply for this job! I think I can remember at least that place. ‘My overall work experience?’ I’m young and dumb, I haven’t had a chance to ‘experience’ yet. But, give it time.
After CAW decided that my tests scores were good, and my interview was acceptable, CAW decided to see if I could type as its final insult. You know, the one thing I can’t do well. Fortunately, the bar was surprisingly low for this, sitting on a coffee cup off the floor, and that’s what I had to clear. My typing score was awful, don’t get me wrong; the score I needed though represented an unrealistically low clearance. Even for me, I could’ve taken lunch in the middle of the typing test, and probably passed (Why have a test like this!?!!) And yes, CAW ‘fired’ a few over even this.
After CAW finally allowed the (cream? ice? dross?) to rise to the top, CAW decided to offer me a job. Now came the fun part. ‘Yes we want to hire you, but not today. In 6 weeks. Maybe. We’ll be in touch.’ Thanks, CAW.
Now, as hard as it was to get a job with CAW, I did get paid pretty well (Okay, I got paid really well!). But, CAW preferred that you didn’t do certain things. Like use your vacation time at the time/place of your choosing, or decide not to work overtime because you need to ‘do something else.’
“What?” Says CAW. “‘Do something else?’ There is nothing else! There is only CAW!” (Link to an excerpt from a typical Human Resources meeting on the defined ethical uses of company toiletries.)
Yeah. Fun times to be had at CAW. I worked a few years with CAW and chose another route. At the time, I didn’t appreciate just how much I made, and hard it was to replace that compensation from CAW (I was still young, still dumb. But I did get ‘experience’ from it).
The upside? It did allow me to buy a printer (and yes, another computer!) No more FedExKinkos (now, FedEx Office) printouts!
My story is boring you. But that’s not by accident; I am boring. Let’s talk about something more interesting. Like the all the non-earthlings in our book. I will start with Richard’s parents, since they are there briefly, and give a frame of reference to his actions.
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