I started a new job last week that may end up being the perfect job through the rest of my grad school career. I’m working as a scanner/proofreader for a digital archiving firm in Ann Arbor. The bulk of my work is scanning dissertations and academic journals into the computer using a high speed scanner and then proofing other scans to make sure the digital version matches the print version. My job walks the fine line of tedious boredom and luxurious simplicity but the best part is that we don’t have to look busy. I don’t mind working hard when there’s work to be done, but during lull times I hate having to make up busy work just to please a micromanaging boss.
I have a lot of spare time on my hands because each dissertation or journal takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes to scan in completely so during that time I read. I’ve already burned through three books since I started. We’re also allowed to listen to music and generally have fun as long as our work gets done. And this may sound awful, but I love not having any responsibility. Whatever I don’t get done the next crew will finish. The only problem with the job is the hours. My shift is from 7am-3pm which means I’m usually up around 6am to get there on time and have time for my body to warm up. Honestly though I’ve been surprised at how well my body functions at that ungodly hour and getting out of work at 3pm has its fair share of advantages.
The other project I’ve undertaken is scrapping Lunchbox Hero and using the pieces to build my new book Mr. Saturday morning. After several encouraging conversations at Bouchercon I realized it was time to get another book out there with my name on it and after spending this summer writing several short stories I feel ready to tackle a bigger challenge in my writing. My original plan was to keep Kenny Shepard as the lead and keep the same basic premise of Lunchbox Hero, but scrap the story line and all of the other characters I’d created and start over. Well, Kenny didn’t want to come along for the ride. After a few days work his voice was grating on me and wasn’t going well with what I was trying to do so just for fun I switched into the voice of a new PI I’ve been working with named Dallas Ellington.
I created Ellington in a story called “Mr. Saturday Night Special” which is currently winding it’s way through the Thrilling Detective gauntlet and I was very pleased with what I had done with him. So with this new book I went back to the beginning and had Dallas looking for Steve Vaughn instead of Kenny and Kenny appears on scene as Steve’s annoying assistant who wants to join Dallas in the fun. We’ll see if this shakes anything new loose but I’m feeling good about it. It’s nice to be in the discovery phase of a new novel again.