I’ve posted about the glamorous, exciting parts of my job. This week it’s been nothing like that. My summer job at the space center involves food, lots of it. For anyone who has never done food service, it’s a long, hard, physically exhausting job. Not glamorous. Not exciting, unless the food burns. It’s messy, dirty work, but it’s so necessary to a successful camp.
No one ever writes about the cooks and janitors on the space stations and starships. Did they ever get screen time on Star Trek? Nope. Food magically appeared from a replicator. No one is ever shown scrubbing the bridge floor. But it’s a fact of life those jobs have to be done. We don’t have Rosie the Robot yet.
My husband found me sobbing in the bedroom one day. My problem? My characters had exciting, grand adventures. I spent my days wiping butts and noses, scrubbing dishes that just had to be scrubbed again a few minutes later, washing clothes that were just going to get dirty again. Life just isn’t very exciting for 99.9% of us.
Escapism. That’s why we write fiction. That’s what the space center delivers with each mission. But just like any other job, the space center requires non-glamorous jobs. During the summer, I spend my time in the kitchen. During the school year, I spend most of my time playing secretary and impersonating my boss on the phone.
So maybe the next novel I write will be about a janitor on a space station. But it won’t be about her everyday job. No one wants to read about that. We want excitement, intrigue, romance, suspense - we want escapism. We want dreams. We want space travel!
Sorry, my inner geek has escaped again. Time to make a big bowl of eyeball jello for dinner tonight...
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