Cure for writer’s block: get a haircut* and get a real job.

Last week a friend of mine, who is the assistant manager at the convenience store down the road, visited me, begging me to go to work for her. Two nights a week, the overnight shift. Apparently they’re pretty desperate for employees who aren’t afraid of mops and don’t think “free” cigarettes are a benefit of punching the timeclock. Since free coffee–on and off the clock–is a benefit, along with a discount on heating oil next winter, I said, “Sure, sign me up.”

This is the second smartest thing I’ve ever done. An unadvertised benefit of working graveyard shift at a small town convenience store: an unending supply of fodder for fiction. Not to make light of misery, but drunk, stoned, lonely people will say and do pretty much anything, and between the hours 11pm-1am (the hour at which Mainers can no longer buy Allen’s Coffee Brandy), the store is full of them. And once my cleaning and stocking is done, I have about 4 hours of nothing-to-do. Since my muse is most active in the middle of the night, and with no internet to distract me, I’ve been getting lots of writing done on book number four.

Inspiration or exploitation? You tell me.

*haircut optional