Imagine a six-year-old girl, one with straight bangs and a round face, wearing a Bugs Bunny sweatshirt for her first public reading. Held in the living room, she featured all-original stories, including the masterpiece “I Am Me.” She read each of them to her audience, also known as Grandma and Grandpa, while her mother recorded the event. The girl often paused for dance breaks. She encouraged the audience to ask questions about her books. When her grandfather did, the girl happily spoke of plans to “write another, and another, and another after that.” I’m not too sure, but some people say that girl was me.
In 2004, I wrote a fictional response to The Foundation for Free Enterprise’s Essay Contest Question: “What is the power of the free market?” I won that contest. It awarded me a full scholarship to attend a local college, but I turned it down.
Instead, I went to work as a “waitress” at Steak & Ale, a now-obsolete restaurant chain. I had already been the “hostess” there for about two years and just fell head-over-heels in love with restaurants. I remember trying to memorize the menu during study hall in high school. Of course, the place shut down roughly a year later.
This closure did not prompt me to go to college, though. Don’t be ridiculous! I was making money as a bartender by then- crazy, insane amounts of money – and loving every regrettable second. My first car, a 2000 Chevy Camaro, was bought on a whim, and fully paid for in cash. Later, I refurbished a 1989 Ford-Merkur Scorpio and even won awards for that beauty.
It wasn’t all about the money. I encountered myriads of people at my various jobs. That was the best part- working alongside those people and hearing their stories. At times, it seemed I had already met everyone on Earth, from unemployed professionals to starving artists to lost souls pretending they knew their way out. I was one of them, of course, but never realized it then. It took eight years for me to start college.
Sometime after I had returned to a classroom, I decided to write a novel about my restaurant experience. They say write what you know. Well, I knew restaurants better than anything else. As of this moment, I have spent almost 20 years working in food service. What better thing to write about for my first book?
For five years, this idea consumed me entirely. Developing original characters based on people I knew, creating a restaurant based on the places I’ve worked, and most importantly, tackling issues most people would rather not touch has gratified me more than anything I’ve ever done. It might be the most gratifying thing I’ll ever do.
When I finally finished writing, I vowed to do whatever it took to get my novel published by a real publishing company. I want to write another now, just like that little girl, and another, and another after that. We’ll start with this one for now and let luck decide the rest.
“Wait & Hope” is 90k words of contemporary fiction, featuring a linear storyline that takes place among the morally ambiguous staff at an upscale Italian restaurant—interested in reading more? Interested in finding out more about me? Please stick around and follow my blog.