Tag Archives: soapbox

Back on the Soapbox

My bachelor weekend is almost over. I went to the writing cabin early with a few goals in mind. I want to make some headway on the next Dresden Files novel, and to edit more of Arson.

My main character in Arson is a firefighter who loses everything. Others take control to help guide him. He’s at the point where he must stay the course to see some kind of Justice served, even if he doesn’t have all the skills he needs. It’s a point of no return. He’s my afternoon plan.

I settled into my office and Lisa* brought round some coffee and mini muffins. I dug into Harry Dresden with relish. There’s just something about winged monkeys throwing flaming poo, you know.

I found myself rereading sections. It isn’t Butcher’s fault, he a great writer. I was distracted. I had a conversation with my daughter yesterday that stuck in my gizzard.

“Lisa! Bring me the soapbox,” I yelled.

“Right away, boss. It’s in the basement,” she said.

Her rushed steps reverberated through the cabin as she left her upstairs room and rushed to the basement. She tromped in wearing heels, those tight knee length jeans, and a bathrobe.

“Don’t you put the shoes on last?” I asked.

“No. Nobody taught me any protocol on how to get dressed. You’ve never complained about my work attire.”

“Good point.”

She placed the soapbox in the middle of the office floor and went to finish dressing.


Here I go again

My daughter is 20 years old. She hasn’t been in the workforce that long, but she still has the first job she ever had, and has worked as many as three places at once. She holds three jobs, she doesn’t work them at the same time. She’s the kid who comes to work; rain, snow, piss or blow. She pulls extra shifts and covers people who call in sick. These are mall jobs, and she’s set a few sales benchmarks at a couple stores. In other words, she’s a good employee.

She’s into clothes and cosmetics. She’s starting beauty school in a couple of weeks. When she found out that Lush cosmetics was opening a store here she was manic.

She called them and explained how she’d been ordering their products for years and loved them. She’s very familiar with their line and can talk knowledgeably about it. They made an appointment for an interview, and for a sales lead job too.

She got dressed and fixed herself up for the appointment. It turned out to be a group interview. She said that’s kind of common in retail, but was shocked to find twenty people there. She said there’s usually about five. Lush held three such sessions that day too.

They started off by asking if anyone knew anything about Lush cosmetics. She said it turned into some kind of Jerry Springer fiasco with everyone shouting over everyone else. She doesn’t play that game and sat patiently, and professionally.

They wanted them to split into groups. One group had to role play between customer and salesperson, while the rest of that group critiqued what they saw. She said the critiques were catty and insulting.

She wound up in the drawing group. They were told to draw a picture of how they were feeling today. The drawings were going to be presented and critiqued too. Then the groups were going to switch. She doodled on her page for a bit and walked out. They asked what she was doing and she told them, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

She explained it to me this way. There is no situation where any sales people are going to have to draw while on shift. She knows it’s an assessment tool, but it proves nothing. It doesn’t show salesmanship, knowledge, or work ethic. The role playing had a smack of reality TV, including being booted off the island. She felt like the human beings who showed up were being made to dance like puppets on a string.

I don’t know about you, but I’m open to new ways of doing things. I appreciate that getting through about 60 or so applicants might require some creativity. Isn’t that what resumes and applications are for? Interview the ten or so that look the best on paper.

Assess their skills using some role playing. The interviewer can play bad customer. I just don’t get it.

I’m sure Lush will open on time, and stock their shelves with products my daughter genuinely loves. They’ll have a full sales staff of extroverts who love attention, and possibly a lot of drama based upon what my daughter saw.

What they won’t have is one introvert who’s a lot like her old man. They won’t have the kid who loves the product and uses it herself. They won’t have the girl who set a few sales records. They won’t have the dedicated employee who goes to work despite the weather, bloating and cramps, and last minute invitations from friends.

I don’t get it at all. This reality competition interview process should have failed at the beta stage. I’m sure they’ll land a few decent employees, but I doubt they’ll get all that many. In around 13 years American Idol managed to find two legitimate stars. They only went through about a billion hopefuls to do it.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’m back to my scheduled plan.

* Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and works for me at the writing cabin these days.


Filed under Muse, Uncategorized

Wednesday Ramblings

Wild Concept is making a few sales. It’s still single digits, but I’m ecstatic. I know what the odds are for a first time author, and what kind of sales self publishing brings for newbies. It’s only been about three weeks.

I checked the international Amazon stores, and I’ve sold a few in Amazon.de and Amazon.ca . Thanks to the international readers out there who gave me a chance.


I’ve gotten a few more re-blogs and Twitter posts. Thanks to everyone who did that. This includes Laurie Buchanan and Ravenlywrites . Thank’s you guys, I’ll take all the help I can get. (and need it)


From the number of click throughs on my blog stats, I probably need to tighten up my book blurb. I was in a hurry to get the book uploaded, and should check it out. It’s an important sales tool, and I can probably do better.


Loralei, my Muse, has been commuting with me again. Last night she talked me into using my fountain pen and notebook to make some character sheets. I’m knee deep in Will ‘O the Wisp, and she’s already onto the next project.

I have a cluster of characters and she wants me to use them all in the next story. I just don’t know if they all fit. If I can come up with a good McGuffin, they might.

I also came up with a seriously bad dude. My bad guys are usually more environmental, or corporate. This guy has potential, and he might even be redeemable. I just have to spend some more time with him. Maybe I’ll have him come to the writing cabin for a day.


Will ‘O the Wisp is at a logjam for me. My main character, Patty has reached a plateau where she has to go on the attack. This involves a lot of research for me, but I always liked the research. Then I have to weave it all into the mind of a fifteen year old before putting it on the page.

This path also has to fail for her. (Sorry Patty) This will set up the last ditch effort at the end.

This is where I could really use Loralei. The problem with a Muse is that she’s happy if I’m creating. She doesn’t care about quality, just getting something new on paper. I might be on my own to figure this part out.


Hey, I said it was a rambling post. “Lisa*, where’s that soapbox?”

“Right here, boss,” she said, putting the box on the lobby floor and I climbed on top.

Now that award season is over in Hollywood, I’m going to bring this up. Why does Hollywood have a problem with aging gracefully? So many of the entertainers don’t look like they’ve had plastic surgery – they look like they’ve been to a taxidermist.

I know Hollywood loves the young and the pretty, but give me a break. There is nothing young or pretty about someone who looks like their head was carved from a bar of soap. I think this is a horrible example for the youth of the world too.

I would watch a good performer, no matter what they looked like. I’m sure there would be a winnowing process if all they were good for was visual. On the other hand, I would watch someone like Helen Mirren in almost anything she does.

“Thanks, Lisa. You can put the soapbox back in the basement.”

* Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She works at the writing cabin, and is a robot.

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