Intro to Bookmaker Jake: The Land of a Thousand Bored Horses (Spring 2011)
My name is Jake. Not so long ago, I was playing the role of Pest Eliminator for a super-massive transnational called Ecolab which "serviced" other super-massive corporations like McDonalds, Taco Bell, Wallmart, Olive Garden, Denny's, and Safeway. Now I'm playing Pest Control Technician for a local company called Northwest Pest Control that does business with many of the big property management companies in the area including many local government run low-income housing projects and prisions. But not so long before that I was a Dish Delivery Driver for Bargreens, and not so long before that I was a Professional Dishwasher busting suds by the numbers at what I call "The Moon Colony" along the river front in SW Portland.
Those are just a few of the many characters in my eclectic collection of working roles. Over the years I've played US Marine, resident assistant, hardware salesman, courtesy clerk, English teacher, editorialist, parking attendant, night loader, residential counselor, furniture mover, assistant to the assistant community ice rink manager, lumper, mental health case manager, mining mucker and human pack mule, toy store clerk, pizza maker, trail builder, and "fish flip" manufacturer.
I'm only 37. I could make a run at the world record for playing on-the-job characters, but I've never understood the point of collecting for the sake of The Collection. As they say, there's a method... Even back when I was pressing my uniform for Uncle Sam, I had an original role growing within me.
In the winter of 2011, after over a decade of writing and rewriting The Living City, I began the process of transforming from a producer of words on paper and flash drives to someone like the characters in The Living City, a "Homemaking Hero" capable of making my dreams come true. I couldn't have picked a worse time to launch my new character. I had been playing Mental Health Case Manager in what I call "The Land of a Thousand Bored Horses" (Wallowa County, Oregon) for two years, and the role was, well, let's save the details for another time. I'll just say that I was not doing well working for the Center for Wellness.
Then one winter's day, a question popped in mind as I looked out the window doing my best to understand why people work so hard to buy horses they never have the time to ride...
"What would the Duke do?"
Indeed, I thought. "What would the Duke do?"
Days later, out of the blue, I got an email from my friend Bob the Crystal Miner. I'd worked for him (and written a draft of The Living City while I did) in the summer of 2007. I didn't say "yes" right away. I'd half convinced myself that I'd be good for nothing for the rest of my life if I wasn't able to make it in Enterprise (where Emily was happy) and play some respectable role like Case Manager. I have a few special "clients" to thank for snapping me out of my long flurtation with the collective insanity known as "mental health." I figured if they could do it...keep on being the best they could be in spite of all the "the dumb stuff" they put up with, I could too.
That's a shot from one of my first book production scenes. It was slow going, but I knew Bookmaker Jake was inside somewhere waiting to get out. So I cranked up the radio, poured the beer, and started making books. I called the one in the picture: The Wine Bag Book. I made it for two inspiring members of my supporting cast: Erica (Market Farmer and Arrowhead Chocolate Maker) and Tyler (Bike Builder and Alaskan Super Hero) of Joseph, OR.
Listed below are what's left of the production scenes I produced before I pulled the trigger on my plot to give my first orginal character some serious on the job training.