Mortician vs. Novel Writer?

To be or Not to Be: Novel Writer or Mortician?

Along with being a firefighter or a tap dancer, being a mortician is not a career I ever seriously considered. But this week, in helping a young woman explore her future options, I came across the “Mortician’s Degree.”

In examining the class requirements it’s clear I could excel here. In fact I could teach these classes:

Understanding Death and Dying. Yup, lots of experience.

Managing drunk and disorderly relatives.             I am a savant.

Making people feel you care at all times, even if you’d rather be getting your teeth cleaned. Pretty good at that. I’d get a B. Maybe even a B+.

Speaking in hushed tones. OK, so I have to take that class, and it will be a challenge.

The funeral services job market has to beat that of a novel writer. So, I’ll compare these two career options, before committing to editing this recent novel, yet again.  Obviously, I hate rewriting.

 Mortician and Novel Writer, Things in Common:

You work alone in the dark.

It’s awkward at dinner parties, when someone asks what you do.

(I’d rather say I was a mortician than talk about writing novels.)

Only other (morticians/writers)  appreciate how hard the craft is.

You work with dead people. (At least in historical fiction.)

You meet interesting people but in very strange circumstances. (Have you been to a writer’s conference? Very strange circumstances, fascinating people.)

Your best work goes into a box  and gets buried. ( As a writer, not ideally. But lets face it, a lot of great writing is buried somewhere.)

You try to make a dead body look alive. (This is called resuscitating a manuscript after it has been suffocated by over-editing.)

You examine people closely, at their worst.  (This is where we writers get our material. Happy people make terrible characters.)

The dead guy is the star of your show. (Duh. I write mysteries.)

 Differences in the two career options:

Every town needs a mortician.

Morticians take vacations.

Morticians dress better.

That’s about it. Oh, and of course morticians get paid.

So, I am signing up for classes.  I bought my first textbook. It’s  called: Dead People Are Great Listeners.

Hey, maybe I finally have an audience for that first novel I wrote!

I’ll have to dig it up.


About Joanellserraauthor

My debut novel will be out in May 2018 with Wido publishing. Come see me at
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One Response to Mortician vs. Novel Writer?

  1. Alex Horvath says:

    Very very funny. I want to be a mortician now, too!

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