“In an industry in which writers are often pressured to find work in the literary sphere—editing, bookselling, teaching, etc.—I’d like to offer bartending as an alternative, one that has changed my life, served me well, and helped me write a novel,” says Straton in an essay for Literary Hub. That new novel, The Bartender’s Cure, is inspired by her experience.
Straton describes her life as an aspiring writer, first bartending in New Zealand after graduating from Amherst College, where she had completed a collection of short stories and poetry as a senior thesis. “I’ve spent the decade since working my way through half a dozen bars and restaurants in three different countries, turning my last-resort job into the career that has allowed me to lead a creative life.”
While acknowledging that bartending is “not for everyone,” Straton notes that it is “refreshingly different from writing” and that the job’s nighttime schedule has allowed her to write during the day. It has also brought her into conversation with a wide variety of customers and co-workers. “If writing is a study of the human condition,” she says, “then there is inherent value to surrounding yourself with as much humanity as possible.”