The Difficulty of Escaping the Rat Race

The Lay-Off House follows a group of people who wind up living together due to circumstances beyond their control and create a supportive community. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

The very first inkling was an article I read on the BBC News website about a genre of Japanese novels, heroic tales of career triumphs and adversity. Office lit, I guess you can call it. And I thought, Americans are workaholics, this country is organized around business and work life, why don’t we have this genre over here?

Then I realized, oh yeah, it’s because Americans hate their jobs. So, I decided to write an anti-work book, about the difficulty of escaping the rat race.

It’s also a bit of a kitchen sink book, a conglomeration of lots of thoughts and experiences I’ve had the past decade or so. Many of the details are based on real people and stories. Just a bit here and there; only they would recognize themselves.

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

Individualism. Take people as they are, as they actually act. Don’t just look at their social identity or position, whatever that may be.

Another moral would be, not self-reliance as such, though that is a virtue, but its related virtue of surviving together. Build a community and give help and be open to accepting help. The people at the top of this heap we call society don’t care about us, so it’s up to us to care for one another.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The one-word key to the book is “dignity.” I wanted to show the difficulty of living with a sense of dignity in our society, which has become so stratified. Dignity is reserved for a few at the top. So, we have to provide it to ourselves, and gift it to others.

 “Adulthood” is another theme. When does someone become an adult? If you define adulthood as having the knowledge and power to sustain oneself and have full agency, are you really an adult if you can be laid off from your job any time for reasons beyond your control? How about if an HOA can seize your property that you paid for and have equity in, if your fence is ¼” too tall? Where’s the control over your own life? And there are many powers that are trying to keep their control over you, because that’s how they define themselves—how many peoples’ lives they can command. That means a perpetual childhood for most of us.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The theme of the next book will be “communication.” It’s still percolating in my subconscious, and I’ve only written a few pages, just to try and feel things out. As far as I know it will be a combination of The Razor’s Edge by Maugham, Hesse’s Siddhartha and the old TV show Convoy. This will be interesting. It’s going to take a couple years to write and perfect, I think.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Losing a job is never fun.

Doug knew this from three previous lay-offs and now he had to deal with the familiar disaster for the fourth time. He did what he always did when the pink slip was handed to him; he went home, he drank, and he brooded alone. But this time, acquaintances and strangers come to Doug’s door, seeking shelter from the same economic calamity. Together they make a community, a home, and a way out of the rat-race. But there are those in the wider world, some close and some far, who don’t think there should be an escape and that the rat-race is all there is and ever will be.

A story about the challenge of making one’s own life in a society that tries to say ‘no’, The Lay-off House by David Rogers portrays how many of us live now, in the real economy, and suggests a way to try and live a little better.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on December 9, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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