Researching… spy psychology

The internet contains about a billion articles on the morning routines of CEOs, boring stuff that starts with waking at 4:30 to work out. But what about the morning routines of spies? What do those look like? Wake up at 4:30 to go to the gym, then LIE ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU ARE FOR THE ENTIRE DAY.

I searched for the morning routines of spies partly on a whim, and partly because such information would be directly useful in my research for Stars Fall Out. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t find much.

Instead, I ending up reading about the field of spy psychology. I’m a few articles into this research, and so far am incredibly disappointed that no one has used the term “spychology.”

“Checklist,” a blackout poem

What I like about blackout poetry is that it’s sort of an inverted version of pinhole cipher, where a hidden message is concealed in printed matter by pinholes under the words of the real message. I used to make pinhole ciphers on discarded newspapers in cafeterias and coffee shops, just in case someone noticed.

checklist

“Checklist. Smile smile smile smile. Imagine the lie.”

If I had nine lives, I’d use one of them to be a spy who retires and opens a coffee shop.  Preferably, the spy part would be in the early half of the twentieth century, before analogue cryptography was completely outmoded.

With blackout poetry, I can just sort of pretend that someone sent me a secret message and pick out whatever words or syllables interest me.

I didn’t have any particular plan when I did this one, but it’s clear to me that this poem explains how I deal with a lot of social niceties, particularly being asked how I’m doing when I’m not doing well, but I don’t want to say so. Smile, smile, find some sort of lie, and try not to sigh depressively.

Not that I would put on such a charade at my spy coffee shop. I like to think I foster an atmosphere of erudite grumpiness.