Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Writing in public

Some time last year I was sitting at the same table in the same cafe for days on end, writing. A woman came in each or most days and was clearly observing it. I noticed that peripherally.

One day she came up and said "excuse me, sorry to interrupt you, but are you writing a book?"

I said "Yes" and she seemed dumbfounded. She said then something like gosh and went away.

Earlier today I was sitting at a cafe table, writing. A man came over and said "Are you writing a book?" but there was a sneer in his voice. I didn't like anything about his voice.

I said Yes, but I said it with a snarl. Whereas I had looked at the woman and smiled, because really she meant well and it is I suppose a reasonable question; or let's say that my activity is unusual, with this shit I just reacted against him, his voice, his manner, his inate aggressiveness. I had, almost, welcomed her; not him.

I heard him speaking to a waitress later saying "I'm a writer" and I was confused. I rationalised it by saying to myself that, whatever kind of writer he is, he wanted to show off, and / or talk about himself. That done, I thought of more interesting things.

Later a friend told me she had had a terrible day or at least quite a bad one no a terrible day because she'd had The Sun wanting to talk to her. What did he want? I don't know she said. He asked all sorts of odd personal questions. Said he was writing about the area. Was he aggressive and pushy? Yes. Did he have a whining insincere voice. Oh God, she said. His voice!

I said: Let me tell you a story.

Neither of us was asked to remove our t shirts

1 comment:

Hesperides said...

Ten years ago or so, I frequently sat writing in a pub in Balham. One day a tough character, a regular, came and sat at my table, enquiring “Are you a writer or something?” “Definitely a something,” I replied, at which we both chuckled. Turned out that he, a Roma from Ireland, was writing a play about an incident which occurred during his career as a bare knuckle boxer.