The day was quiet and restful. When I woke up, things began to move quickly: going to a client's house to help him finish his website ($30 in 2 hours ain't a bad bit o' work) was a hat trick and a half because I was supposed to be there at 7 PM and woke up a 6:45. I was thirty minutes late. Fortunately, he hadn't checked his email today, so he didn't know that I was planning on stopping by then. But all was well. I got to see my cousin's baby daughter again (the client is my cousin's husband... nepotism... Nashville was built on it)- doing so awoke a soft, quietly insistent pang of wanting to hear the pitter-patter of little feet running around my home someday in the eventual future. She's a jewel of a child. I couldn't help but envy them in a way.
After that things slowed down considerably. I made my way to the cafe, like I do every night, and tried to finish downloading last season's third episode of 24. I've been trying to get it for three days running now, with very little success. It just got done. Small pleasures.
Something is turning inside of me, like it does every winter. I'm becoming more... atuned to the world around me in some way that I can only barely describe. It's like... hearing music that is playing softly in the next room. It's an unsettling feeling. There are times these days where I want to turn off everything and get away from the propaganda- war is spoiling... war is spoiling my stomach. I find myself wondering, more and more often, if the people in my country will ever get tired of war, of the costs it brings, of the damage it inflicts, of the retaliations it eventually calls for, of the indignities it represents. I wonder when an actual "War Tax" will be instituted and when our government will do away with all pretense: the military machine supercedes everything else in the budget, even education. "Educated soldiers aren't necessary. Let 'em learn what we need them to learn on their Nintendos and let's get 'em on the front lines before they get too smart." Participate in your own manipulation indeed.
I'm at the point of singlehood where being single is no longer a bother anymore. In the last two days I've been hit on a lot by the opposite sex. I was even asked to give out my phone number- sadly, I don't have a working phone, so there is no number to give, but that didn't seem to bother me in the least. I guess I'm through with the whole flirtation game; sex doesn't concern me at all.
But I'm still keeping a sharp eye out for an interesting woman... is that irony? To not feel motivated to date, but still looking for that ever-elusive "The One?" I've got bigger fish to fry, I think. My career as an aspiring author consumes almost all of my attention these days. It's the only thing I think about. I sometimes wonder if all my financial and personal problems could be resolved if I just achieved my life-long dream. Probably not, but it's nice to think so.
The cafe's owner came to my house earlier today (he's also my landlord) to check out some repair/maintenance issues. We got to talking about why he's relinquished control of the cafe to his wife, Coco. He's decided that he wants to pursue "other interests" in life. When he told me that I just smiled with a sort of secret understanding.
"What?" he asked, when he saw my smile.
I just looked at him, almost amused. "You're closing in on 40, aren't you?" He told me that he was thirty-seven and asked why I'd asked. "You're getting to that point, Chuck, to where you're no longer happy with just getting by and chasing the tiger's tail. Business doesn't interest you anymore. Let me guess... you want to write a book or do something significantly creative now, don't you?"
His jaw dropped to the floor, like I'd reached into his head and pulled something out that was supposed to be a secret. "How'd you know? I've been teasing the idea of writing a screenplay or a novel for months. I haven't started yet."
"Why not?" I asked, my face a perfect blank. Inwardly, I was a bit surprised. Chuck never struck me as the creative type. Now that I think about it, though, his attention span (which is minimal at best), paints him as being patently creative.
He thought about it a minute. "You're a writer," he observed of me. "How do you write?"
My smile got broader. "One word at a time," I answered. "Lots of writers don't figure this out until they've had a lot of experience at it, but a character or even an entire story has a life of its own. They're separate entities, sort of like the voices that crazy people prattle on about, but not as ludicrous. They're not you, per se, but they're within you. For instance, Stephen King writes horror, but he isn't a homicidal maniac. He's a family man who writes, mostly, sci-fi with a thrill. Those characters aren't him. And when he writes, when any writer writes, he doesn't do it thinking, 'This is going to be a book' or 'This is going to be a novel.' He does it thinking, 'This is going to be a story' and leaves it at that. Most writers, when they start out, try to bite the big one, go for the gusto and take a stab at writing a book with that sole intention in mind. Then they get bogged down by the thought of it. I mean, a book is a pretty hard thing to do, even for the pros. It's a major undertaking. But keeping it simple and saying to yourself, 'This is a story' doesn't set limitations, it doesn't fence you in or bog you down. You just write, one word at a time, and see what you've got when it's all said and done."
He was quiet for a long time and let it sink in. Finally he looked up and said, "Then I guess I had better get to writing and worry about the details later. Book, novella, short story, screenplay... it doesn't matter, does it? Just write the thing and see what happens?"
I nodded. "Chuck, you've grasped in three minutes what takes most writers three years. Above all, remember this: have fun. If you want to write, then go ahead and write. Don't worry about publication until you're comfortable with your writing. Just tell your story and go on from there."
It's the first time I'd seen him smile in a long time, genuinely and with some sense of relaxation. "Thanks," he said.
It was a singular event, I think. We are all stories. The Author writes us all down in his book, one word at a time, with the passing of every second. Some of us are tragic, some are comical, some are amazing. Be your own fiction. After that, the story almost writes itself.