Today couldn’t have come soon enough. It’s been a long week. I think a lot of my coworkers were feeling the same way, dragging their feet and continually checking the clock.
Perhaps more interestingly, Friday nights have come to be the nights when I sit down and write. When I first moved to Toronto, I’d pack my pen and notebook into my satchel and head to a bar downtown. For the last year or so, I’ve taken myself to the liquor store after work and sat myself down at my desk after a nap.
I think I write differently depending on the environment that I’m in. When I was writing at a bar, I was aware that I was out of place. I was also aware that I was sitting alone, not least when people would come by to ask to use the vacant chair. Some people would venture to ask me what I was writing about, but, for the most part, I was left alone. It was a nice feeling. It was nice to look up from the dimly lit page and look around at what other people were doing. I’d come up with small stories for the simple interactions that repeatedly happen in bars.
At home, I’m more in control. I can control the lighting, the music, and even the height of my chair. The drinks are cheaper and I don’t have to wait in line to get one while worried that something will happen to the things I’ve left on my table. I’m also alone, but there’s no one around to look up at and conjure up stories about. Nobody comes ‘round to ask if someone is using the empty chair at my table.
Well, a new building has gone up next to the one I live in and people sometimes leave their blinds open. There’s a really strange young couple that can’t seem to decide what they want to do with each other. I can almost feel the sexual tension or confusion. It’s weird.
In any case, I can’t really lug my typewriter out to a bar. If I were to, I might go down in some history textbook as the penultimate in hipster self-publishing. Will hipsters make it into future history textbooks? Will Portlandia become required viewing for future generations?
I think that the type of writing I’m engaged with now does require more privacy than what I used to write. I have to be more alone with my thoughts and able to speak aloud when I need to hear them first. I’m not writing a story so much as I’m writing my story.
I have to be safer about the words getting out. After I type them on a page, I punch holes in that page and fit it into a black three-ring binder. I only leave the binder open while I’m working on what I’m writing. I’m even fearful of digitising what I’m writing.
It’s not that the words won’t eventually be bound on pages neatly compiled between two covers but that they’re currently incomplete and unrehearsed. They can’t be left alone long enough for me to go pee and grab another drink at a pub. In their fledgeling state, they must be looked after carefully. For now, at least.
What would I call the typewriter pub? Typewriter Tonic? Remington Rail? Smith Coronas? Underwood Taps?