Thursday, 6 November 2014

A Bird In Hand...

I like sitting in cafes, but I never write in them. It's just not me. I know, I know, I'm a writer, and writers are well known for using cafes, especially the corner table just inside the window where the world and her granny can see them do their thing. I'm not 'anti-cafe', and I don't necessarily look down on writers in windows; I just don't get that writing buzz when I'm in one. I prefer to sit and chat over a cuppa and a nice piece of cake (what a surprise).

Anyway, I was meeting a pal in a cafe earlier today, and I got there a little early, which isn't unusual for me considering I'm anal about timekeeping. So there I am, stirring my coffee and checking through the index in 'Staying Alive', that feckin' fantastic poetry tome that I sometimes drag around in my satchel. It's seen better days, but that's a good complaint for a poetry book, meaning it's been, and being, well used. So there I was, checking out some of Yeats' poetry, and in flies a wayward pigeon, obviously drawn by my good coffee and almond slice. Of course, my first thought was that I was about to be splattered with its panic-stricken shit, because that's what generally happens to trapped pigeons; they fly into windows and ceilings and basically crap all over the place.

I had one hand over the coffee, with the other protecting the cake, glancing about for a broom or brush to help scoot the poor thing out, when the attractive young worker, who'd been enjoying her break, simply got up and, like an experienced pigeon whisperer, cooed the window-battered yoke into a corner, then easy as anything picked it up and released it out the door. Mind you, when she threw it into the air, it made an unexpected flop, obviously dazed by its window-shopping experience. It got itself together eventually and took off in search of outdoor crumbs, or maybe to relate its adventure to its equally mangy buddies on nearby roofs.

Where was I? Oh yeah, you know how I said that I 'never' use cafes to write? Well, you'd better put that into past-tense now - as soon as she'd gone behind the counter to wash the bird-shit from her dainty little hands, I was buried in my notebook (always keep one handy) scrawling away at a poem about my 'cafe heroine'. Because I've been working on a new fiction first-draft over the last while, I've not been writing poetry, which is how things go with me - I'm either one or the other. Anyway, I'm scratching away at the page when my friend arrives and basically accuses me of being a...writer. Now she knows I'm writing most of my life, but she's never seen me sitting in a cafe window, head down, scrawling away like I've a deadline to meet, so it struck me as a bit odd that she'd see such public behaviour as a qualification, of sorts. I'm now a bona-fide scribe! Rolling Eyes


  1. I love sitting in cafes to write.

  2. I wish I had that, Julia. Unfortunately for me, it just doesn't happen. Give me a park, or a bench at the beach, and I'm in writing heaven. Maybe I'll work on the café thing, see how it goes. ;-)