Back on track

After finishing the science fiction novel last week, I went back to the “suburban satire” I had been working on. Back to writing longhand, back to the — relatively — real world of 1986.

I have complained often and at length about finding space to work in the afternoon; when I don’t take time for lunch (or sometimes while I’m eating lunch), I tend to sit and write. My place of choice was a Starbucks for a while, but they removed about a third of their seating and suddenly I was unlikely to find a seat there, no matter when I went over there.

I moved over to the Second Cup; it’s quieter, the staff are nicer, and there is almost always seating available. I find the counter by the window to be very conducive to writing — the seats are comfortable and the world passing by is just the right amount of distraction for me. Starbucks has one of these counters too, but it is more cramped and less comfortable. I hate sitting there at Starbucks, while I prefer sitting at the counter at Second Cup. Ah, the whims of the spirit.

Yesterday, though: thwarted. One of the rules of a modern urban society is — or ought to be — that bags and coats do not merit a seat. At the Second Cup yesterday, three people and their accoutrements had taken up the five seats at the counter. If there isn’t a law, there oughta be.

I have learned, though, not to be shy in these places. I think it is entirely permissible to share tables and ask people to move their things and so on. “Oh — is anyone sitting here? Do you mind if I –” is usually enough. I have yet to find someone who isn’t willing to share, or to make a big show of moving their bags (probably to cover up the embarrassment of being called out for taking up too much space).

The Second Cup was too busy, though, and the line was moving too slowly, so I tried Starbucks. Success: a table. I was even asked to share it, which I gladly did.

All this to say, I wrote six hundred words yesterday. Writing longhand is extremely slow, I’ve found. And I can’t find my good fountain pen, so it isn’t even enjoyable. But I’ll finish this novel, eventually, and somehow.

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