I must be a glutton for punishment or something because I am back here in this little ticky-tacky coffee shop. At least I have decent music to listen to this time. Still not quite sure what to write about, so I'm just going to put words down and see where it goes. I wouldn't quite call it "free-writing," not like I've experienced in some writing classes, its a bit too structured for that. I keep some semblance of control over the words, the order and how it looks on the "page." One of my writing prof's used to tell us to do free-writing long-hand well I find that too restrictive (oddly enough) because I tend to think faster than I can write (when I get going) and it starts to hurt (insert some joke about art hurting or something like that). She didn't want us editing what we wrote but I can''t escape that mentality, I'm used to editing as I go, by the time I'm done, I've done both a rough draft as well as the first revision. I think it's just the way I'm wired at this point in time. I spent to long editing stories and having to do it on a very tight deadline to be able to waste time with going over and over copy.

Kerouac has a piece on what could be called free-writing, its more inspired by jazz than by anything else. Trying to write in absolute silence except for the scratch of pen on paper or the tap-tap of keys is difficult, in my opinion. I'd rather be sitting someplace and listening to people, listening to music, listening to life for inspiration. What I like to do, what I strive to do in writing is to get everything out fast and once its out, it's done. The main problem I have is that I can't keep up with my head at times, I simply think faster than I write, my hands slow me down. Not that I think every little thing I think of is brilliant, it would be nice to simply plug my brain into the computer and let the thoughts come out onto the printed screen. I'm sure some day that will happen, but not yet (that I know of).

Thinking back on the times when I did most of my writing, it was when it was just me and a pad of paper sitting in a coffee shop or restaurant someplace. I still have story ideas kicking around but I sometimes think that worrying about the form gets in the way of getting the words down. Another problem of course is figuring out what the story really is. Some day, it will come to me.

In this coffee shop is a young waitress, 20-ish. Slender and fresh-faced, working here to help pay for college. Dish-water blonde hair, you can see the roots showing through the dye. Hair pulled neatly into a bun but with strands peeking through here and there. Soft curves in the face but with a slightly hard edge, a touch of cynicism creeping in around the corners of her eyes and her mouth. Black apron and polo shirt. Headset so she can take orders from the drive through while she is mopping the floor or waiting on another customer. Short press-on nails. Gold hoop earrings but little else in the way of jewelry. Basic tennis-shoes with no socks. Short jeans coming down to her calves, capri-pants I think they are. She runs the carpet sweeper around, catching up the crumbs left from customers. A little bit of sadness and perhaps longing to escape from this life in her blue-grey eyes.

Looking at her, I am vaguely reminded of a Lou Reed song. Two actually: "All Tomorrow's Parties" and "Pale Blue Eyes."

A somewhat blase expression but the occasional tiny flash of a smile sneaking through as she talks to a customer. I imagine that after work, she goes back to her apartment to study, but if it's a Friday or weekend, going out to one of the "clubs" around, dancing and drinking to forget before starting all over again on Monday.

One good thing about sitting out and writing is that you can easily pick up characters in other people. I used to have a friend in college and we would sit in a cafeteria area and he would make up cartoon conversations for people as they stood behind a glass wall waiting for their food. I used to do a lot of writing sitting in that cafeteria. It wasn't quite a cafeteria though, it had a feel more like a pizza parlour. If you sit long enough and people watch, inspiration does come. I guess it gets back to what I was writing about above. Writing is not something that should be done in a vacuum. As writers, we are writing about the world around us, either in essay form (as this is), in stories, or in poems.Art imitates life and occasionally, life begins to imitate art. Our perspective on what we see colours how we see it. The sum of who we are at any given moment effects how we interpret the world around us. Really its all about interpretation.

Our eyes interpret the objects around us and feeds that interpretation to the brain which then assembles the images into something coherent. Then another part of our brain takes those coherent images and starts to interpret them to make sense of what it is seeing. If there is none, our mind has to supply a context, a context that may not be correct or even close to true. But then again, what is truth? I just keep coming back to various cliched sayings such as "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I would almost re-phrase that to be "truth is in the eye of the beholder."

It's odd to think that everything we see as solid is really simply a mathematical function of some kind. Chaos. What we feel to be solid is simply a collection of molecules made of up atoms that are merely close together, held together by sub-atomic forces. Because nothing really exists, our minds enforce a sense of reality on the world around us.

Posted: Wed - May 10, 2006 at 07:57 PM