During the last few months I’ve been attempting to complete three different manuscripts. When I’m at home it’s easy to become distracted. Too easy! There’s all the housework, the Internet, my email, the puppy wanting to play and the phone, just to mention a few things likely to derail my writing day.
Since I know myself well, whenever I can, I leave the house and work in one of my favorite cafes. I’ve posted about the benefits of a coffice before (coffee shop/office), and for me writing in a cafe really works. For instance, I’ve completed the first draft of a 50K manuscript this month, writing the final words today.
But there is an interesting by-product to working in a cafe. I meet some entertaining people.
Most people are attracted by Rufus, my pink netbook. They stop to chat about the cute pink computer and want to know what it does and where they can get one.
At one particular cafe, a group of retired men and women meet after doing a twice-weekly walk. Usually, I get there before them and gradually become surrounded by their group who range in age from early 60s to 80s. They’ve started chatting to me and discovered I was a writer. I received the normal questions about research, along with a few smirks. I told one man that writers who write about murder don’t go around killing people therefore it wasn’t logical to assume I participated in all the kinky stuff he was smirking about. I heard him repeating my words verbatim to two elderly women about two weeks later. The lecture must have sunk in.
One of the elderly ladies in the group wanted to know if I’d speak at her book club. I asked what sort of books they read. “Oh, we’re very relaxed,” she said, waving an airy hand. “Each month we have a theme. This month our theme is color.”
“That’s a good idea,” I said.
“Yes, I’m reading 50 Shades of Grey,” she said. “The first bit was all right, but I’m not sure about all this bondage stuff and tying people up. How am I going to explain that to my book club?”
Yesterday, I was in my cafe around eight in the morning and was busy tapping out my words.
“Excuse me,” the man beside me said. “I’m sorry to bother you, but could you tell me a word to describe addiction.”
I must have looked a bit blank because he said, “This is my sentence.” And he read a sentence about how his gambling had overtaken him, causing him lots of problems.
“Oh,” I said, and I gave him a suggestion.
Wondering just what he was scribbling about in his notebook, I went back to my writing.
“Excuse me,” he said. “Could you spell…” He proceeded to ask me how to spell about half a dozen different words. “Thank you,” he said politely once I’d finished.
I went back to my words.
“Excuse me,” he said.
I was starting to get the drift of what he was writing, and I was a bit nervous about what was coming next.
“I need a closing paragraph to read out to the judge. I’ve been very stupid,” he said. “I’ve done some bad things, and if this letter doesn’t work, I’ll have to go to jail.”
“Oh,” I said. “Okay, how about something like this? Your honor, I am truly sorry for my actions and have learned the error of my ways. I want to be a role model for my children. I’ve worked hard, gone to rehab and done everything required of me to turn my life around.”
He nodded, scribbled my suggestion down, adding a few words of his own. After a few minutes, he said, “Excuse me.”
I smiled politely and wondered what was coming next.
“Thank you for your help. I’m going home to shower and change now.”
“Okay, good luck,” I said.
He nodded and left. I watched him get in his car and drive away before going back to my words.
Life is never boring at the coffice!