I'm breaking all of my writing "rules." I've been struggling to produce anything worthwhile lately and I decided to try something new. I am messing with my process because someone recently called me a "mommy blogger" and I am pretty sure it was meant as an insult. I haven't written anything worthwhile since. Is it an insult? Am I just a mommy blogger or am I a real writer? Is there a difference? Does it matter? Most importantly, why do I care what that person thinks? I have a small but loyal following. I've never had to buy Twitter followers, but I'm not ruling it out. Can I produce something that isn't related to my status as mom?
I'm sitting at Starbucks. It's 7:05 p.m.. I have a notebook with me. I have doubts about trying to record my thoughts here, in this way, but I've seen so many people do it, that I am willing to give it a go.
I stand out. Everyone looks so comfortable here, so hidden behind a Macbook, so... sober. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. I miss my chair, my computer and my drink. Sounds so maternal, doesn't it? For now, a lemonade will do. Maybe I should write about this lemonade. It's as interesting as anything else I've written lately. Is it sugar free? Do they make it with alkaline water? What is alkaline water?
Okay, pen to paper, and go, something good should pour out. I stare at the eleven dollar notebook I just purchased at the Indigo connected to the Starbucks. It's pretty, but it has the world 'believe' embossed all over it. It doesn't suit me. My book should say -- 'bitter' or 'bored.' You see why I struggle with the mommy blogger handle? Nonetheless, I've committed to writing something in this book while I sit here.
F*ck, I forgot to bring a pen.
There, it's a sign. I should go home; I don't belong here. If I am a writer, I am not this kind of writer. But, I just spent eleven dollars on this f*cking book. I scan the restaurant. There are ear buds in everyone's ears. Too awkward to ask for a pen. I see the bored barista at the cash register. She's picking at her fingers. I am slightly revolted. I step up and ask her if I can borrow a pen.
Sure, keep it. (She doesn't look up, but nods towards a cup full of pens. Her finger-picking is consuming her. I can see now she is picking old black nail polish from her nails)
No, I'll return it. (Or something like that)
Keep it, we have lots. (Still picking, picking, picking)
No, I'll bring it back when I am done. (She looks up now, challenged, and drops her hands)
It's not a big deal. Seriously, keep it. (Now she has tone in her voice)
Why is she arguing with me? Or am I arguing with her? I don't need this sh*t. I sit down again, fully intending to return her goddamn pen.
OK, time to get writing. I return to my seat. I stare at the page. I wonder what everyone else is doing here. There is a curly-haired, serious-looking business lady with two mobile phones resting on the table beside her, typing on her laptop like she's mad at it. She has a briefcase. I wonder what's in it? What do people carry in briefcases now? Are her files not stored on her computer? Maybe she has gold bricks in there. Maybe it's for effect.
Behind her is a thirty-something, super casually-dressed man. He is leaning far back in his chair with his legs stretched out under the table. His arms are crossed, but he is staring at the screen of his laptop. I wonder what he is watching. I try and lean forward to get a glimpse. I can't see. He's wearing a concert t-shirt, but the band seems rather obscure and a bit scary and the back of his hand is covered in a spider-web tattoo, so I am guessing I won't be interested in whatever he is watching.
Back to work.
I look back down at my page. I've been unknowingly doodling while I stare at the other patrons. I've doodled a number of tornado-looking designs and one large dollar sign. What could that mean? At least it isn't mommy-related, right?
I look at the clock. How long have I been here. It reads 7:17. How do people do this? My lemonade is watery now and I want to go home.
Never one to persevere, I raise and gather my things and move quickly to my car. I'm 25 minutes away from my chair, my computer and my drink. On the way out, I glance at the screen of the guy with the tattoo. He's watching concert footage. Predictable and boring, like me. I like it that way.
I'm not meant to write at Starbucks with its violence-inducing ambient music and its "other people." It's not my process. I have a process. At least I've realized this. I want to be alone and I want to write about the things I know and if that's wrong, I don't want to be right.
I drive, pleased with my decision to abort the mission.
It's not until I am just minutes from home that I realize I kept the fcking pen.