I had a very productive writing session at the coffee shop yesterday. It was a nice day so I was able to ride my bike there—a good way to prime the mind. After settling in with my java, I wrote for about three hours. A new WIP. I’m still in the early this-story-is-awesome stage, where the words just pour forth. Always a great feeling.
Towards the middle of my session, after the noonday rush had emptied out and there were just a handful of people left in the café, a woman approached me and said, “Look at you! Still working so hard. What are you studying?”
I kinda blinked up at her in confusion and said I was writing. I was so in the zone I couldn’t come up with anything else. After some awkward chitchat (I write fiction, yes I’m published, no you won’t find my name on a book’s cover) she went back to her table where she was studying for some kind of exam, nursing I think. She was very sweet, but I was unprepared for her questions and felt like an idiot talking to her.
This incident taught me a few things.
- I can apparently still pass for a college student.
- People project themselves onto others all the time. Because she was a young woman at a coffee shop studying, I must be too.
- Your average person equates writers to (printed) books. When I explained I had a couple short stories published, she got a confused look on her face then smiled politely and said “Oh.”
- Writing could be seen as a study of the human condition, of ourselves and the world around us, negotiated on the page.
I still got another hour of work done after our talk. That’s the power of a good story, to help you forget the world around you. I could ignore the fact that she didn’t understand all the work that went into my short stories, all the work that still goes into them and my novel projects.
I could just focus on my words, my world, my story. And it was good.