Yesterday, while waiting on a friend, I sat on a barstool with a pen and paper and let the people there lead me along. I knew whom to write about as soon as the aroma of stale cigarettes and cheap perfume enveloped me as she sauntered by and shouted merrily at the bartender.
“Give me a Coors Light bottle. I don’t drink out of no glass.”
Her gravelly voice sent chills down my spine. At first glance she appeared to be a slightly attractive woman in her late forties, but upon further inspection her looks declined and I realized that she was probably about thirty and has taken a hard path in life, picture Charles Bronson’s blonde-haired identical twin sister without the mustache.
Hers was the only voice I could hear from the trio of lunchtime revelers. I couldn’t make it out but I could only imagine what she said, so I did. She bragged to the not as crusty redhead and the smarmy-looking nerd about her latest conquest in the dart league at the corner bar in her neighborhood all the while wishing that New York State hadn’t made smoking in bars and restaurants illegal. They hung on every word either because she was a fascinating conversationalist or they feared a beating for not paying attention.
I thought that she was running late for a smoke break, but she didn’t budge from her spot. My guess was that her need for alcohol outweighed her desire for nicotine at the moment. Whether or not this was true didn’t matter because on my paper she can be whomever I want. For all I know in real life she might be a pillar of the community, a fantastic mother and wife, and a brain surgeon that just happens to like wearing tight sweaters with deer on them. Who am I kidding, but my assumptions might be way off. That’s the magic of writing; the writer makes all the rules.
This writing exercise squashed any fear I had about “writer’s block” because if it happens I’ll just need to venture out into the world around me and get some ideas from its inhabitants. It also convinced me to make sure I always have a pen and paper on me in case I’m ever “inspired”.