Monday, August 13, 2012

The Writer and the World

I took a walk down SW 3rd Ave the other day. It was a bright day, mid-morning. There was no breeze and the air hung still-life heavy.

What I noticed: angry drivers honking and threatening pedestrians. I saw panhandlers, sidewalk sleepers and street kids. I saw the handsomely dressed business crowd rushing off this way or the other. I saw coffeehouse residents sipping lattes under parasols. I saw mall crawling shoppers and I saw street musicians. In short, I saw life.

At a distance of about 8 blocks from home, I saw my workplace some 8 blocks away. It crippled me: I was about to engage in a double shift at work, something roughly translating to 10:30 Thursday morning until 12:30 AM Friday. And what's crazier still is that by the time of this realization, I had already worked a shift at my writing desk for three hours before I left the house.

I missed Mark Dragotta suddenly and intensely. I often miss Mark. In the old days of writer's purgatory of Denver, Colorado, Mark and I may not have known how good we had it. We worked on our writing each morning while nursing our hangovers. We got together sometimes in the afternoons for an Umbrella Factory shift. We went to our vacuous gigs as waiters each evening where we talked about books and writers and life. After work we went honky-tonkin' or boozing only to end the night at the pizza joint—a tongue burning, whiskey absorbing end to another day.

But those days are done, buried and long ago.

Mark is there, and I am here.

And walking down SW 3rd Ave one sunny morning, I missed him so badly because of anyone who could understand how I felt at that moment, it would have been him.

The writer and the world.

I'm an introverted person and I'm forced to mix with people. I have enjoyed a life of popularity. I have always had many friends and acquaintances. I'm grateful for them. Also, I work the service industry and I live downtown in a moderately large town. I'm around people constantly, some by choice and others not. Truth is, I'm tired by the end of the day. I'm tired of the world by the end of the day.

And all I want to do is read novels and write and think. In a perfect world, I'm under a tree with my coffee, my notebook, a paperback and a trusty pen. But the world, unfortunately for me, does not work that way. Sure, it could. But if it did, where would the conflict be? Without conflict what is there to write?

I miss the company of a trusted friend and writer, and in Mark's case, a confidant who is another tormented waiter.

Along SW 3rd Ave that morning, I realize that wrapped in love, warped in a city's fold; tormented by a profession or overwhelmed with people, it's all part of life, part of the world. And the writer' place in it? Well, that's really the question of the hour, isn't it?

I bet Mark would have an answer.   

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