The tiny café was nearly empty. Only a few hours ago, it had been packed to the walls with hungry marketgoers for the noontime meal. The scents of spice and roasted lamb lingered heavily in the air, cut through by the rippling twang of sitar strings. She took a bite of falafel and hoped she would forever associate the pulse of Marrakesh in the dwindling afternoon with the crisp, spicy saltiness dissolving on her tongue; the soft sun kissing the hair on her arms, standing it on end; and the hum of Arabic murmured in ears close by. Only in places such as these, thousands of miles removed from her past, was she at rest. Only here, cloaked in the lullabies of the unfamiliar, did she find her peace.
I need to write more. There are no excuses, really. The proverbial brick wall has more than a few cracks in it from where my forehead frequently meets it. I am stuck. Editing and second-guessing go hand in hand at the moment. Every day my memoir of Tanzania is begging to be finished, and every evening I get home from work, exhausted, and stare at my computer like it suddenly outputs in the Cyrillic alphabet. My NaNoWriMo novel hasn’t seen the light of day since December 1st, 2014.
I need a different perspective. A project that has a beginning and a foreseeable end, that can be put out there in the moment, when inspiration hits, and wrapped up in the span of a few paragraphs. Or even a sentence or two. Or one. Microstories. Little chunks of life, to breathe vivacity into and bring the fun back to the writing process for me. So while I’m crawling toward the finish line with “The Red Earth Sings Beneath Our Feet,” I’m going to try a new thing.
What I’ve noticed that happens when I’m out and about – usually when I imbibe certain… ah… adult beverages – is that sometimes I tend to get wordy. Morose and wordy. Delighted and wordy. Giggly and wordy. These words that so needed an outlet had been written down on whatever was readily at hand. Prior to ownership of an iPhone and the Notes app, the primary medium had been bar napkins.
Bar napkins are quintessential to my writing process, it seems. Ideas for novels and song lyrics have been born on bar napkins. Poetry has been composed, with drink in hand, in the flush and spin and sounds of the night. Music interweaves itself with thought process. The buzz of the room mingles with the rush of capturing a moment, putting words to a vision before it escapes. I’m drunk on boundless possibilities. Drops of foam from a Guinness or two stain several of these tiny masterpieces, quickly cast aside for the next round of inspiration. But the point isn’t necessarily to see the ideas go anywhere. The point isn’t that they’re even any good. The point is that they were written.
I want it back. The words need out. So, welcome to:
She took a drag of her cigarette, felt the smoke invade her lungs, welcomed the burn and the fullness, and the thoughts spun away as quickly as they’d come. Thoughts of him, standing just inside the door, inside the noise and the heat and the sweat and the pulse of the music. Of him with her, with the new girl, the “someone else” she’d known would appear eventually.
She took another pull and tried her very best to keep herself from shattering.