So I was interviewed by Artscope about my writing process, my performance of poetry and I was asked to read a few pieces.
I pulled out my phone while the man beside me was breathing down my neck. I started to dial and sidestepped away from him. He took a step closer.
“Mind backing up a little” I asked. “Thanks”. I called my brother. “Tyler, I just had a thought”.
“Dude, I’m suited up for an interview so this better be important” said Tyler. I imagined the sight, his short stature and his formal attire. It looked like a child holding a clipboard.
“It is” I replied. “So what if an acapella group-”?
Tyler stopped me. “If this is one of your puns, I swear, I’m changing the Netflix password”.
“It’s not, it’s not” I assured. “So if an acapella group got into gardening…”?
“This is a pun Bruce, admit it” replied Tyler.
“I’m telling you, it’s not” I defended. “So if an acapella group got into gardening, would they call their band Pitches and Hoes”?
Tyler groaned on the phone “I’m going to give that a negative four out of ten”.
I got a dissatisfied look from the man beside me. “No but seriously, I called to tell you about my emergency cigarettes”.
Tyler expected another pun saying “Ok…”.
“There’s a box under my bed and it has about three in there. If you’re going for an interview, take them. Just buy a packet of mints as well. Pop a mint after your cigarette”.
Tyler was shook by the lack of a punchline. “Ok, thanks”.
“And Tyler, you’ll be fine. No matter what happens, you’ll be fine. I love you”.
“Ok man, I got to go, but thanks for the cigarettes, and the advice”.
“Anytime Tyler” and I hung up. I turned to the man behind me. “Thanks for bending the rules. I’m ready to go now”.
Technically, the glass from the windscreen broke my heart. But Tyler looking at the car crash, that is what broke my heart. He roared like a missile, aware of its purpose as it fell through the sky. Being ok was an impossible thing. And he would go on believing this for the rest of his life. But when he checked the time of our last call, he understood impossible things can happen.
I better make the first line in my first blog count. Damn!
I firmly believe that at most, half of anyone’s time (especially a writer’s) should be spent telling stories. Any more and you would miss out on the most important thing of all, living the stories that you can talk about.
Now I’m not saying the other half of your time should be spent scaling The Alps or solving crimes in spandex. Not every story is epic and grand (although, if too much time is spent telling stories, you will miss out on an epic tale at some point) but sometimes, the most magnificent stories are those of you walking through town, or talking nonsense in a café with no fruits of the day born except pleasant thoughts before sleep. Allow me to give an example.
I was having one of those days where I wanted to write for hours and hours. I finally had a hook on a first chapter and my laptop was seducing me much like how gravity seduces all do it. But I tore myself away from the keyboard and went into town. Within a few minutes something astounding happened. I ran into a man who was using a tomato as a phone (in his defence, when the president calls you, you answer). And the rest of the day sustained that level and magnitude. I sat down in a café and me and my friends got into a long discussion about God, how different cultures depict it in different ways and how all depictions of God have similarities. I then migrated to a different café where my friend decided to read out obscure bedroom positions that had no sexual value and seemed to be health hazards.
That night I ran into three friends by chance. One of which, months ago I had met on his last day in this country before he went to wash oil off turtles in Creet or something equally obscure and heartwarming. I had met him that night which, by sheer chance, was his first day back in this country. His brother was also there (amazing busker. Imagine if Tom Waits had the energy of someone less than half his age). I had not properly spoken to him in years, And a spanish student who spoke so highly of the family she was living with and explained that they were, in all important aspects, as much as her family as the one she had back in Spain. That was just one day and night,
Now I could have been writing for a thousand years and still not had the skill to tell such a story without living it. One without a spec of fiction and with all my conviction. What I’m trying to say is not every part of this story had amazing unbelievable traits, but all of it was a story I am proud to have lived. And now that I have told it, I am off to make use of the other half of my time. You see, there is not one of us among seven billion without tales to make us laugh, cry, hurt, heal and gladly lend our ears. So I want you to do something for me if it is not too much trouble. In whatever way, in whatever format, I want to hear your stories.
But only after you lived them.
(At least I ended my first blog on a good closing line. Wait a minute…damn!)