These mornings I sit in Essen and write. It’s so wonderfully quiet, especially the last couple of days when I’ve been able to get there an extra hour earlier than usual. I always sit in the same corner near the glass, where I have a view of almost the entire store. When my mind wanders I catch myself people-watching. It’s interesting to see the same people come in day after day, to observe their routines, their habits and tics. It’s a study in character.
I know it’s expensive, but every morning I buy my breakfast rather than make something at home. I think of it as cheap rent for a writing office. Until I’m able to afford a real work space somewhere, this is the best I’ve got. It takes a lot of practice and determination to be able to write through the noise (blaring pop radio, customer and employee conversations, the hiss of food being cooked) but I’ve gotten better at it.
My favorite part of writing in a “public office” space like Essen is that nobody around me has any clue what’s going on. Sure, they might be able to sneak a glance over my shoulder at my screen. They’ll likely see Scrivener pulled up, with my daunting color-coded outlines and revision notes. They probably notice me typing furiously. They might see me flipping through notebooks and transcribing handwritten things.
Anyone who is watching closely might be able to guess that I’m in my own little world, telling stories to an audience of one. But that’s all they know. They don’t know my characters. They don’t know the universe I’ve constructed. They don’t know that I’m on the brink of tears for the devastation that’s happening on the page, or that I’m jumpy from the thrill of having penned something that terrifies me.
And yeah, the whole reason we are compelled to make stories in the first place is that we want to share them…but well. There’s something wonderful and precious about this bit of privacy.
For the time being, these stories belong to no one but me.