Tuesday, November 04, 2014

I Want To Write A Story

I want to write a story, a made-up story. I used to write made-up stories all the time, hardly have the time or energy these days. But now I want to write a story. I want to do it in one draft, in several sittings. No revisions allowed.

The story... it's about this guy. Not me. It's not going to be an I story. I did this, I did that. He? Third person? Hmm. No. My trusty, unfashionable, my favourite second person. It's going to be a story about You.

You work in a cafe. (I know what you're thinking - it is a story about the author after all. But it's not. You have to trust me on this).

So you work in a cafe. You make coffee and serve food and make sure everyone is happy, gets their food and coffee on time. You're not great at the coffee but you're not bad, getting better. You get your fare share of compliments. You never intended to be the barista. The person who was meant to be the barista didn't show on the first day the cafe opened. She was hungover and someone had to make the coffee so you stepped in. That first day was nerves and shaky hands and flaky excuses and more than a few dodgy coffees. But you've gotten better. Sometimes all the ingredients - the grind, the dose, the steamed milk, the decorative pour - they all come together in a satisfying way and you know they are going to enjoy this coffee.

Another thing you do is you get to know people. All kinds of people you would probably never meet. You get a glimpse into all these diverse lives. People in the street catch your eye all the time, the pretty ones and the broken ones, the lonely ones and the old ones. All so different, trapped in their worlds, but you pass on by, wondering but never knowing.

But here in the cafe, you get to meet them, and you've only just realised what a cool thing this is. Not really a people person, you've had to learn how to talk with them, the way you've had to learn to steam the milk to silky perfection. Not that the talk is ever silky perfection, but it bumps along in it chunky way. They are rarely long meandering chats, being interrupted as they are by other customers or deliveries or the metalic screech of the coffee grinder. But here and there, in short bursts, a bigger picture emerges, a fuller view of the person is seen. The pretty ones, the broken ones, the lonely ones and the old ones, you get to know them and you realise that like you, they all have stories.

Where to begin? Who shall we meet first? Let's start with Hector, the only customer you've actually kicked out of the cafe...

To be continued.

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