Bookmark #500

I sit in the most crowded cafe I can find in the mall’s centre on a Friday evening. I do this by myself with a cup of hot americano in the corner section of the cafe. The table stands by itself, facing the faceless silhouettes of shoppers scurrying and straggling, passing the bar-like table. At first, this seems to be a rather unwise decision. Other writers would tell you it’s too loud and chaotic, with their snarky remarks about consumerism, the stream of distraction of the whistling industry-grade machine, and the faux hellos echoing over and over like some sick simulation. But all that, all of it, is an excuse. If I have learned only one thing about what we do as writers, it’s that you can write as well in a silent room as you can in a buzzing hive of cash and credit. You can write in places that look and feel the same, regardless of what city you go to, and you can write with terrible coffee as you can with which tastes like heaven.

If there is anything I have learned, it is that there is only one way to do it. I’ve learned that it is as simple as sitting at a random table in some cafe and doing it, and I have learned it is as complex as managing to focus on the words ahead of you. That is how all writing is done: one word at a time. The page is coloured in marks of black, and slowly, it seems like something is there, but you begin with one word. That’s how you start, and that’s how you end.

My father often tells me driving well is about driving well for a hundred metres over and over again. I still don’t know how to drive a car. I don’t know a lot of things. I don’t know how to cook anything besides a few eggs and some pasta. I don’t yet know how to find love and keep it. Be that as it may, I know what I know: I know how to write; I know to take bits and pieces, these bookmarks from my life, and eternalise them, one word at a time. In the end, I may not amount to much. Perhaps, nothing great will come out of my hands. But these words, these vignettes torn right out of my days, will have something to say.

And if, in the end, they say nothing worthwhile, then that is what my life will stand for—no more, no less—but it will all happen one word at a time.

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