Pause a moment, and I meet writers just about anywhere and in unlikely guises. The school teacher in step aerobics, the barista who also paints, the sickly lyme’s disease victim, and the Egyptian professor with the bipolar wife.
I sometimes wonder whether the proportion of writers in the population is the same as it’s always been or whether, given our calamitously crazy, loud, rushed world, there are more people than ever craving connection and resolution and recognition and self-expression.
Earlier this week, a retiree stopped at my table to comment on my left-handedness. I sat outside Capitol Hill Coffee House, which serves a mean northwest-style spinach salad (hazelnuts and blueberries). The man wore a blue baseball cap with a Vienna, Austria, patch on it. He related a few tales from his hard-drinking sports-writing days and told me his last name, Gould, pronounced “gold” not “goold”.
Then, he noticed the marked-up manuscript pages piled near my salad. “Oh, you’re a writer,” he said, and pulled a trade paperback out of his leather man-satchel. Just like that, boom, a man with a book of his own.
Before sports writing, Gould was a World War II German POW. And he wanted to write about it. And he couldn’t find a publisher. And so he self-published. And now he carries copies around with him everywere he goes, even up a hill to his local haunt called the Cider Mills Restaurant & Lounge. He connects and hopefully resolves and possibly receives recognition and self-expresses.
And I thought: Good for him.
Gould stopped to chat with me because lefties have always intrigued him. How random is that? Seemed like a sign somehow. I like signs — believing in signs it like following a make-believe funsy religion. I have no problem with that.