I’ve done a fair bit of walking today; I can feel the heat trapped in my shoes, burning my soles as I sit here in a stuffy pub on Lombard St. I spent the majority of the morning doing outrageous Google searches, looking up certificate programs, new things to commit to and study. I have always been a planner, and an unrealistic one. I think planning is what I enjoy the most. Everything sounds better in theory than in practice. Since I’ve been devoting a lot more time to my own personal writing, I’ve considered things I could do to make myself more marketable should I want to pursue paid opportunities once my two library jobs end at the close of summer. I’ve explored courses in journalism, copyediting — they all sound great but that’s the problem. I’m sure when I find myself locked back down into the commitments of student life, I’ll wonder why I jumped back into things so quickly.
When I finally emerged from my apartment, it was nearly 1 pm. I headed to the Northside and had breakfast at The Lovinspoon. The staff there is infinitely amusing — a mild-mannered Irish guy, who I assume to be the owner, is constantly teased by a spunky South American girl with an infectious laugh who works with him behind the counter. Today was the first day I had seen him without a beanie, and my comment about it made him chuckle; apparently I was the second patron to mention it today. While I ate, I started a new book, Goodbye to Berlin, a collection of short stories by Christopher Isherwood regaling his experiences in 1930’s Berlin. I was drawn to it by the description on the back citing “glamour and sleaze” and while I haven’t gotten to much sleaze yet (by today’s standards, at least) I am entertained by his tales of life in a boarding house in the city.
It gave me an idea for a short story — this isn’t the first book in recent years I’ve read that centered around a boarding house. I find the idea of living in one fantastically romantic and even looked for one when I first came to Dublin. Apparently, at least in this part of the world, the practice is fairly antiquated. But, I’ve met enough strange and engaging characters over the years to populate 50 boarding houses so I thought, maybe I would take a handful of them and have them live together in a world I construct. Part fiction, part reality, I’m going to start working something up tonight and see where it goes.
In my daily writing sessions I’ve been trying to focus more on stream of consciousness-type prose. I think about how easily and enthusiastically I spun stories as a child and how that lack of inhibition was replaced by fear of judgement and rejection. My child’s imagination is still in there, but it was walled off, brick by brick, over the years as I floated into adulthood. Now, finding myself struck with novel (in the sense of new) ideas, I soon lock up, afraid it’s not good enough, already hearing the imaginary voices of others telling me it’s stupid. I try to enter these exercises with a clear mind and write without judgment of myself. Hopefully this will translate to freer writing when I’m looking to produce content for others.
The sun is getting dimmer in the sky as clouds roll in over Dublin. Through the windows of The Lombard, I can see shadows forming that herald the impending evening. Faint breaths of the cooling air make their way in from the open door and swirl around me. Behind me, an ABBA song flips on from the jukebox and someone clumsily sings the chorus a measure too early. I’d love to stay, to order another beer that has gone down so smoothly, but I must pick up my bags and head out into the bustling streets. I need to get home; I’ve got more work to do.