Writer Brain

This is my brain on writing one morning this week.

Roll out of bed, rub eyes, stumble into the kitchen and pour coffee. Sip. Pad softly to the bathroom. “Write” a kick ass first sentence for my new book in the shower.

Edit until perfect and repeat twelve times. Promptly forget it while applying lotion. Screech and curse.

Why don’t I have one of those writing pads for the shower? I do my best work in there. Grumble all the aqua-notes-homeway to the subway. Hold the door open for a teenage kid twice only to have him forget to return the favour and slam the door in my face after he had swaggered past me. Why so disrespectful? What happened to him not to say a simple “Thank you” or return the favour? Is it because I’m a woman? Does he hate women? Maybe his mother left him as a small boy. Maybe his dad did. Maybe he’s just a punk and doesn’t care about anyone. Maybe he hangs out with the “wrong crowd.” God, I’m old.

Climb aboard subway and begin to read. Get distracted and watch a seeing-impaired woman enter the subway car with her guide dog. Cute doggie. Don’t pet the dog, Lydia. That’s bad form, something I know from living next door to a seeing-impaired man several years ago. I golfed with him. True story. He was incredible. Too bad my ex-husband inherited him, staying in the house and all. I digress…  I gawk around to see who offers their seat. One person on the opposite side stands, but the woman had already turned to ask someone closer. Why doesn’t anyone get up? Are they too tired? Are they really sleeping or faking it? Can’t she see or feel the dog at her side? I can’t believe she had to ask someone to move. Wow, the woman who moved looks mighty pissed about it. What a jerk. Is she extra tired today? Did she not eat and is weak? Maybe she has an invisible illness and needed the seat just as much, but didn’t want to cause a stir because no one might believe her? Or maybe she’s just a bitch. Do her children think so? Is she estranged from them, or did she teach them the same horrible habits? Maybe she has no children. Maybe that’s why she’s miserable. Maybe there was a tragedy…

I turned back to my book and look over a couple of minutes later. The dog is gone! Nope, there he is, tucked under the seat. Gross. How many germs are under there? What about all the germs on this pole I’m clutching? If there was an outbreak in the city, I’d be the first to go. I have the worst immune system. I’d bring it home to my loved ones…

Oh, look at that guy! What a swagger. And that stance! What is he wearing? Talk about high maintenance. Oh yuck, I’m surprised he hasn’t asphyxiated on cologne fumes. Or his ego. Geez. I wonder what he does for a living. Thank God I don’t have to date anymore. This guy would be a treat on a date. I bet all he’d talk about is his car. Something sporty. Expensive. I wonder if anyone’s ever met on the subway. What an unusual way to meet someone…reader-brain

I can’t stop making up stories about the people I see, the things I hear. Of particular interest lately was a woman crying on the subway – and the woman who sat down beside her.

It was later in the evening, and I’d had a couple of beverages that may or may not have involved vodka, so I didn’t even notice the weeping girl until a woman opposite me got up. Instead of moving toward the doors, she sat back down in my periphery. This was a highly unusual occurrence so I took notice, which was when I discovered the girl in tears.

Why? That’s all I could think. What would possess a woman to cry on the subway? I’m loathe to cry anywhere except the comfort of my own home with the exception of a fantastic book that will make me leak tears wherever I am, so naturally I began wondering about her. Did she just get dumped by the love of her life, did someone die, was it the love of her life, or did she herself just receive terrifying medical news? Why was she riding the subway after terrible news? Had she lost her job and couldn’t afford the privacy of a taxi to shed her tears. What if she was crazy? Bi-polar? What if she’d just committed a crime? Did she run away from an abusive boyfriend? What if she just found out she’s pregnant and knows her parents will kick her out. Maybe they just did because she came out as a lesbian. Did she just have an abortion? What if she’s on her way home to commit suicide?

And what about the woman who went to comfort her, a guardian angel of sorts? Maybe they become friends. Maybe not. Maybe the encounter changes both their lives – but how?

And this, my friends, is a writer’s brain. No drugs required.

Note: I went to work that morning and pounded out a thousand words in between calls, emails and calendar invites. Shh.

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