Friday, January 22, 2010

Poetry in a Pub

Guinness ShadowImage by Steffe via Flickr

I've never had a problem being the guy that goes to see a movie alone, done it many times, or flop open my laptop in a crowded bar to work on writing in my journal, slosh out a poem, or throw back a few lines of my novel. It's been a long time since I cared about the strange looks from the other end of the bar. I've gotten into the habit of asking the host or barkeep where I can sit to plug into an outlet, and they always oblige, even to the extent of plugging me in behind the bar, between the bottles or dusty area behind the cash register.

However, I seldom get anything done, because whomever sits next to me wants to know who I am and what I'm doing. And, I'm okay with that. Strangers have a tendency to tell me their innermost challenges and/or secrets. Last night I spoke to a man who's son died in Iraq in 2007 and another who made an instantaneous career change from drug dealer to engineer. Do I believe him? It doesn't matter, I enjoyed the conversation... and these conversations often make their way back into my stories once I trade the Guinness for hot tea in a coffee shop where I'm less likely to be engaged.

Though I know it to be true--this inability to actually write in a pub--it doesn't keep me from trying. When I backpacked around Europe I spent many hours in Irish pubs recording my adventures and thoughts, there is something to be said for the few minutes of patience that a freshly poured Guinness requires. FOR HEALTH! Those minutes are all I need to get started on my next thought, and getting started is always about 95% of my battle.

Last night I was trying to write poetry, but the real verse I found was in conversation... it wasn't in rhyme, but still a good time.