Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rear Window

Well, I can't even call this morning. It's lunchtime, and I've been at my computer for almost three hours. I've reached stalemate with the story I'm writing, which always happens around about now. If I'm not careful, I'll be propelled into a round of meaningless www.nonsense, and then it'll be five o clock before I've blinked an eye.
     And I need to be at least halfway through my story by the time it's dark tonight, and the man with the black hair in the posh flat across the road has closed his laptop lid on the day and left the room.
I'm somewhat annoyed with him right now. From time to time I waft about my flat, eat lunch, sift through papers and not once does he look up and acknowledge me. He's been working at that window for a year now, and nothing stirs him from his work. I figured I'd strip naked in front of my window to see what happens, but I've worked out he's probably gay (he lives with a man who irons a lot... flimsy evidence, I know).
     I feel comforted when my man across the road is at his laptop working. Sometimes he talks on the phone, but mainly, he perches over it, the screen lighting up his glasses. I'd like to think that perhaps he's writing a novel or a screenplay (hey, we could swap stories!), or is on his way to becoming the next Danny Boyle (he looks a bit like him).
     But I strongly suspect it's work of a rather more mundane nature he's doing. After all, he doesn't strut and fret his living room, hand to forehead, looking like inspiration's just about to strike. He doesn't toss page after page to the floor, lips quivering with rage. No, he sits and he types and he stares at his screen. He doesn't even drink tea or coffee (I never see a mug beside him).
     Actually, he probably IS a writer. Because that's what proper writers do nowadays. In olden times, it was okay to spend your life speeded up to the eyeballs, reeling about your flat (if you had a flat), trying to find your way to your cup of coffee through the heaps of papers mounting up on the threadbare carpet, waiting for mystical vision (or the drugs) to kick in. Nowadays, it's work, work, work; tap tap tapping into your Imac, sticking to routines, deadlines, structuring your sentences. No one roll of paper and a line of charlie for my man across the road. He's got it sussed. Hard work and a clear head gets you there.
     I'm going to make another cuppa. Wait for the hot water to turn to brown syrup in my teapot. That's how I'll get through today. Mine isn't always a healthy life, I have to admit, and I don't think I can even excuse it by calling myself a writer yet without sounding hopelessly pompous.
     But are we so different: him with his Habitat lampshade, me in my stupid furry slippers? I bet he's too posh even for Waitrose, and that he never cries at Eastenders. But if my man over the road can do it, then so can I, even if he never lifts his head and look at me. What would I do if he did? Would I really wave? Hold up a piece of A4 with a crayoned thumb upturned on it? Show him my new hula-hooping trick? Maybe. Or perhaps I'd scuttle off to the kitchen, caught out, and throw peas at my bin for a while.
     It's a funny thing, this writing business, and we all need allies, don't we? Even if they are too preoccupied or shortsighted to acknowledge our genius, or just our fantastic leopard skin dressing gown.

1 comment:

berenice said...

hey clare
what a delight to read this piece of yours!! ah you British, if i admire your use of language and words! your descriptions of yours & his flat, your furry slippers versus his slick image and your writing behaviors and are so perfectly antagonist that cannot be other but hilarious.. and let me tell you that your man got me quite intrigued, his mysterious ways indeed have traveled cross-continents... i can totally picture you dancing and waving across window calling his attention

as for ideas of what he could be doing, well, as you, i am blank, but i truly hope you keep on stalking him and writing about

and also as you, i do feel a little or a lot uncomfortable around that people that seem imperturbable and perfect... i tend to notice everything around me, even flies distract me and well my flat looks much like yours, order nor health have never been much on my side either, so these perfect sort of creatures tend to disturb me, but oh well, i guess they must exist in order to balance us out, huh?

great little story clare!

and for recommended/related reading, please check Paul Auster's "The New York Trilogy" is a collection of 3 short detective stories, the 2nd one called "Ghosts" is a story similar to yours and your man, the similarities will haunt you, am sure

take care dear clare, and what a pleasure to read Clare's writes & flats adventures ;)