The Entry

The brief was to write something which had happened to you. Brief sounds serious and professional, and as though money might be involved, doesn’t it? Payment – that kind of thing. Well, there was no payment and no prospect of payment and to be motivated by the idea that you might be paid was foolish in the extreme. No, money wasn’t involved. No, the task wasn’t as serious and proper and rigorous as it sounds, despite the use of the word brief. But yes, it sounded like something I could turn my hand to: the kind of story you might tell to a friend over a coffee. Presumably in a coffee shop, or perhaps a café, as they are sometimes known, where, also presumably, people who drink coffee tell each other stories of the kind that might end up in a collection of stories one day, or would end up in such a place if the story teller knew about those places, and there are many of them, apparently, or would end up in, perhaps, an anthology of funny shit people overhear in coffee shops (or cafés), and these places exist too, both virtually and whatever the opposite of virtually is – actually? – if someone else within earshot had the presence of mind to start taking careful and detailed notes or if they were prepared enough for this sort of event to occur that they had actually brought a tape recorder with them, just in case, and turned it on in time so they didn’t miss most of the story.

That’s if people in coffee shops (or cafés) tell the sort of stories people tell over a coffee. I don’t know. I don’t go to coffee shops and I drink coffee, so I have to imagine where people tell these stories and how they tell them and what they are about. It doesn’t really matter where these stories are told. It doesn’t even matter if they are told at all, although the brief suggested that they were – and the brief seemed authoritative – because you use your imagination, don’t you? You imagine the story, told by the person, to the other person, and maybe even imagine yourself doing the telling, or doing the listening, and you think of something which happened to you and that’s the story, which is very close to where we started with this, but I’ve got a few things straight in my mind, and it’s been a comfort to clear away some of the confusion, and I hope it hasn’t been too tiresome to read me thinking aloud in this way. If you’re reading, that is. I suppose you are. I’m writing and I hope you’re reading, for that’s the point, isn’t it? It’s one of the points anyway. Being creative. Sharing. The story might be something completely fictional, the one told by a friend to a friend, over coffee, possibly in a coffee shop, possibly not. You’re allowed to make it up, if you want to. It’s your choice. And with fiction you can do anything and go anywhere you want to and create whatever rules you choose to create and then decide if you’ll abide by them or not, because you don’t have to abide by them, you can break them, your own rules, and that’s fun, in a way, and has the seeds of incoherent bullshit in it too, as if there’s no logic and the story meanders or lurches or otherwise at a fast or slow speed changes direction and is so non-conforming that it doesn’t even make sense to anyone then there is very little point spending the time in working on it. You might have practiced your typing, while you were transcribing those wilfully jumbled thoughts onto the computer screen but that’s about all.

And so my story will have some order about it. It will be told by me, in a coffee shop, to my friend Ronnie (Ronnie may not be a real person or his name could be changed, but that’s fiction). And the story will concern going to the movies and trying to by a choc top and the people behind the counter not realising I was waiting at the choc top section and then when they did realise and I bought one the choc top wasn’t very good to eat because they never are, because pretty much all cinema food isn’t very good to eat, and is that an example of irony or is it some kind of coincidence? Perhaps not irony. No. The film, which was a documentary about cinema food and how lacking in nutrition it is and how indifferent it tastes, was also disappointing, and perhaps that’s an example of irony. “What do you think, Ronnie?” the fictional me will ask in this story. “That’s irony, isn’t it?” And Ronnie won’t answer, because he’s three years old and he hasn’t started misusing the word irony yet.

Published in: on May 7, 2013 at 8:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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