I can't remember much more from the rough drafts of Joe's most recent manuscript. He held a sheet of unlined paper, folded in half, with unjustified type smattered around the page and handwritten notes scribbled round the margins. It was mostly gibberish, which he may or may not have been aware of as he read it to me out loud, following the sentence fragments with his finger.

But don't be fooled; Joe is a journalist (freelance, I presume), memoirist, philosopher, and fiction writer! And he takes great pride in his work.

“What time is it?” he asked me.

“9 o’clock.”
“I’m going down to the internet café at 10 am, when they open.”
Indeed, when I greeted him with my usual “Good morning! How ya doin?” he replied, “Just sitting here waiting for the day to start…” as though he would not recognize his day as having started without first acquiring some breakfast – a bottle of vodka, cigarettes, potato chips, and coffee -  and buying some time at the café.
 “I’ll type some more there. Maybe submit this to a publisher…”

As we sat and talked, I exchanged glances with young children who sometimes watch us curiously as they walk past, their parents hurriedly dragging them behind. I get similar looks when I’m busking, the furrowed brows indicating some mixture of bewilderment, confusion, wonder; but those looks sometimes look angry too! I love to return the looks, furrowing my own eyebrows back at them. Sometimes it frightens them, other times it makes them laugh. A recent case earned me a stuck-out tongue. What hostility!

A pretty young business woman walked up with a white plastic bag, handing it to Joe. He thanked her and she walked off as briskly as she had come. I didn’t bother asking what was in the bag, we were still fixed on the topic of conversation: his writing. He said he’s working on a book about logic and mathematics, grounded in his personal experience. He keeps the bulk of the material in a folder inside his suitcase and jots notes on the yellowed pages of a small black notebook.

To be quite honest, I’m not sure he really is a journalist, I doubt he could ever get something published, and I’m not sure how one can relate mathematics and logic to personal experience in a manner which would interest any for-profit print publishers; nevertheless, I wish him Godspeed in his creative endeavor and I look forward to reading his book!


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