nevada city vagawriting

26 May 2012 § Leave a comment

I should just write a travel book. If Theroux and Chatwin could do it, why not Talbot? I would be the young opportunistic punk who took his youth to write something he thought extraordinary to become famous.

I have stories. And I keep hearing that if one doesn’t share the knowledge he gains over the course of his life, then his life is a waste of existence; so I might at well share them.

I wrote at a table outside an ice cream shop I bought no ice cream from, waiting for Heather to forgive me for entrancing myself in a bookshop in the middle of her tour of her first home away from Calgary. She had showed me a writer’s magazine featuring workshops and conferences presumably as motivation for my quest to make writing more of a career than a lifestyle.

I ignored her outright.

Not on purpose; had she brought me a copy of Rolling Stone, or a Twain title I didn’t own, I would have surely given her my full and happy attention. But I avoid writing progress like I do tourist gift shops in big cities. I buy my postcards at grocery stores.

Anyway, noticing that I wasn’t interested in her offer, she trailed off (which I felt bad for later), and I dove back into the self-deprecating-yet-elitist philosophy of the old traveler Theroux:

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”

– from ‘Ghost Train to the Eastern Star’

When I finally crawled out of my craving to hop on a train and returned the book to the shelf, she was gone.

I walked outside and sat down across the street, feet barely in the sun, feeling the late morning breeze wafting down Broad St., and waited for my beloved to find me.

Nevada City pines for its past while the cars parked on its sidestreets grow sleeker and more expensive. Chocolate shops, wine tasting rooms, art galleries, fine restaurants, and yes, many wood-paneled, grainscented bookshops live where businesses always have – in the perspectives of car hubs and under the fingers of curious children.

I was beginning, in fact, to be a fine day for business, 10 a.m. and bustling under the springwarm sun, when a man wearing thick-lens glasses walked out of the The Gray Goose, which according to the sign is where the margins between the sublime and the ridiculous live, tapped the overhead sign in some feat of accomplishment, perhaps for being tall. His whole six-foot figure dressed in greyscale slop, but he made and kept eye contact with yours truly until a breath later he asked “Want to hear a bad joke?”

I replied out of automatic curiosity – “I’d love to hear your bad joke!”

“What’s the difference,” he asked, “between Mick Jagger, and a Scot – you know, someone from Scotland?”

He gave me no time to answer, or think.

“Mick says ‘You! Get off my cloud,’ he sing-songed the Rolling Stone lyric for me, off-key. “And a Scot says ‘McCloud! Get off my ewe!”

The latter accent was a bad Mel Gibson as William Wallace impression, but I laughed anyway, and tried to remember the difference between an ewe and an emu.

By the time I admitted to myself that I didn’t know, the man had disappeared, my company replaced by Heather walking out of the ice cream shop. The perfect reason for me to put down my pen. Distractions abound on mountainperfect days, and no one has time for writing then.


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