Late Night at the Claxton

Life is burning fast, friends. I had an interesting night out, in a writer’s way, last weekend (before St. Patty’s) and I wanted to share.

I was invited to a friend’s birthday party at a rooftop bar (we’ll call it the Claxton)downtown. So, I went. Grabbed a wine (Pinot Grigio) and started mingling. Soon, the conversation turned to my writing (which a few close friends know about). My friend, I*, started asking some questions and congratulated me on getting out the book and the sales figures. Then the questions turned, as they usually do, to the craft of writing. It’s usually just curiosity, but often people are thinking about writing themselves, I think. I’m not really sure what the motivation was in this case. Anyway, the questions went something like this:

I: So, how do you find the time? To write? I mean when I come home from work, I’m exhausted.

DJ: [almost shouting, because it’s a packed bar] I am too. I never write on the weekdays.

I [questioning look]: So…?

DJ: I write on Sunday. If you tried to call me on Sunday afternoon, you’ll never reach me. The phone is off. I’m not watching TV or hanging out with friends. I’m usually sitting at a café, writing. The key is dedicated time. With enough Sundays like that, pretty soon you have a story or even a novel. That’s all it is. Dedicated time. 

We kept talking and then her friend C* showed up and I* introduced us. Somehow, I became Darius, the guy “who wrote a book.” Suddenly and strangely, the conversation stopped, screeched to a halt.

C: [to me] Are you serious?

DJ: [almost shouting] Yeah, I wrote a novel and posted it on the Kindle.

C: A fiction novel?

DJ: Yeah. I’ve sold, like, maybe 200 books.

C: [eyes still bigger, in disbelief] Really?

DJ: Yeah.

C: [turns to I, for confirmation.]

I: [just nods.]

It was an awesome moment. It was the first time I’ve “come out” as a writer to a stranger [friends, you are exempt and have all been very supportive] that the response wasn’t:

a) derisive.

b) humorous.

c) skeptical.

d) sarcastic.

Ah, the little victories in life. It was really great to see the wheels spinning and have someone realize that anybody can write a novel and see it out there in the world. Even people you meet at a bar. I think the “200 sales” really surprised her too. 

I* promised to send C* the link to my Amazon Author Page and the conversation turned to other things. After chatting with a few more people, I took a break and went outside on the rooftop overlooking the city. There were a couple of smokers out there and it was cold enough to see your breathe when you exhaled. I could see the rooftop of the gay bar across the street and the lights heading toward downtown. I went off by myself and just looked out over the city. And I thought:

“What do you want? What do you want from writing? Fans? Money? Awards? Is that it?

Don’t you already have what you really want? Creative freedom? Time and health to write? The ability to get what you wrote out there, unadultered, to the public? Isn’t that, in a sense, victory enough?”

I ran my hand through my hair, took a deep breath and walked back into the Claxton.

Later that night, I decided that I’ve “made it.” Not as a successful writer, but as a writer that is satisfied with what he’s done and proud of the stuff he’s put out there. It’s a small step forward, but maybe the most important. It’s just really good to be there right now.

Until next time, keep reading, keep writing,


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