ART OF BAR WRITING


SANTA FE, NM

It was just 3 in the afternoon, and I’d returned from a trip to San Diego, and my body craved relaxation, but not in the house, where suitcases remained unpacked, and dishes to be washed.  I walked down to La Fonda Hotel and sat at a table in the woodsy and old leather bar.  The smell of tequila and chips permeates the room, so I flowed with the

ambiance and ordered guacamole and a margarita. Sipping slowly, I took notice of the other people around me; old men in Spanish colonial chairs staring into the hotel activity, the reception desk staff, fudging with room reservations, and the lovely waiter, who bowed each time he came to my table. I hadn’t planned on thinking about the script I’m working on, and just as I was unwinding my limbs from the plane ride and trip from Albuquerque, ideas started boiling up like bubbles about this script. I panicked because I didn’t have my journal, or even a pen.   Ah! the gift shop.. …

” Do you have a writing pad?”

“What kind?”

“With lines.”

” We have a few.”

” I’m in a hurry, anything will do.”

” What’s the rush?”

” I’m a writer,”

” Oh, I get it.” The clerk rushed through the transaction, and as I was about to leave I remembered,  

” And a pen.”

She handed me the one she was writing with, and off I went.

Seated with my tools, I scribbled the thoughts as fast as they entered my still sober self, and when I finished, I took to writing about my surroundings.  Yes, this is a place to bar write. I’ve observed Sam Shepard in several places writing through a meal. He has the distinction of not being bothered, but if he is, he draws a line around his space with his power pupils, one glance, and you’re blown off his planet. Sam does not always  position his power pupils to defer interruption, I’ve seen him put his pen down and engage the stranger. His eyes turn to a likeness of the Mustang horse, wild and waiting for tenderness.

 You have to practice this art, because invariably someone will ask if you are a writer, if you are published, and then they tell you they want to be a writer too.  I don’t have power pupils so I put on my head-set and if necessary place  my phone to the ear, if I am in the middle of a superlative sentence that I cannot stop.  You also have to monitor your drinking, because I’ve learned more than one glass, is not going to read like it did while you were drinking.  

 

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