I mentioned at the start of Story 7 that I was going to try really hard to actually point out all the little steps along the way that lead up to a story. So far there has been a lot of nothing. I mentioned casually that I had the clacking of billiard balls and an old guy. That was last Thursday. Over the course of the weekend I’ve managed to flesh out a lot more of the story, and I have to tell you that the process really wasn’t that interesting.
I basically sat at my computer for large parts of Saturday and Sunday. And I typed here and there. I’ve been over this, but I’ll say it again because it keeps on proving true. Once you start making choices you have to let yourself follow those choices. That’s how I do it, anyway. I made a couple of choices: this old guy was going to be watching pool/billiards, not playing it. And he wasn’t watching anywhere particularly nice. In other words, he wasn’t in a red velvet billiard room in some eighteen-nineties mansion. He was in a pool hall. And he was sitting there, alone, watching pool. It all started flowing from there. I will mention that I also start drawing on anything and everything that’s stored in my head. In this case, for some reason, mainly the language I was using to describe everything I think, a thought I had a few years ago popped into my head.
I was at The Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York and, as always, I was completly overwhelmed in an hour. I had what I like to call “museum-head,” which is what happens when you spend too long in a museum and your head feels like it’s filled with cotton. And I started wondering what poeple who work in a museum must feel like. They have to have museum-head all the time. As chance would have it, I didn’t start pondering the dealers or collectors or curators or whatevers that would be in heaven in this place surrounded by the thing they love most. Instead I started thinking about the security guards. I mean, they’re basically Rent-A-Cops, they could just as easily have wound up in a mall somewhere, but no, they’re standing there in the middle of The Met. What’s it like when these guys go home from work? It might not be too crazy, but it’s certainly different. Anyway, I gave my old guy that job and a dead wife and not so great coping skills and the story started to come together.
Again, it’s not that interesting when I tell it like that…I’m learning that there’s also a very good reason that I opt to write a story about it instead.