Live blogging - kind of, mostly just not writing for NaNoWriMo - from Kent Street

I've been doing NaNoWriMo since 2002. I've never completed 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. Well: maybe I've written 50,000 words in November but it's not been all fiction and it's not been all in my NaNoWriMo novel. I know myself well enough to know that I procrastinate - so the offshoot of me wanting to write a 50,000 word novel will be:

  • a 15,000 word half novel
  • 14 blog (unpublished) posts
  • 2 screen plays
  • 12 songs (lyrics only)
  • 10 limmericks (all with the word "nantucket" in them)
  • 2 jokes
  • and a shopping list (which I lost)

not to mention:

  • cataloguing iTunes music
  • filing photographs
  • seaching for long dead jpgs for archives
  • devising summer dips and rubs lists
  • concocting eDinners and other NaNoWriMo avoiding activities

My mind will fire in every direction but that which hits the specified target.

For instance: here I am, sat at Kent Street, plugged into a power socket with my second pint of Carlton typing and singing along to the sounds of 50s music, watching the webcam of those drinking out on the street and generally not adding to my novel's word count.

Okay here comes the justificaiton: I didn't work today and instead wrote a few thousand words this morning but no where near what I could have achieved if I'd really put my heart into it. Sometime around 11am my inner voice said "what the hell are you doing? who the hell cares if you never finish a novel no one will ever read??" and then John Green's voice said "JUST FINISH YOUR DAMNED NOVEL!'

So here I am in a bar typing into the software that doesn't contain my novel. Because, well, I'm me.

Let me tell you about Kent Street.

It's a small bar, with a couple of levels. Maybe once it was a house but today it is a bar. There are tables out the front on the pavement, and booths under the awning. By far there are more smokers than non-smokers who frequent Kent Street. They are cool smokers too. Not suits huddled together taking their 10 minute smoke break - these are flamboyant, story-telling, rastar-wearing, boufant sporting, converse laced cool folk who roll their own and regale till the cows come home.

The walls of the awned area are painted in blackboard paint and there are menus and messages on the walls. "WE LOVE JUGS" is scrawled under the bar price list. Chalked logos of MadMan spells the nature of Kent Street's Monday night movie night (tonight folks TONIGHT!) I can't see from here which movie is playing tonight because a very interesting young man with a twead cap is blocking my view.

and that's okay.

One of my favourite bar tenders has just left. He bumped his trickster bike down the stairs between the entrance seating area and the bar area and left. He said good bye - he's very polite if a little saucy - with hoots from the regular girls at the bar for something he said as he left.


Outside is lovely woman who sometimes tends the bar. Her name is Anne. Apart from working here from time to time, she drinks here too. One of the endearing wonderfulnesses of this place are the familiar faces - and to some, I am one too. Though mostly I am invisible.

So you've arrived at Kent Street on Smith Street and you're thinking it's a busy bar because outside all the tables are full and all the smokers are smoking and there can't be any room inside, surely? You may be right, or you may be incorrect. Because mostly smokers frequent this joint, it often appears to be packed to the gunnells but do come in (slide the door people, there's an arrow instructing you as to which way) there may well be a seat or two inside for the rare breed of non-smoker, Kent Street fan.

Walk up to the stairs and wait your turn at the bar. They have a good selection of wines, spirits and beers in bottles and on tap. You can buy a bag of crisps or a Portugese Tart, or a yo-yo biscuit - if you're really smart, and they have bread, you can order a jaffle - that's Australease for "toasted sandwich".

They really are good.

But If you fancy more, you can have more. Kent Street isn't precious. If you fancy Japanese, duck next door to Peko Peko and order something to eat. Let them know you're in Kent Street and they'll drop it next door. Or, if pizza is more your thing, Pizza Capars will deliver whatever is on their menu, free of charge. You can always just bring your kebab or whatever you've found on the street - Kent STreet is very relaxed like that. None of this "you must purchase food on premise" nonsense. Tim just wants you to be comfortable.

He's good like that.

Tim is the owner. Well he was last time I talked to him. I hope he still is - I see him from time to time coming into the bar so maybe he still has a vested interest. You see, Kent Street seems to be popular and profitable these days. I don't want to put money in Tim's mouth but it's more of a hive of activity than it's ever been before. I mean it's a Monday night and there are about 16 people here. Used to be I was the ONLY person here. 16 people drinking, one staff serving is a good ratio, I would think.

The other cool thing about Kent Street is that upstairs there are artists. There is a studio space and half a dozen or so people rent it. They produce jewelery and paintings, words and digitised images. Tim swaps out the artwork here at Kent STreet fairly regularly and most work is for sale.

It's an interesting, relaxing, familiar place.

I think you'd like it.

waiting for a chess player

And then there's this other breed of Kent Street frequenter: the chess player. One just came into the bar and lifted the portable chess set, making sure all the pieces were accounted for and had gone out to one of the street tables to play. You don't have to play chess to play a game at Kent Street - they have all manner of games including Monopoly, draughts and Connect Four. There are several packs of cards if that's your thing, and Backgammon and other such wonderful time passers.

FYI: the chess guy is French, he's just walked back inside with the chess set, telling someone on the other end of his iPhone that "I'll see you when you get here." so I guess she's late.

Later that same evening: the 'she' was a 'he' and of course he was: who ever heard of a woman playing chess. Excuse me while I duck the slings and arrows of feminist fortune.

It's that time of the evening where I ought to be thinking of dinner to offput, somewhat, the condition that is the result of beer on an empty stomach. I asked the dude at the bar about jaffles and he suggested he had sent a scout out for bread but considering no one has come into this bar for more than half an hour and the supermarket is 2 minutes up the road I suggest I've been fobbed by staff who do not like making jaffles. My hands are up and out in a defense way to say I'm not accusing anyone of anything but I do know that for many of the people who work here, making me dinner is not high on their bucket list. So I am thinking maybe a lemongrass udon thingie from PekoPeko is in order. Unless of course, I get a major dose of the sensibles and just pack up my shit and go home for tomatoes on toast or something.

PS: have you ever noticed that small women make a tremendous noise when walking up stairs? I'm a heavy girl and I make sure I don't make noise when moving. Maybe thin girls are thin because (in part) they use more energy than they need when doing everyday things like mounting (hehe I said 'mounting') stairs.

PPS: guys are really different around girls they want to sleep with but haven't yet. For a start, they're attentive. They say things like "tell me what you think" and "do you feel the same way?" and "that's enough about me, tell me all about you!" - I only know this because I hear them in bars and cafes. I've never heard it first-hand, myself. She's a pretty blonde girl, quite accessible and in his league - I think he'll do okay because he's not being clingy, or possessive; he's pretending to listen and she'll like that about him. She was late, you know. He'd been here a while before she arrived. Keen, one might say. He saw her coming into view, and before she even opened the door he was on his feet to greet her. She probably didn't even notice. They have a distance between them - it's close, but not too close - like friends. So she's chatty, and he's just watching her speak. Watching her mouth move. Nodding and hmming enough to keep her talking. He has beer. She has coffee - maybe she's not interested afterall. Maybe.

Posting this because it occurs to me I'm "live blogging" and will add as the evening continues.... STAY TUNED! do yourself a favour and have an early night.