Dear July, seven // from the cutting room floor

Thursday, 14 July 2016


Because it's been a while, I thought I'd type out some recent 'noticings' from my writing-notebook. (I've written about keeping an observational notebook a few times before on this blog, but specifically: here. Basically, I am a bit nosy but use the excuse of ‘I’m a writer’ to legitimise writing down interesting things strangers are doing in a little notebook. 'For the novel. It's for the novel'):

One // as seen from the library window

Two bald business men in lilac shirts are eating fish and chips in the company car. They’ve opened the doors – wide. And rolled down the windows – all the way. They’ve flicked their ties and lanyards over their shoulders. The larger of the two men smooths a white napkin across the lap of his black suit trousers before tucking in. And so it goes: the rain coming down outside, and the two of them - the air con blowing goose-bumps up their arms - eating chips on a Wednesday afternoon. Life is good.

Update 10 minutes later: It looks as though the larger gentleman also has a packed lunch with him, because he’s just finished eating a banana and a yogurt – the carton of which he’s just crushed in his fist – and there are crusts (from a recently consumed sandwich, one can only assume) sitting in little right-angles in the Tupperware dish he’s just put up on the dashboard. I suspect he’s eating this second lunch to smother suspicion when he returns home because he is, after all, meant to be on that diet ('Did you eat your fruit, Arnold?'). That’s why the windows are open, why the AC is causing an autumnal gust inside. (‘We can get chips if you like, Graham. But Marjorie must never find out...’




Two // trying to describe a man I keep seeing about town

He’s the kind of man who tuts to himself while going about life. Tutting at the laptop screen, rolling his eyes at emails, mentally shaking a fist at the heavens whenever the rain comes on. He’s the kind of man who wears a blazer with his blue plaid shirts (always those plaid shirts. ‘Every day the plaid shirts’). The blazer and the plaid shirt and the jeans, and that hair on top of head like Fezzik from the Princess Bride. 


Three // on the baristas in a coffee shop one morning

I’m writing in a coffee shop today, sitting beside the door to the kitchen marked ‘private’. Staff members keep walking in and out with cups and mugs, so the dishwasher must be in there too. The girl with the messy ponytail who served me peppermint tea has just walked past with a tray full of dirty saucers. 

‘It’s a busy day,’ she’d said earlier, her eyes tired. ‘I'm feeling a bit stressed.’ 



As she got closer to the door – ‘Private’ in gold letters – her colleague – bearded, happy eyes – bounded up the stairs towards her, almost skipping. 

‘Hey!’ he said, coming towards her. 

‘Hi,’ she’d said, her voice quiet, shifting her arms under the tray to balance the weight. 

She leant against the door with her back to push it open and at the same moment he reached out to help her – his hand on the door so near her head that his arm was almost touching her cheek – following her round with the movement of it. She breathed in. As the door swung closed and I heard the clatter of the tray being put down, and I did wonder whether he was going to kiss her in there. She came back out about 10 seconds later, her fingers touching her lips...


(Pictures from an evening walk along the canal last week with a nice friend...) 

5 comments:

  1. I love your letters to July so much. Those businessmen made me giggle. I love how astute your writing is. x

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    1. Thank you so much <3 they also made me laugh haha.

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  2. So happy that you're back and writing on the blog again. I've been loving reading your letters to July! x

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  3. I love reading about these small moments; it's often the most mundane events that produce the most interesting thoughts. This post has been really inspiring, I'd love to try documenting observations like this, they can end up being the start of some wonderful short stories. I know that you're currently working on your novel (I hope it's going well!) and I was wondering if you could write a post about your progress, what you do to get inspiration etc. I'd love to start writing a book but finding the inspiration to simply get started is proving difficult so I'd love to know what your tips/advice would be. Lovely writing as always Melissa!

    Nabeela :)

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