Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reading on Buses

This morning during my commute I saw a university student reading Charles Portis' novel Masters of Atlantis. Nice to see Portis being read, especially by someone who wasn't even born when the book came out. Another guy was reading Michael Chabon's new story collection Werewolves in Their Youth. I was reading Flannery O'Connor's first novel, Wise Blood. A few folks had Kindlenooky things, so I can't report on what they were reading. An older man was doing crosswords at lightning speed, but they were odd crossword puzzles: instead of lists of clues, there were lists of words, grouped by length. I've never seen the like. The man doing the crosswords had a way of stopping what he was doing every few minutes and looking around the bus, moving his head with a quick jerky motion from side to side and staring unblinking at the other passengers. Very much like a bird, I thought. One other older guy was playing mah-jongg on an iPad. I see him almost every morning. His lower lip looks like a fat, veiny worm when he's concentrating, so I try to sit where I can't see his face.

9 comments:

  1. Today was my first day back on the bus since in a few days. The woman across from me was reading, but I don't think anyone else was. That's not nearly as exciting, is it?

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  2. The trick is to write about it as if it was exciting!

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  3. Really, I was just too busy reading being tired to look around. The dog is going to get me into shape! AND--AND! I wrote many thousands of words last week, Bailey. You'd be proud. The end of Cyberlama is in sight!

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  4. I am proud! Hurrah for Cyberlama! I'm now working on Chapter 6 of my own new novel; I've got about 25K words written. Also, hurrah for Peanut! I'm going for a run tonight, without a dog.

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  5. Great post. It makes me miss all the characters I had acquainted myself with when I took the train. But... I don't really miss the actual taking of the train.

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  6. Nicole, I don't mind taking the bus, most of the time. It's good for reading and writing. Though of course the characters on public transportation are more interesting on some routes and times of day than others.

    Davin: I wrote about 500 words of Chapter 6 at lunch! I am very pleased with it. Starting a new chapter is the hardest part of writing a novel for me. This chapter begins with a brief description of one man's exquisite beard.

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  7. I guess the northwest has some culture. The only reading that goes on here is the New York Post, which is just a small step beyond reading the caps for Snapple Facts.

    Scott, you DO make your commute seem interesting. I can almost imagine each of your characters' lives. That's a gift. You should consider writing.

    FYI: I wrote that last line, then deleted it because my humor may not come through online, then I called myself chicken and double-dared myself to post it. I can't back down, so...

    Happy New Year! woohoo

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  8. Charlie: I laughed out loud!

    During the brief time I lived in NYC, I could never read on the trains because the panhandlers were too loud, and the iPod hadn't been invented yet. I've never been on a bus in New York. The next time I visit, I want to ride in a dollar van, because the idea of dollar vans is so perfectly absurd and they could only exist in Manhattan.

    Happy New Year to you, too!

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