On Monday I was inspired by a library. On Tuesday, by a novice author.

Fresh resolutions came to me one wet Monday morning like the floods of gym goers after a weekend splurges. My calling? To revise a tired routine from long days spent at my home computer, serious procrastination to overcome. Aha! I declared, try a new venue. The Richmond Library, a perfect place to ramp it up and retrieve lost momentum on my novel project. Creation is bound to bounce back without the distractions of e mails, housework and banter from well-meaning offspring.  

It’ Covid Level 2. I’d negotiate the cordoned-off, clearly marked yellow-taped dual entrance/exit, the friendly, masked, welcome-party of one, who behind her computer screen is in charge of monitoring visitor numbers. I finally venture into the comforting folds of a community centre. I’m armed with my original novel outline/proposal, paper, and pen. A window seat beckons, so with coffee in hand, from the charming, unassuming French barista, I set to work. A lunch date with a friend is my deadline to maintain motivation and momentum, (incidentally I’d forgotten my friend’s birthday was on the same day). It’s lucky that good friends forgive such momentary lapses of memory.

Like a good procrastinator, I digress… I’m fully engaged within the good vibes of this changed workspace, then I recall an article offering Tips For Writers, from writers, in The Guardian. One piece of advice was to ‘never write in public.’ Why ever not, I ask myself, embracing a revitalised love affair with the characters I’d thought may have abandoned me, or me, them.

I grab a book, The Lost Daughter, off the shelf, written by a favourite author – Elena Ferrante – to consult for style stimulus. I issue the book and move from the café to the newspaper reading section. My home distractions have now been replaced by new distractions; noisier clientele, a television broadcasting the BBC channel behind me, and an efficient Level 2 Covid-conscious librarian cleaning the table and PC surfaces with vigour. I’m absorbed by people-watching, including a man speaking loudly on his phone. I’m guessing by the dialogue that he’s speaking to WINZ. A woman nibbles on her lunch across from me and a chap is in the corner chair, as if this was his home. All this provides me with fodder for further writing projects…

Then a library staff member wanders over to remind me that due to Level 2 restrictions I need to limit my time in the library.

It’s fortunate that it’s almost time to meet my lunch date.

The library resembles nothing to the libraries of old, where as a child, my memories are of bespectacled, humourless women with index fingers pressed to their lips telling me to ‘Ssshhhh.’

The library has become a hub with which to gather, a place of comfort and refuge for the entire community.

My enthusiasm for this change of scene has not been diminished, despite the distractions, and the Covid restrictions. I’ll be back.


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