What gives him his sensibility and his talent is is what makes him susceptible, a wanderer, a follower of exotic outsiders, an alcoholic. The prose digests, but the creature is vulnerable, his intelligence encompassing. There is the need for words, later on, after things have happened, after the going-along with the ride, after the vulnerability. There is shyness, but at the bottom of it all, an incredibly sane man, and one who knows craziness, who makes a pattern of overcoming it.
(That he had phlebitis might suggest he had Type O blood.)
You can't blame a writer for wanting to eat. A restaurant offers a home-cooked meal. But with the job came adrenaline, and people, and with all that the need for calm. The drink is social, a part of conversation. And once you've had the first sip, then you're along for the ride.
And so the writer needs calm, the time alone to write down what he's been through out in society. Working at the bar was a way of finding a niche in society, a way of belonging, a source of decent company and friends. But you need a retreat, away from the invites, away from the dealings. Exercise, a jog, a walk, a bike ride. And of course, writing.
An elderly couple--they've long been coming to the restaurant; he's not able to climb the stairs anymore for the usual Sunday night 8 PM reservation--invite me over for dinner. Of course there's going to be drinking. The relationship is built on a mutual enjoyment of French wine, in particular, the Pinot Noir of Burgundy. A bottle of sparkling California Mumm, and then, a very rare wine open on the table, which turns out to be a Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru, Nicolas Potel, 2005.
Good conversation, talk of dark matter and the Big Bang. Talk of visiting with the Chevalier du Tastevin in 1965 while working with a French company sub-contracting a a cyclotron. A talk of colleagues from her work at NIH, and cancer. After desert, a fruit tart from a good patisserie, a ride home.
And I take a nap on the couch afterward, and then I'm awake, and I open up a Kermit Lynch Beaujolais and watch Lincoln, staying up way too late. As if the whole thing had thrown me off. The chain reaction going into the next day, and then the next night needing also to have some wine, to settle that which had been enjoyed before.
It's the vulnerability, the problem of being too kind almost. In a world in which you can't necessarily be like that. Is that where art comes from? The feminine aspect, in your own hands? The problem of being as if blown around by the wind... Embarrassing.
It is indeed like the Conrad short story, that you are a writer mainly because you really do not understand society, that you blindly follow it, really never knowing what to make of it beyond the most basic things of it. And therefore whatever you may choose to write about is happenstance, random details, and it's a great bit of luck if capturing those catches the larger realities beyond them. Kind of like a Fellini movie.