"But the writer is a waiter. That's how he does his work. He's always waiting, like a fisherman gently holding a line, pulling it in slowly, slowly. But this waiting, this is what other people, going at city pace, just might not get. And with a mind toward fitting in to that economic part of the world, the world of grown-ups and responsibilities, well, their instinct, understandably is self-preservation and on those terms obvious and all about you, like real estate signs, how much does that house cost...
"He's quite an anomaly to the economy burning away, possessions, energy concerns, the next best product thing for productivity's sake. He's an idiot, and he acts like it too... invested in archaic practices, archaic jobs, the strange holding power of crafted objects, little figurines even, all very ancient, the pull. Writers can easily be packrats, crows, like Hemingway. Wooden objects give them a strange sort of high. It is all art to him, all of it, to be marveled at, as if all of it were singing its own unique song to him, a knob, the build of a guitar amplifier, the old Polish lady's stone or ironware casserole painted just so, bygone eras, Stonehenges. No wonder I find myself making little rings of cork to mimic the Paleolithic deep into the night, as they hold a fascination placed just so, balanced horizontally on vertical cork on top the slate bar top. Writing, for Hemingway, the physical reenactment, the trout steady in the stream below above the pebbly bottom, riffs like that.
"People won't always get that time-lag, that netherworldly focus as the artist silently ponders or moves his body in relationship to a tree or something, or stops to admire the stones laid at an old portico.
"No wonder he'd feel odd being out and about, in a place where the furnishings are minimal, more people than objects, unless that too is cause for reverie as often it certainly is. People are louder than objects, than bits and pieces of the natural world. But even the most famous of bar-goers, Hemingway, had an obvious fascination for driftwood, pieces holding his attention rapt for hours on end, such that he studied them by slowly burning them in the fireplaces he documented, watching them change their colors, or squeezing orange peel's oil onto a decent warming fire in a Paris loft.
"A lot of this I would attribute to blood type O, on intuition, but perhaps that's neither here nor there in how a writer's built.
"But the waiting... 'you spent five hours doing what?'
"Well, it taketh that long. You're slowly getting to the old magic of something, something forgotten, like the way the snow shawls the trees in Joyce's story. Doesn't make the news, quite. But shine the light on it and that event speaks in a deeper archaic language, hitting us just so, directly.
"Therefore you're able to turn around that negative take, 'there's the poor waiter guy slowly hunching over year after year waiting to live his life even as it passes him by in speeding amounts...' Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, you'll find early on a tribute to the profession, something like the good waiter observing as if from a distant tower, unobtrusively, he means... Maybe the waiter is, subliminally, born into the things of writing, writing as writing is and will always be. Respect for an honest profession, work itself. Maybe there is a natural symbiosis. Hemingway celebrated his guys...
If you can see it, hard as that might be some days, to see it as a respectful profession, then it's easier on you.
There is a strange connection, a mirroring, to the two lines of work, the barman setting up the bar, allowing the conversations of the evening to come forth, waiting it all out, and the writer who gets up, makes his tea, sits down to write however he does for however long he might have with whatever he feels he has to explore or say or write about or pursue emotional truth over. And if you were to understand that innate naturally occurring balance, then you're more content to rest at the calm center point. Both are nervous jobs, encountering familiar and strange.