Cowboys, Pimps, And The Notebooks They Live In

 Once a month it is my privilege to be one of the “babes” over at We do book reviews, and other writerly, bookie (not gambling) stuff. Though on occasion, and I wont say who (Dani) likes to get on Skype, put on those long petticoat pants and lift her big frilly skirt and go “whoopsie!” 

On my posting day, last Tuesday, I began this conversation about  Writers Notebooks. 

 The conversation began here,  For me, it made me realize that I don’t use them as much as I used to, but it stirred a lot of memories.

  Notebooks became something I claimed for myself, and not just for homework, in high school. I would “sketch” or record what I saw, and just make stuff up based on the people, or situations that I witnessed. I stopped doing that somewhere along the road. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with Starbucks. I would still go and write, but I wasn’t drawing on my environment. It’s a matter of character, not whether you had any, but whether you were one. I miss the junkies and the pimps of my early coffee shop days. I miss the cowboy’s talking to the junkies and the pimps. Shoulder to shoulder on mis-matched barstools, each with their feet resting on the steel rims, at the bottom of the stool. One in scuffed up Nocona boots, the other in blindingly polished Stacy Adams wing-tips. and the junkie, with whatever shoes he recently found. Sometimes they matched. Sometimes they didn’t, the matching days were proud days.

The place where all these characters came to life was a diner on the east side of San Antonio. If you spent a couple of hours there late at night and some guy didn’t get into an argument with his Huevos Rancheros then it was an off night.  On occasion someone would brandish a firearm, but no body could afford bullets. It was usually just some guy who had trouble performing with a hooker earlier, and had to man up a bit. He would puff his chest out, someone would show him some respect and we all went back to our pancakes.

  I don’t do that anymore. Of course I’m not that guy anymore either. If I saw a gun now, I’m getting under something! But my post for the Babes did get me thinking about the remembered days of sketches and song. I tend to put most of my notes in my iPhone now, even though I carry a Moleskine in my back pocket. So as Waylon Jennings put it “Maybe it’s time we got back to the basics…”.  So I grabbed a couple of fistfuls  of Composition Notebooks for .50 each (Tis the season you know.) 

 It didn’t take long for the stories show themselves. I approached an intersection where there was a woman holding a cardboard sign. She was dancing, and dancing well I must admit. I suspected that she probably once had, or perhaps still had a career in the dancing arts. Probably the exotic kind. She walked up the line of cars, to as many views as she could get before the light turned and the cars would roll on past her. She would stop at one from time to time. I couldn’t be sure whether she stopped because she saw merciful eyes, or the other kind of eyes that she has seen all too often, and usually gave her money as well.

The light turned green and as I slowly drove by, I looked at her and smiled, then read her sign. In big black ink it read “I was wrong.”   


 There are stories everywhere.

Published in: on September 4, 2012 at 5:14 PM  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Cowboys and pimps! Yes! These are the stories I’ve been waiting to hear. Keep ’em coming, friend. Also, it’s too hot to wear petticoat pants so next time the big frilly skirt comes up, WATCH OUT, now. 😉

  2. Indeed, there are stories everywhere. And what I so enjoy about yours is how you ever-so-gently peel back layers to reveal something human and profound, and you do it in just a few paragraphs, and often in a single sentence.

    Wonderful post, Mark!

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