Continued from The Writer (Part 1) and TheWriter (Part 2)
The writers were gathered at a pub outside the walls of the school.
They wanted a different venue from the critics who always got together in the school.
Therefore the writers always gathered outside the school.
But then, there were two different kinds of writers.
The ones who sold their books and the ones who didn’t.
The ones who sold their books after writing them were known as genre writers. These were inside the pub.
The ones who never sold their books were called literary writers.
These only bought each others books from display tables outside reading sessions.
These literary writers were in the habit of gathering at a bookstore in town earlier. But since the bookstore could not sell books it went out of business.
The literary writers therefore gathered at an open air theatre outside both the school and the pub now to get away from both the critics and the genre writers.
A reading was going on.
Three people were gathered on a raised platform.
The crowd on the seats around seemed to be in their best dress and somewhat best behaviour.
Meaning those that were independently wealthy had bought evening dresses and coats that cost three times the total books they had ever sold.
Those that were merely making ends meet had gone to the thrift store that day to check if anything was available for the evening.
They said they liked to practice thrift as a culture.
Amongst the latter were groups of rather impoverished graduate students who were always graduate students for as far back as they could remember and for as long as they could see forward into the future.
The novel was always coming, drafted, re-drafted and then re-written again.
All were rather dismissive of the genre writers who wrote to sell books.
There were some young men and women on the back seats with note paper intently taking notes.
Their hoodies, and on occasion rather casual cotton PJ’s revealed they were somewhat different from the rest of the crowd.
I was rather curious and with the researcher’s interest, I quickly enquired.
“That’s my teacher in the front row. If I present a 500 word report of the reading, I get to make up my C- in my argument synthesis paper in my English 101 class,” said one young man as he took notes laboriously.
“I’m in engineering. I took a creative writing class to meet girls. Getting extra credit just for sitting here is kind of cool.”
Another undergraduate. He had missed his evening gym workout for this.
The man on the stage was reading from a sheaf of paper which was his latest chapbook about a cockroach on his typewriter.
He seemed rather moved by his rhythm.
“The legs go up and down, up and down, up and down” he read rather emotionally in the balmy night air. “I marvel at each hair, their touch on the keys, slipping in and out and in and out of my words.”
Some people were sipping their wine and concentrating hard. A few nodded their heads in unison in rapture.
Apparently he was a poet.
No, he was the poet.
When cockroach man got down from his pedestal, there was a minor stampede near the stage.
He was the celebrity.
He had only agreed to come so far out only because they had agreed to send him business class tickets by air.
Too many beautiful young women, clearly graduate students, wanted to be part of the group taking him out to dinner.
The impoverished variety was the majority.
Since nobody invited me, I proceeded to the pub where the genre writers were gathered.
I was totally astounded by the number of people in the pub.
They were better suited to preserve the endangered species of writers than all the other categories I had encountered so far combined.
Except for one small matter.
Although they all had human shapes, they were all vampires and werewolves and centaurs in human form. Only some belonged to international cults guarding ancient relics or busy cupids dreaming up exotic locales for their books.
Outside this mythical town I delineated, in Writers (Part 1) , where the graduate students inhabited the attic, the critics inhabited the library, the literary writers inhabited fast disappearing bookstores, the rest could be found.
They had come out of their cocoons some time ago but still looked rather half-moulted. Many had day jobs as academics teaching how to write how to books, others were promoting products on social media, and yet others were looking for freelancing jobs.
But they still loved writing and so if the researcher wanted to find them, they had to go on the internet.
On them, a whole new treatise was just waiting to be written.