Night Falls on Writersville.

As night gathers, I go for a walk over the river and look back to see lights in the windows of my fellow scribes, returned from a day on the farm somewhere, and happily scribbling.
I thought of some naff metaphor, like a hive of pens hoarding up words for the coming winter – see what I mean? Naff.
But there they are – those at least with the river view – chilling out after the hot blast of a day on the burning plains of Iowa. Some of us on the other side refer to our view as “The Prison Yard”, as we look out onto the back of the building and some structure where starlings roost.
It’s been a quiet day for me, getting some poems together for a reading and keeping to myself a bit. I managed to figure out how to print in the library – vast shelves of books, way more than Canterbury – so that was a plus. Do you know, they still put a date stamp in the books, even after checking them out electronically? Charming.
It reminds me of Prague in 1993 when they still had two people at a time on the counters in the bookshops: one to sell you the book, the other to wrap it in paper and tie it with string: ah, socialism.
Returning in 1999, a mere six years later, one bookseller, plastic bags: where did the other one go? Ah, that is the question that rings through the 1990s: from job to dole queue, if you are lucky.
Obama will be in town on Friday:Iowa is some kind of bell weather state, and he’s here a lot. The University community is – shock jocks, wash your ears, and pray to Fox News – liberal, mostly. I like to walk around humming “socialism, socialism” to myself just to plug into the zeitgeist.
I’m the only Anglophone here it seems – all the others are second language speakers of English, the groups lingua franca. The Arabic speakers often group together, as do the Russian speakers and the Spanish speakers – not to withdraw, but to give their brains a rest. Chinese and Korean too. It’s a very interesting experiment.
We have a Slovak, Jana, she can speak German (Austria is just over the border), Czech and German. How impoverished we are linguistically, we monoglot Pakeha. There is nobody to speak Maori to, but that’s not so very different at home, is it? Is it? I like hearing the babble of Babel – it’s birdsong to my ears.


About paparoa

Writer and researcher.
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2 Responses to Night Falls on Writersville.

  1. jeanetteking says:

    The building kind of looks a bit like our now demolished old railway station in Christchurch (minus the clock tower of course) …

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