Friday, March 26, 2010

Coffee Klatsch

On Friday mornings around 8ish, my friend Ahna and I get together for coffee and conver- sation. Decaf or herb tea for her, seriously black coffee for me, and topics ranging from Lego to life as a freelancer.

This morning she arrived with her two small notebooks, her pack of sumptuous fine-point pens, and a copy of a now-defunct magazine. I came in with my current read and two children’s books to return to her. We both have the same definition of ‘8ish’ so we come comfortably prepared to wait for each other as though we’ve been ‘klatsching’ for a long time.

Ahna, a South Dakota girl several years my junior, came to the prairie via Los Angeles where she worked as a television and movie set designer. Her husband works at the university here, and she teaches parttime as an adjunct at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, two hours away.

In the same breath as “Hello,” she said , “Blog about this. Does it mean I don’t exist if I don’t blog? And if I don’t want to blog, does it mean I don’t want to exist?”

I can quote her verbatim because I jotted her words down on a napkin after borrowing one of her cool pens. Why former reporter/ novelist me travels without pen and paper and always relies on napkins and the kindness of others, I’ll never know.

(Aside to all my former journalism students, I had to ask her to repeat what she said.)

It’s been decades since high school and a sweet deal of an independent study on Camus since I’ve given much thought to existentialism.

My response was to tell her she doesn’t have to blog if she doesn’t want to, and I only started to try out a brand new (for me) form of writing. To be brutally frank, I think being obsessed with writing about oneself is well, obsessive. On the other hand, many bloggers write about numerous topics of interest to others. That sense of shared community is uplifting and enriching.

That’s as far as we got. The line at the counter dwindled, she went to get her drink, and we moved on to other topics.

Now, however, I’m curious about what precipitated her comments. Ahna, a voracious reader like me, is an incredible visual artist. I love when we talk about the creative process and what it entails for each our crafts. She’s got me thinking visually.

But I failed reporting 101 today by not asking her any follow-up questions.

Next week…. Maybe I’ll even dig up a pen of my own.