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How to Spot a Writer at a Party

16 Oct 2011

In case it’s not obvious, I’m anti-social. I often use work or family as an excuse to decline invitations to social events because people think I’m lying when I tell them I’d prefer to relax at home on the weekends. (Not that I have time to relax on the weekends while I’m working on the MBA, but that’s temporary. I hope.) I have very few close friends, but I value those relationships and work hard to maintain them. For instance, although I live in Calgary, I’ve gotten to know the restaurant scene in Toronto very well because I order a lot of food to be delivered to my friend who had to move in with her parents while she’s dealing with cancer. The Peking duck I had delivered last week was a huge hit.

With my buddy, Adam (not his real name), turning forty this week, I prettied myself, bought a bottle of Baileys as big as my head and a bottle of Bacardi Mojito, and went over to his house last night to help him celebrate (or is it commiserate?). Since Adam is the nicest guy in the world and a social butterfly, his house was packed. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know a few of his boot camp buddies, but I can’t bring myself to do more than greet those people. Instead, I, being the writer that I am, headed straight for his wife’s best friend, Hannah (not her real name), because she works for the police department. (Yes, the sad truth is other people are research material for writers.) She’s not an officer, but she works with them and I love getting insights from her about the workings of the police department and its people–and the occasional introduction. She knows almost everybody, including the police chief, the head of the homicide unit, the head of the drug unit, and the mayor, whom I got to meet when he stopped by to wish Adam happy fortieth and deliver a gift. (I’ve met the previous mayor at public functions and charity events, but last night was the first time I got to meet a mayor at a private function…which gave me a chance to note that the current one wears very colorful socks.)

Anyway, I plied Hannah with Baileys and got great tidbits and stories. At one point, I even took out my 11″ MacBook Air (it’s small enough that it’s always with me) to make notes. Even the stuff I didn’t think I would use, I recorded because I might decide to write about a narcotics detective one day. All in all, despite not getting to bed until 5 AM and having a headache telling me I’m too old for late nights, I enjoyed myself.

Next time I see Hannah, I’m going to wrangle an invitation to meet the tact team–and not because she says they are the fittest guys on the force. Really.

So, how do you spot a writer at a party? She’s the one taking notes while everyone else is talking. Or the one drinking alone on the sofa.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 16 Oct 2011 1:22 PM

    “Yes, the sad truth is other people are research material for writers.” That’s so true! I’ve gone to the bar where my brother works and asked bartenders for material since one of our book characters is a bartender and neither I nor my coauthor know anything about the bar scene.

    -Eliabeth

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