Monday 7 April 2014

Oh, Freedom by Andrew McCallum Crawford - published in B O D Y

I do all of my writing in the local cafeneio. I call it the Caff, athough no one else does, not as far as I know. It's strange how stories come at you. You might be reading a newspaper, or walking down the street, or doing one of a million other things. But when inspiration comes calling, you grab it. That is the first rule. After that, it is entirely up to you, the writer, to make something of it.

Oh, Freedom

She gave me money, just like every Friday. She did it without a word, as if it was – what do you call it – a transaction, as if she was buying something. It had nothing to do with pity, or love. She wanted me out of the house so her friends could come round, eyeliner this time, they were bringing samples. Eleftheria was in a buying mood. She called Fridays ‘Ladies’ Night’, arranged over the internet, the kids had already been packed off to their granny’s. I said nothing. Things had been tight since I got laid off. Two weeks notice, no compensation. And now that my stamps had run out there was no dole. We were living off the pension her father got.

You can read the complete story in B O D Y


  1. Never really got the whole writing in cafés thing. I’ll jot down anything anywhere—mind you it’s been a while since I got a good idea out of doors—but I’ll wait until I get home to do something with it. For years I wanted my own office which I now have and a proper office it is too and not a cupboard masquerading as an office but I don’t do much in there these days bar read and that’s only when Carrie’s napping; when she’s up I’ll sit with her in the living room. I think I’d find working in a café distracting. Carrie doesn’t distract me. She sits at her laptop and does her thing and I sit at mine and do mine. I did get one good idea in a café on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. There were twin girls at the next table not talking to each other—glorious red hair the two of them—and then they paid and left. How could they not end up in a story?

    I read your story. Nice wee character study. Felt I might’ve been missing something in the conversation but I also suspect it’s one of those conversations where they say one thing and mean something else entirely.

    I always find stories that mention euros a wee bit odd. They’ve been around for over a decade now but I still think of the euro as some kind of play money. I’ve only had to handle them once—the weekend Carrie and I spent in Dublin back in 2004—and I struggled with the sheer number of coins. I don’t think we’ll have the euro here in Scotland even if we split with England. I hope not. I still think in old money.

  2. You're lucky having an office, Jim. I actually went as far as looking for a place a few years ago - then the bottom fell out of everything over here. It was a good job I didn't rent anything. The Caff does for me. Noise isn't really a problem - if I'm writing something I manage to block everything else out. It isn't hard.

    I'm in the Caff right now, writing this. Just read over a first draft of something I wrote a few days ago. You know how sometimes an idea gets into your head like a hook? Anyway, it turns out that the first draft is dire. Too in yer face. I might manage to salvage a couple of lines, but the rest of the 500 words will be hitting the road. The idea, the hook, is still there, though. No rush.