21st Century Brontë #19 by Brontë Bettencourt
Where I Write
Whenever I need to write, I go to this coffee shop named Vespr. The lighting is dim enough to give me the illusion of privacy, but the ambient noise of the patrons keeps me focused. I can’t focus in complete silence. At the very minimum I need to have music on. The music helps hone in on the words best needed to convey my thoughts, or else I get distracted on all the updates that I receive on Facebook, Tumblr, and other forms of social media.
My friend Grant is currently working on his Masters in Sociology. He taught me about the Dramaturgy theory, which suggests that our personas are dependent on who we’re performing for, via the front stage. On this stage we portray ourselves as characters determined by our audience, be it friends, family members, or coworkers. On the other hand, there also exists a backstage, a private area where we’re not required to fulfill a role. An example of this is a home, more specifically a bedroom. Here we can relax, and prepare for the next role on the theoretical front stage.
To me it made sense to create a frontstage, work mentality at Vespr, since I am there solely to accomplish a goal. By getting dressed, leaving the comfort of my home, and spending money on an extraneous good that I didn’t need, I’m applying a slight pressure towards productivity. And once I am home, I can change into a T-shirt and pajama bottoms, and sprawl out on my bed backstage.
This week I’m actually writing from my Mom’s place very close to where I live. My friend Onyx moved out from Mom’s place this past weekend, after having rented one of the rooms for about two years. Even though I don’t live in this house, Onyx living just a couple doors down helped my writing.
Without Onyx’s videogames blaring through his speakers, or his consistent attempts to strike up a conversation, the house is quiet. The radio plays for my Mom’s dog during work hours, and I have YouTube videos cycling to generate noise. But the space is too large to fill with white noise, which did feel lonely at first. On the other hand, the silence is strangely nostalgic.
The house has returned to the same state that I spent countless hours listening to my own voice as I compulsively relayed the stories Rugrats and Spongebob Squarepants reruns to Grandpa. As I got older, I transitioned to verbal and literate roleplaying, generating complex scenarios for the Anime that my friends and I obsessed over. This drive to tell stories existed before caffeine became my blood, and definitely before I had a car to drive to a front stage location.
Instead, I used the back stage location to channel uncensored emotions. The silence creates a desperation to generate ideas that distract from the silence.
On that note, I discovered that I also like to write in bathrooms. Usually, people don’t disturb you if you’re in the bathroom. My bathrooms are are well maintained. I make sure to keep mine stocked with fluffy mats so I can sit under the soft lighting and type away on my phone. And again, for obvious reasons, no one asks why I’m in there for hours, though I will get the occasional “are you okay?”
I realized in this past weekend, that the reason that I started out writing was to build a connection between myself and the reader. I wanted to convey the loudness of my emotions through the quiet medium of written words. Maybe going to coffee shops to maintain a connection with noise might be hampering my ability to listen to the story that is there.
On May 1st, Anne Rice posted this quote to her Facebook page:
“Be brave. Go where the pain is; go where the pleasure is… What saves me is that some people always do get my work.”
If the quiet is where the story is then it’s my job to oblige.
Brontë Bettencourt (Episode 34) graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in English Creative Writing. When she’s not writing or working, she is a full time Dungeon Master and Youtube connoisseur.