Slice of Life Story -Writing In Different Places

I do the majority of my writing nestled comfortably in my study. Surrounded by books and life treasures, I am able to write freely. However, I have been making a conscious effort to write in different locations in recent times. My favourite alternative writing place currently is café ‘Via Boffe’.

To enter this inviting, little diversion, evokes an immediate celebration of the senses. As I step into this authentic replica of the traditional Italian café, the pervasive aroma of coffee meets me at the entrance,. Snatches of conversation float on the air as regular customers come and go. This place is warm and friendly even to the uncertain stranger. Tasty pastries direct from Isla di Capri catch my eye and freshly prepared lunch delights whisper ‘eat me please’ as I seek out a place to commence my writing. As a regular, my coffee arrives without a formal request. There is a comfort is this familiar ritual. I choose to sit at the front window where I can view the street and the passing parade of street characters. Two women guide a third as she parks her monstrous four wheeled vehicle into a parking spot directly outside. This event takes more time than one could imagine, but eventually they succeed in manoeuvring the massive machine into a position almost parallel to the curb. A coffee beckons after all that effort. A beautifully restored Pontiac Parisienne, leisurely drifts past. It’s magnificent ming blue duco dazzles in the early morning sunlight. Dog walkers on a mission, zip past the window, pulled ever onward by panting pooches. Shopkeepers opposite set up the trappings of their street displays. For now, this is my window on the world.

Today, I am thinking about marbles. Memories of marbles. Their patterns and colours and the games we played as children in the school playground. I am thinking of the different types of marbles and their strange names –steelies, blood reels, glassies. I am thinking of the language peculiar to the playing of marbles. Strange words, long forgotten like –fernudgin. Someone would call out ‘No fernudgin!’ This meant no moving your hand forward while playing your shot. The aim of which was to try to knock your opponents marble from the ring drawn in the dirt, surrounding the pool of marbles. Any marble blasted clear of the ring was yours to claim ‘for keeps.’

Why am I thinking about marbles? Well, a recent conversation with some Grade 3 writers about childhood games had me making a list of the games we played as children. One of the students read my list and asked me about playing marbles. The conversation shared with that student got me thinking more deeply about my marble memories.

So today I find myself sitting in my favourite café, sipping a cappucino and thinking about marbles. The seed of an idea planted by a brief conversation with a fellow writer has suddenly surfaced after several days of germination. -That essential rehearsal period for a writing idea has done its work. -And I love it!


  1. You know, I was never into marbles as a kid. Kind of which I knew how to play!

    Speaking of which, ever read "The Marble Champ?"

  2. Thanks for taking me with you Alan. I might not have gotten to marbles without you.
    I tried commenting yesterday and some blog snaffo kept me away. Hopefully I will get on today.
    Glad to see you move to a bit of relation and peaceful reflection

  3. I love this! Fernudgin is such an excellent word. We played at playing marbles when I was a kid. My mom still had hers from when she was a girl and we half-learned some games from her, but mostly we just liked trading them. I still have a few from that time. Thanks for bringing us into your memory.

  4. I felt like I was right there in the cafe with you! Though, I would've been snickering at the woman trying to parallel park.

    Your marble memories remind me of Jerry Spinelli's memoir, Knots in my Yo-Yo String, a book I used when teaching memoir to my low-level 9th graders.

  5. The game of marbles confused me as a kid and I never returned. But I should.
    I like how you captured the essence of writing in a space and how that space can inhabit your writing.


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