Monday, February 23, 2009

Overheard on a London Bus

One of the joys of being in England is that I can eavesdrop without effort, since everyone is speaking my native tongue. I sat on the bus tonight, listening to a young couple behind me.

She was talking, in a lovely Scottish accent, about just how hard she works, how she often gets up before 5am to get to the office, and that she is so invested in her job that she "hasn't read a novel all year".

What a thrill, I thought from the seat in front - someone bemoaning the fact that her life is so busy she hasn't had a chance to read!

But then I was immediately seized by the urge to turn around and say, "What about short stories? You've got time for short stories!" and to thrust a Short Review postcard into her hand.

Luckily, I restrained myself. I remembered that the British - well, Londoners, really - don't expect strangers to butt into their conversations, and that my behaviour might have been seen as a form of insanity. So I said nothing. A missed opportunity? If you're out there, woman from the number 91 to Crouch End, read a short story!


Anonymous said...

You are so right! I have tried to think of guerilla tactics for getting short stories on buses and trains as they are the perfect space for them. Imagine the joy busy commuters would find in escaping into a short story on the morning commute, without having to worry about committing to a novel. I think you should have thrust that postcard in her face! Keep championing the cause.


Tania Hershman said...

Oh Emily, now I regret not having done it! Guerrilla tactics are right, see this earlier post where we were mulling about how we could get short stories everywhere...! Let's get guerilla!

Laura Solomon said...

short stories perfect for commuting/stressed out people (i.e. most of London). I was so damn tired the whole time I was in London I couldn't write a novel (ok I managed one) and decided short stories were all I could fit in.

Sarah Hilary said...

I didn't know you were in England, Tania! I love the bus conversation - wonderful. I shall hope to hear something as sensible on the train to Paddington this morning (fat chance!).

Tania Hershman said...

Laura, it is such a good idea, isn't it. How do we spread the word? Maybe I should carry short stories with me when I am out this week?

Sarah - I am here for the event I did at Jewish Book Week on Sunday, here for another 4 days. So sorry I didn't mention it, I thought I put something on the WriteWords group. My mind isn't working properly!