When I was in a coffee shop with my friend a couple of days after the recent Zitebooks launch, she said, ‘Why don’t you write a story about a café?’
People who know I write always say that kind of thing. ‘Why don’t you write about sitting on the train station when the train is delayed? Why don’t you write about being stuck in a lift?’
I have even had, ‘Why don’t you write about me?’
No matter how often I say it, they don’t hear me when I say I can’t write like that. I have rarely written successfully to order. I have to see something, hear something, and I will know immediately that there is a story there.
But the whole subject of cafés is interesting. I am from a café culture family. My children and I love cafés. And we know it comes from my mother.
The mother in Neverland likes cafés. She does not like being indoors and does not like cooking.
Gladys is, I guess, partly sketched from observations about my mother. I have been asked if Neverland is my childhood. No. It was certainly not written with that in mind.
I realise though, that it could be said to be informed by my childhood. Like my mother, Gladys does not like domesticity. And a café is a treat.
So I suppose when my friend says, ‘Why don’t you write about a café?’ I should say, ‘I already have.’