Today, I said goodbye to my colleagues at 1pm. They all thought I’d taken the afternoon off to hit the stores for some Christmas shopping. I took the city bound train.
At 2pm, I entered a hotel near Champs Elysées, part of the network of discreet, deluxe hotels that rent out spaces in their breakfast rooms for freelancers. I got the wifi code, but didn’t want to use it first thing because I wanted to stay focus.
I checked a last time (umpteenth time) my novella and adjusted the margins yet again. I checked the statistics (word count is not used in France, they all require the signs number including spaces), the cover page. I started on a simple cover letter. A little past 3, I was done. Then I went on to work on another story. It was deliciously quiet, and stylish, with a bit of background music, but no chatting people.
At 4pm, I left the hotel. The hotel people didn’t say I was a weirdo for coming to a hotel to work on my computer. I looked legit.
At 5pm, I was at the print shop. I asked for 2 copies of the manuscript, printed on one side only and spiral-bounded (talk about wasteful, old-fashioned traditions). That’s what publishing houses expect in France, I’ve been told. The print shop people didn’t say I was a weirdo for printing out my novella. I looked legit.
At 5.30pm, I was at the post office. I got the manuscript and the cover letter into the box, and the post office people didn’t say anything. They have replaced the post office people with machines anyway, and in this season people are queuing up to the sidewalk outside the post office, so I looked totally legit.
It’s 6pm and I’m home. I haven’t done much for Christmas shopping, but whatever the outcome one goal for this year has just been crossed off the list – and it… feels… good.