A hearty We Are Chester welcome to aspiring author and freelance journalist Richard Griffiths, who blogs here about his quest to find literary inspiration in the heart of our city. Writer’s block is no joke – and it’s inspiring to hear how different writers manage to overcome it and rediscover that creative spark. Over to you Richard.
I recently met up with some friends for lunch in Chester. The walled city always provides me with the dichotomy of bookshops (the unpublished writer’s opportunity to check out how it should be done) and the ability to lose myself in the café culture of the city, to actually practise my craft of writing in peace.
Having feasted and filled, I bade farewell to my companions, and headed off to find a corner to open both my notebook and my mind, looking for those elusive ideas upon which to base a future short story or blog post.
It was then I came across Urbano 32 on Bridge Street, which describes itself as a pizza restaurant, bar and meeting place. It was mid afternoon, so I enjoyed the conversations of the last of the lunchtime diners, prior to those looking to dine before the evening rush arrived.
As such, I could have the choice of tables, always the ‘smugglers’ gold’ of those who need to place themselves strategically, in order to ‘feel the words’.
Having been greeted by the friendliest of front of house, I took my chosen seat and ordered a glass of an agreeable mid afternoon red wine – one to inspire the mind and relax the weariest of bones.
As I sat there, wondering what I could possibly draw inspiration from, I slipped into the warm, enveloping arms of my drink, listening to the conversations around me, all about travel and tales of faraway places. But it was not these utterances that inspired me: strangely, it was the furniture right before me.
The bar was formed of a cupboard of many drawers. Now I would never describe myself as an ‘imaginary writer’ – I do not envisage myself writing tales of fantastical adventures, but searching around for inspiration, I immediately found my mind wondering what was inside each drawer.
And so my imagination unexpectedly took flight. This would be the story of a man who lived in a house with a cupboard of 21 drawers, each night opening one drawer after another.
Each drawer offers some objects which may at first be confusing and bewildering, but as he falls asleep on the sofa, and the nights progress, they help unlock puzzle after puzzle, until he gets to the 21st night where he opens the final drawer.
I won’t give away my big idea, suffice to say that an enjoyable, peaceful and most inspiring hour spent in this Chester hideaway spawned something, from where I do not know, and which I haven’t been in touch with for a while!
Diners came and went during my brief repose at Urbano 32, but the overriding atmosphere was both welcoming and conducive to this writer’s mental block and search for something new.
I’ll let you know when my big book deal is done. The sweat, toil and worry of a thousand plus hours will be available in Tesco on a two for £7 deal, in due course, no doubt. And you’ll find me a having celebratory glass or two over the bones of my next bestseller in Urbano 32!
Urbano 32 is located at 32 Bridge Street Chester. Tel: 01244 300487 www.urbano32chester.co.uk