Writing Exercises: Notes on a City Street

Days that weren’t wet and rainy were few and far between; no rain was a nice day, and that always brought people out. I sat down near the MAX stop, on the side that got the most passersby, but not so close that I would obstruct the flow of foot traffic. I opened my guitar case and pulled out my acoustic. I left the case open, propping a sign up in the top: Spare change for food always appreciated. I wasn’t above singing for my supper, because when you’re starving, things you never thought you’d do look so much less undesirable. At least when I played, it took my focus off the gnawing in my stomach.

I took a deep breath, trying not to focus on the swarming bodies around me, and instead focused on the guitar strings. I fiddling with the strings, checking the tuning, before I started to play. And by play, I meant messing around with chords until I decided what I wanted to play. My library wasn’t that vast, at least for what I had memorized, but I always had the unwritten notes that came together, and that was usually what I played.

I curled my fingers, depressing the strings, and strummed. The sound released to mingle with the choir of the city streets. I only hope the city heard my cry, and that I would eat tonight.