This morning my sister and I went to Morning Glass Cafe, and I asked a man if we could share his table with him. As we sat there, I listened to the conversation he was having with the man at the table next to ours. I tried to work and talk to my sister, but their conversation was so interesting, I couldn't help listening.
Turns out the man at our table was Sean Priester. After the other man left, I turned to him and said, "Are you Mr. Priester?" He said he was, and I told him I'd been a fan of his cooking for a long time. Old-timers may remember that he was with The Wild Mushroom, a restaurant formerly at the YWCA on Richards Street. I told him I'd gone there a few times.
He was a very nice gentleman, and I'm so pleased that I overcame my shyness and spoke to him.
The effort we make in trying to speak to a stranger is similar to that of composing a story or poem. The paper is lying there, and it takes a certain amount of courage—and confidence—to put our words on it, to extract them from heart and mind and apply them to the page. This reminds me that I recently spoke to Tom Farber about a piece of fiction that I hope to turn into a book. Tom has been teaching fiction at UC-Berkeley for many years, and he read my story with expert care. I was amazed at some of the things he pointed out to me. At first I was reluctant to return to the story because he had asked me about and commented on so many things. But this morning, at Morning Glass Cafe, I looked at it and felt renewed, ready to return to it and engage the main character and his problems.
How lucky I was to also meet Sean Priester!