When you can’t get a drink of water…

I am now working on my next book, DROUTHLORD. I am hoping to have it completed by the end of the year. [Where does one get those nifty counter/percentage completed thingies that other writers seem to put up on their blogs??] Okay, so I am not starting from scratch. I started it back in 2002, but it was shelved in order to work on books that were contracted for.

So far, everyone who has read it thinks it’s the best thing yet – but I haven’t sold it anywhere. Ironies abound in my life, especially when it comes to my writing life…

It is all about the magic of water and the pain of not having enough of it, so I guess I am a bit sensitive to anything about water at the moment. As a consequence, when I was sitting in Nando’s in MidValley the other day, ordering lunch, I ended up fuming.

I asked for plain tap water. What I got was mineral water in a bottle. I refused it. I loathe the waste of resources that go into packaging water in this fashion, then delivering it, when we have perfectly good, treated water coming out of our taps. No one who cares about the proper use of the world’s resources should buy mineral water unless it is necessary.

So I said, No – I’ll take tap water.
[The waiter then assumed I was a tourist as everyone does to my constantly repeated frustration. No, not everyone with a white skin is a tourist, mate.] Anyway, he said, In this country we can’t drink water from the tap. Not safe.
Now that is a lie.
Whether he knew he was lying and just wanted me to pay for water, I don’t know.
I got mad and told him what he said was not true. He was denigrating the public services of his country.
He went away, but he didn’t get any water. He sent the manager instead, who told me quite bluntly that they would not give me tap water. I could buy it in a bottle.

I went without a drink.

And I decided I will never eat in Nando’s again – and I am asking you all not to eat there either, at least until they change their policy of refusing their customers water.

And here, to whet [wet?] your appetite is the first paragraph in the first book of The Random Rain Quartet. Who knows, it may be the only paragraph you ever get a chance to read..

It was the last night of her childhood.

Terrell, unknowing, thought it was just another busy evening in Mattie’s Snuggery. Crowded and noisy and hot, the rooms were hazy with the fumes from the keproot pipes of the addicted and thick with the smell of the resins smouldering in the censers. Smoky blue tendrils curled through the archways, spreading conviviality as they blurred the air.

Everything as usual.

Terrell’s job was to collect the dirty plates and mugs and take them back to the kitchen, in an endless round from sunset until the blackness of night dissolved under the cold fingers of pre-dawn. Her desire was to be unnoticed at the task.

Her dream was to escape her future as one of Mattie’s girls.


When you can’t get a drink of water… — 7 Comments

  1. True or not tap water is safe, most establishments won’t give it out–fearing lawsuits if you get sick.

    That said, I drink water out of the tap all the time. No problems.

  2. That is a terrific hint of the worldbuilding I have already come to expect from you – just enough detail to be real, just enough detail to allow the reader to assume that (s)he is already familiar with this strange new world you’re shaping, lulling them into a sense of safety (“I know where I am…”) and I just know that you’re going to shatter that pretty much in the next couple of pages, if not paragraphs.

    You have a real touch with your worlds. I love what you are doing.

    I popped in to give you the wordmeter thingy URL but I see someone else has already done so – so I’ll content myself with just telling you that you write beautiful prose…

  3. I have had endless fights getting tap water instead of bottled in restaurants – though I think the main reason here is that they can charge you money (excessively) for bottled water, and they’d rather do that than give you something for free.

    And only recently in the UK a whole load of bottled water was recalled because faecal traces had been found in it … it’s obviously so much healthier …

    Bottled water really gets my goat as a complete waste too – except Perrier, which I drink occasionally as a treat.

    I am surprised, though, that no-one has come up with the idea of marketing sealed bags of clear highland air for all those poor people in car-fume-filled cities. Any takers? ;oP

  4. I think I prefer the real mountains, Hrugaar.

    And thank you, Anghara. It means a great deal to me to have a writer as talented and as special as you are say something like that. I shall be walking on air for the rest of the day…

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