Why certain activities become associated with certain places is an interesting phenomenon that would be worthy of serious research, far more than this blog can offer. There are many examples, but I am going to focus on the literati. Just take a look at writers and their places. It’s almost a rite of passage to compose something worthy in a cafe. Even better if it’s in a cafÃ©. (Note the acute accent which truly makes it a place to write.)
Writing in a cafÃ© is something writers do. It just is. There isn’t really a reason other than writers write in cafÃ©s. It’s like you drink milk with Oreos – you just do. Most every writer, or potential writer, knows by now the story of J.K. Rowling and her first book; of how she was on public assistance and wrote the first Harry Potter book in a cafÃ©. Well, of course she did! Did we expect her to write it at McDonald’s? Seriously…..why don’t writers go to Burger King and sit in a corner and write? Why not an outdoor patio at Sonic? And while we’re talking places, what do we drink while we write at the cafÃ©? Ask most any writer and they’ll tell you they write while sipping on tea or coffee. If they really had a Pepsi they probably wouldn’t tell you. Everyone knows you don’t write and drink Pepsi. (At least not while you write anything of importance.) Of course, you could always write the Great American Novel on the dining room table drinking Coke Zero and just claim you wrote at the cafÃ© fueled by cup after cup of house blend coffee. Just make sure you’re not booked for Oprah if you really didn’t.
So, what is it with writing and the cafÃ©? Where do you write?
Me? I just write at home with my notebook propped up on…. Oh!…wait!…I…uh…I always write with pen and paper at this smoky little cafÃ© with a slowly rotating overhead fan, pictures of Kerouac and Hemingway on the walls, lots of wood and brass, an outside patio with umbrella tables, a breeze that comes through with just enough oomph to quietly lift the papers but not actually blow them away; at night there’s always a small band playing a little New Orleans jazz, the door to the bustling sidewalk is always propped open by a simple stone and there are copies of The New Yorker and The Paris Review lying about. Honest. You don’t believe me? Well, huh! That’s how I remember it!
So, where do you write?