Cafe Society


I love coffee houses. Not coffee shops (e.g., Denny’s, IHOP, the local greasy spoon), but the real children of French cafes, the ones that let you linger over one cold cup of coffee and have stacks of newspapers and magazines at the ready. And if they have free Wi-Fi, well, all the better.

Unfortunately, I’m finding that writing in a coffee house — unless it’s a letter or postcard or Christmas card — is almost impossible to achieve. Loud ’80s music piped in, even louder habitues, cell phones chirping, espresso machines burping. And here I thought that writing in a coffee house would make me so productive… like Simone de Beauvoir in that photograph of her in Cafe Deux Margots (I think), fiendishly smoking and writing. Nope. I just get frustrated and start listening in on people’s conversations. Possibly useful for future books or stories, but not very much so when you’re writing something set in World War II.

Overheard in my favorite coffee house the other day:

TALL GIRL: I was talking to my sister the other day, and, like, she’s really into this comedian from, like, a long time ago, years ago. Name’s Gilda Radner.

TALL BOY: Yeah? What’s she like?

TALL GIRL: Oh, god, she’s so funny. She’s like, really tiny, really petite, like. 5’5″ or something. [COMMENTARY: 5’5″ is so not petite! 5’5″ is gigantic!] She died, like, a long time ago from some kind of cancer. Anyway, she’s got this funny character she plays, can’t remember the name.


Sigh. Not only am I feeling old, but I’m apparently positively elfin.

Awesome book I’m reading this week: Lewis Buzbee’s The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. At last, a kindred spirit.


Update: They’re playing The Police’s Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic! Now I’ll never get this book done.