Friday, May 21, 2010

An Afternoon at Starbucks

A few weeks ago I confided in you all that I have this secret goal to one day become a coffee shop-dwelling writer.  I talked about how my first shot at that goal didn't go so well since I chose a small, local coffee shop where professors hold office hours and my friends dwell.  I didn't give up, and on Wednesday I took a second stab at that goal.

"Hey, do you guys know of any good coffee shops in the area?" I asked after an enlightening, entertaining lunch discussing world politics and the best way to remove snot from one's nose (yes, really).

"Come over to church and use our coffee shop; that's why we have it," Bob suggested.  Then he laughed, "No, you wouldn't get any work done; you'd just talk."  I pretended to be mad at him, but we both knew it was the truth.

"Barnes and Noble has a coffee shop.  As does Borders," Jessica provided.  No good.  I'd spend more than the $3 I had in my wallet.

"Or there's a Starbucks across the street," Emily offered.

I was looking for a small, local coffee shop, but Starbucks would have to do.  I ventured across the street, walked into Starbucks with my purple purse, purple computer bag, and purple tumbler, and took a seat at the first table I saw with an outlet.  There I sat.  My water warm (it sat in the car during lunch).  My coffee cold (I only bought it so I didn't feel like I was loitering).  My battery dead (it was fine Monday, but by Tuesday it wouldn't hold a charge).  My pen sticky, my notebook out, and my inspiration missing.  I had been afraid of that.  I wasn't too worried.  I had plenty of stories to write.  Since the novel's hit a stand-still I've explored short stories.  As I've sure you've all noticed, I don't do "short" but, boy, do I love "stories."  If none of those would suffice, I had plenty of old material to play with.  I've never written "Major Parking Lot Incident" or I could tell the stories behind some of the weird items I'm finding as I clean my bedroom.  That wasn't necessary.  I did several hours of "picking" and POV focusing before finally calling it a day.

One thing I started in March was what I think I'm going to call the "inspiration box"  (Unless someone else has a more clever title). Anytime I read a good prompt, quote, exercise, or idea it goes in a gold box I saved from this past Christmas.  Most of these come from a writer's blog but some come from class and others from others.  I'd love to hear, how do you find inspiration?  What do you write when words don't come?  Also, can you work in a coffee shop or do you spend too much time people watching?  I've had that problem, too.

Oh, and how about a quick quote from Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

"And as I worked on the novel, as my character did what he wanted and ruined my story, it reminded me of life in certain ways.  I mean, as I sat there in my office feeling like God making my worlds, and as my characters fought to have their way, their senseless, selfish ways of nonstory, I could identify with them... I was also that character, fighting God and I could see God sitting at His computer, staring blankly at His screen as I asked Him to write in some money and some sex and some comfort." (Pg 85-86)

<>< Katie


StorytellERdoc said...

Excellent writing, again, Katie. I did the coffee house thing for a bit, but we have a huge library that sits on the lake and I sit among all the old, smelly documents and get a boatload of writing done. It's all good, whatever works for you. Good for you to try new avenues, though..

Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

I had an an enlightening, entertaining lunch talking about snot with 2 of the three people you had lunch with. They must like discussing it.

I have hung out in Starbucks before. It was interesting, because of all the buisnessy people there. They also DO NOT have free wifi (jerks!).

As for inspiration just pick a type of writing, and go from there. I am in a creative writing class, and it is making me try different ideas like from Fact to Fiction (take a news article and write a story) or a storybook or whatever. Also how do you get inspiration for your blog? Can you take some of the blog stories and expand on them and make them fiction? And also for inspiration have you heard of the essentials of life checklist?