Dearest Cafe,

Is there anything more perfect than you? You have it all – a cohesive identity shared bountifully with those who wish to borrow. I’d heard of writers and coffee shops, and rolled my eyes at the cliche – but now I see how very real it is indeed.

But seriously. Can I get an amen for coffee shops? Big, small, local, chain? Coffee shops were a lifesaver when I was starving and alone, because they were warm and full of light and people. They’re a lifesaver when I have too many roommates, because they’re quiet and full of serious intent.

They have a distinctive smell, enveloping you in feelings from ten feet outside the door. Sniff it. Imagine it. Don’t you feel more soothed and sophisticated already?

The lighting is always fantastic (erm, as long as you angle your laptop away from those weird little spotlights that create terrible glare).The fluorescents at an office are bleak and the light in my house is flat and dull, but coffee shop lighting sparkles.

They have COFFEE. I could write an ode to the creamy latte, a sonnet for the rich mocha, and a terse piece of free verse about that workhorse of writing, the black coffee. I’ll spare you the poetry, but the affection is real.

The people are just a little bit cooler. Sometimes they’re too cool and they make you sit on the edge of your seat for 45 minutes and then not come back to that cafe anymore once the skeptical smirks from under low-slung beanies have become too much, but still, what an experience. They’re all doing something really important (laptops and briefcases and serious scowls) or indulging entirely (knitting, going on a date, catching up on a friend’s gossip, being artistic).

Or they’re writers and they’re somehow doing both at the same time. Nothing is better than encountering another writer at a coffee shop and furtively squinting at one another’s laptop screens. Trust me, your writing is better than theirs. No, don’t question it.

But most importantly, in a coffee shop you are a Writer. At work you are someone who writes, and at family gatherings you are a “writer,” but coffee shops bestow the capital letter on you as soon as you walk through the door. Enhance the experience with some glasses, a French hat, some dark red lipstick. (I do this, seriously. It’s like being a spy but cooler.)

Anyway, the long and the short of it is this: if you’ve never tried writing at a coffee shop, you’re overdue. If you’ve never tried writing, go to a coffee shop! If the first one you pick is too small and trendy and makes you feel like a fraud, try Starbucks. Baby steps, people.

Counting the hours until I smell your sweet aroma,

Laurel

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One thought on “Coffee Shops – A Love Letter

  1. Oh, I agree! What would us authors do without coffee shops? I organised some literary event for this years’s Crouch End Festival in London and 4 out of 5 events were hosted by a local coffee shop for free. They are truly the stars of creative community!

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