Tag Archives: coffee

To That Girl In The Coffee Shop On Her Computer, Writing

We begin our tale a while back as you teach yourself that the best big secret for the most effective creative process is this: write.

Write. Write furiously as if you’ve discovered it for the first time, because, in a way you have. Write without worrying about deadlines or opinions. Write some really dumb things- I mean, borderline terrible, but finish writing them anyway. Write with reckless abandon. Write like the words are your therapy- they’re not yet, but you’ll get there.

Write something that you can tell is just different. It sticks out from everything you’ve been writing. Maybe it’s shorter or funnier or has that one reference you’re really proud of making at the right time. Maybe the words rhyme. Maybe it’s just more “you” or maybe it’s way outside what your usual writing style was.

Share what you’ve written. Receive feedback. Let your chest and your ego swell at the thought that your words are the words of a “somebody” now. You’ve created a paragraph or two that sticks with someone else. Your story is gum on the bottom of their shoes, but they’re not even mad. In fact, they enjoy it and cherish it, and want to know where they can get more gum and how they can get tangled up in it all over again.

Call yourself a writer. You figure that you’re serious now, since you publish things every now and then. You let a few people read it and they might have shared it once or twice. So, you’re a writer. Buy that sweater that makes you look like you might do a book signing later- you know the one.

Write about comfortable subjects, receive praise. Write about tough subjects, get consolation. Write something funny, watch your comments soar.

Begin to realize your best ideas come when you’re inspired. Try to pinpoint how you’re inspired and when, as if it’s a math equation or a certain day of the week in a certain room with a certain record playing. Maybe you shouldn’t even write unless all the pieces are connected and correct.

Begin to write less. Tell yourself this is because you have a reputation to uphold and that’s why. After all, if you’re not funny all the time, you’ll never get that comedy writing job that you dream of. If you’re too sappy, you’ll be reduced to an over-share Facebook status.

Panic. Read your own words to calm down. Write a little, but then delete it.

Panic again. Read some other short stories or essay lists and realize that these make you mad because they’re better. When did you get so mad? You used to love to read. You used to praise your favorite writers.

Call it writer’s block. Call it stubbornness. Glorify the fact that with a new job, you are ‘busy’ and have important things to do, leaving no time for your words.

Tell yourself you were too personal anyway. Tell yourself you already wrote most of your opinions and stories. Tell yourself that the “dissatisfied 23 year-old suburban white girl” schtick has already been covered and dealt with.

Wish that you were anything else. Sniffle. Eat a bowl of ice cream. Feel guilty about the ice cream immediately after. Remind yourself that every famous writer usually had social issues and vices and was usually an alcoholic. Decide the ice cream isn’t that bad, and that thinking of famous writers is both a calming and terrifying thought.

Let your life happen. Participate, yes, but don’t feel like you have to give a major commentary. Feel like you are running out of stories. Feel like all you can write about is pop culture or your darkest thoughts. Feel like it’s all been done, it’s all been said, it’s all been written millions of times before.

Go to church, go to work, go home. Go for a drive to clear your head, even if you’re not sure what your head is full of.

You’re not really a writer anymore. You’re just a girl who writes, and that’s okay. After all, it’s been what – 3 months? Oh. I guess that’s longer than you thought.

Walk into a coffee shop a month later. Or is it two? It’s getting hard to keep track. Besides, you’ve had disappointment and personal failure and broken trust and relationships pushed to the brink and tragedy happen to you, so that adds something. We can’t all be on all the time. It’s harder to write when it doesn’t come easy, but you’re here, and this coffee shop has terrible wi-fi anyway, so you’re either going to write or sit, and we both know you’re a Type-A fidgeter.

Order a tea because you’ve had 5 cups of coffee today already. Immediately regret this decision, as the tea is not going to make your blood surge like you trained it to do before any major writing breakthrough.

Drink your tea anyway. Lie in the bed you’ve made. Coffee calls to you and you tell it that once you’ve written, you’ll reward yourself with a piping hot cup, one cream and a kiss of sugar. You’re okay with being both Pavlov and the dog in this experiment.

Listen to the people around you in the coffee shop and tell yourself that you could have written a better conversation than the one they’re having.

Sit down in the coffee shop with your computer and actually turn the wifi off so that you’re forced to do nothing but type. Type. Type. Type. It seems to go slower, like it’s a muscle you haven’t stretched in a while. Didn’t you used to be faster at this?

OH GEEZ everyone is staring at you in this coffee shop. I bet they’re all judging you. I’m sure they all think you’re self-absorbed. They all think you’re a hopeless writer, but maybe that isn’t the worst thought. Okay, let them think that. Let them read over your shoulder – you don’t care.

Typing is starting to feel laborious and you don’t like anything you’ve written. It’s all half-ideas and weirdly futuristic.

Good thing you brought your notebook. While reaching for it and your pen in your bag, realize there’s a joke happening right now with your notebook and pen versus your computer that you aren’t going to take the time to write down. Acknowledge this and move forward.

Write. Old-school, pen to paper, as your hand starts to cramp.

Wow, this is exhausting. You really have to pee but you don’t know anyone here at this coffee shop and you would feel uncomfortable making them watch your stuff.

Continue to write on paper. Remember how good it feels to see the pen form the letters and the imperfection of half-cursive half-print thoughts. Remember when it was a big deal that you had to learn cursive in 2nd grade and your teachers told you that you’d need it in the adult world? You wish you could laugh at this thought but it feels almost sad in a sense. Regardless, you’re still not pleased with your cursive on the letter r. It seems like you’ll always be cursed with that.

Write a few scraps and then one you like.

Photo Jan 15, 4 30 02 PM

Think it might be too emotional to share on the internet, but then think, what isn’t? Frequently photos of baby animals on the internet make you cry, so maybe there’s something to emotions. Maybe they’re inescapable. Maybe they’re infectious.

It’s late now, but you’ve still got an hour of editing and critiquing and cringing over what you just wrote. You’ve still got to post it and then delete it immediately and then work up the courage to share again.

 

But hey, would you look at that? Looks like despite all that talk and self-doubt, you wrote something after all.

See you again, same time next week.

Skills I Don’t Know If I Should List On My Resume

I am really good at identifying S Club 7 songs

I can complicate any “simple” order at a fast food restaurant and often do

I am really good at making other people do math for me because it gives me anxiety

I know the E! Channel’s afternoon programming lineup very well

I can paint with all the colors of the wind

I know how to twirl spaghetti on my spoon all fancy

I can carry up to 12 Venti beverages from Starbucks by myself and walk 5 blocks with them without spilling a drop

I know all the words to “It’s Raining Men”

I am excellent at driving around with my low gas light on for as long as possible before filling up again

I  know all 4 of the Beatles’ birthdays, Bob Dylan’s birth name, and the kind of guitar Bruce Springsteen has used exclusively for most of his career

I am experienced at using “five more minutes” as an excuse frequently

I can waste several hours crafting the perfect playlist for the smallest seemingly-insignificant event or afternoon

I frequently create great life mottos like, “Someday I will use this in my screenplay” and “The cure for anything is more sleep or more coffee”

I am great at exhausting all my energy when adorable animals are around and trying to make them love me and cooing at them and singing songs to them and doing baby voices to speak to them

I am wonderful at living vicariously through the instagram feeds of Mayer Hawthorne and Oprah Winfrey

I identify colors I see with titles from the old Crayola box, including, but not limited to: Tickle-Me-Pink, Purple Mountain’s Majesty, Robin’s Egg Blue, Lazer Lemon, Macaroni And Cheese, Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Cerulean, etc.

I am a pro at taking naps, like, give me a few hours and a warm spot and I will NAP IT OUT

I am slowly learning how to sustain a real relationship on lengthy text messages, airport-terminal-embraces, skype calls til we both fall asleep, iced coffee dates, short visits, long goodbyes, and so so much borrowed time

I am skilled at actually wanting a job and not wanting to be a complaining twentysomething statistic like everything else I seem to read

I am always prepared to dance like crazy until my feet hurt and sing until I’m hoarse to good, loud, heartfelt rock and roll and never apologize for it

I’M IRONICALLY EMPLOYED

And, in the most dramatically ironic moment of my life yet – I AM EMPLOYED.

I AM EMPLOYED:

                            -at a Starbucks, in my hometown.

Yep. Baby steps.

If you know me at all, know my relationship with coffee at all and how it is a full-fledged obsession in my life, know my relationship with my hometown at all and how I’m terrified of being stuck in it forever but also welcoming of its safe place, please laugh at this irony with me. I couldn’t write a plot point this interesting if I tried.

But seriously, it’s employment and I am more than grateful. It’s something to do while I remain persistent at breaking into the music and media industry somehow! I mean, I am not knocking this AT ALL, in fact, I am doing happy cartwheels! And as my best friend Zack put it so perfectly, I get to spend all day being surrounded by my boyfriend: coffee!

But also, the irony. OH, the irony.

So, drop by sometime. I’ll make you a lion-haired latte.*

(*But there won’t actually be hair in it, cause that’s really gross. Should we call it something else? Just a “lion latte”? A “blogaccino”? A “postgrad mocha”? You decide.)

My Happy Place

My happy place is a mid-morning omelette, bacon, toast and a friend.

My happy place is a big hammock in the shade.

My happy place is sitting in front of a fireplace with a cup of hazelnut coffee (two splendas & just a kiss of half-and-half, please).

My happy place is driving with the windows down on a back road riiiiight when the sun comes up in the morning and a perfect playlist to accompany the ride.

My happy place is that last page of a book when you finish the journey and you just kinda sigh and go, “what now?”

My happy place is an SNL skit that actually manages to make me laugh.

My happy place is volunteering for a community that shares great stories and encourages women in truth every day.

My happy place is a closet full of boots, jeans that fit really well, and leopard print.

My happy place is a never-ending marathon of The Lord Of The Rings (Extended Editions) followed by the Back To The Future Trilogy followed by Almost Famous followed by The Sound Of Music, then repeated.

My happy place is a big couch with a warm laptop on my lap, reading blogs and watching stupid videos.

My happy place is a group sing-along.

My happy place is anywhere I can put my toes in a body of water.

My happy place is a brand new Bruce Springsteen single and upcoming album + tour!!!

My happy place is a new haircut and the smell of fresh laundry.

My happy place is a never-ending text message conversation with my family members.

My happy place is waking up before my alarm and going back to sleep.

My happy place is a big stack of vintage vinyl records.

My happy place is petting a puppy.

My happy place is tap dancing in my best friend’s new apartment.

My happy place is finding tiny little ways to change the world while looking for a big-girl job.

What’s your happy place?

Pop Culture Taught Me : Meaningful Mornings

I know that I can talk about the ongoing love affair that I have with my coffeemaker pretty constantly–

(we're thinking a June wedding)

–but until I actually get coffee into my system, no talking usually occurs. You see, I’m not exactly a morning person, and by “not exactly” I mean that I walk around in a zombie-like state for a long time and every day I bless my parents for having to grow up with the grumpiest crankiest child for 18 straight years of mornings.

However, television makes me feel even worse about this.

On every show that seems to have any little trace of family values, the morning is used as a normal, productive time. Television show characters all sit around the breakfast table and drink neon-orange juice out of spotless glasses, Dad reads the paper with his coffee mug in one hand and Mom asks the kids about their upcoming school days. IS THIS REAL LIFE?!

I’m not saying that my family didn’t communicate and love each other, but it certainly wasn’t as put-together and picturesque. I mean, everyone in tv shows is dressed and ready and super-awake when the sun comes up. Full House was always a party in the AM. Leave It To Beaver constructed major plot points before 7 o’clock. Heck, even the drama of The OC had happy times with bagels!

Some shows have countered this with a little more truth. Modern Family probably gets the most realistic, everyone-on-their-phones approach,

and, of course, Arrested Development will ALWAYS take the cake in my book,

but even so, I still feel like every morning is supposed to be shiny and Brady-Bunch-happy-go-lucky!

This is probably not ever going to be reality–

–but give me a breakfast taco and some caffeine and I’ll do my best to add my own laugh track. Or, at the very least, a coherent sentence once in a while before I rush out of the door to bigger and better things: like, say, lunchtime.

Photo credit (1,2,3)