Monday, June 10, 2013

Writing in Public

From Kate's Writing Crate... 
            Cheryl and I were scheduled to meet with two friends to celebrate a birthday and career change at a favorite café recently. We decided to arrive early and complete some timed writing sessions.
            There was a line although we arrived after peak morning hours. We caught up on news about kids, dogs, and other happenings while we waited to purchase a gift certificate ignoring the rows of delectable pasteries in the glass cases. Five minutes later, we were seated and opening our spiral notebooks.
            The beeping as I set the digital timer wasn't loud enough to draw attention. I hit start. Without hesitation, our pens raced across our pages. The bustle of people coming and going, chatting at nearby tables, and hurrying to fill orders provided a cadence lacking in my home office.

            Writing in cafés is a tradition for good reasons. I felt more alive. I was more observant.  My pen was moving faster than usual as the energy reverberated inside me.

My senses, on full alert in this vibrant space, were almost overloaded as I usually write in quiet solitude. I concentrated on the strong scent of coffee brewing, a noisy blender creating a fresh berry smoothie, and ice being scooped out to fill orders for iced tea and coffee on this warm day.
I wanted to capture as many details as possible, enjoying the rush of writing there. The pressure of the timer kept me focused. My job was just to keep writing, if possible, without stopping. My pen felt weightless as I moved my hand scribbling down my thoughts and observations. No time to feel self-conscious only conscious of writing this post.
When I was stalled, I quickly looked around and saw two teenaged girls grab their coffee cups, bagels, and purses off a nearby table and rush out to claim one of the tables shaded by orange umbrellas on the deck. I hoped we could do the same when our friends arrived, but went back to writing.
             For inspiration, I listened for any stray phrases from conversations at nearby tables. Nothing coherent reached my ears this time, but I remember overhearing years ago an earnest discussion of whether an evening can be enchanted or not at another table when I was out for dinner with friends. The loudest man was convinced that is was not possible as only people can be enchanted.
            It was such an unexpected topic of conversation I've never forgotten it. The group left the restaurant still talking about it. My friends and I (mostly writers) had paid our bill, but were finishing our coffees. Out of curiosity, we followed them to see if they came to a resolution in the parking lot. They did not.
             Time was up as the first of our friends arrived. We moved on to the reward phase of writing in public: fresh-squeezed orange juice for one, coffee, bagels, and a yogurt parfait for everyone else followed by good conversation, book discussions, and a lot of laughs.
Do you enjoy writing in public?

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