Monday, July 21, 2008

Coffee House Effect

I had a busy weekend, but not so busy that I had a real excuse for not working on the novel. A poetry service at the UU Fellowship did take a lot of my time last week, but inside my head that nagging voice would not go away; it said, repeatedly--nagging--that I just hadn't given the book its due attention the past few days. When I get into that awful state where I'd clean out the silverware drawer before I'd sit down to write, well, that calls for a change of venue. I've always known that, but I can talk myself out of the most sensible approaches. Finally, I turned off the Snood game, ignored the TV, grabbed a blank notebook and left the house. The dogs were not happy to see me leave in the late afternoon when we customarily settle in till supper. Tough! They are wonderful dogs, but they're dogs. What do they know about writing novels? Books are mysterious toys that require no chewing or throwing, just staring!

Having seen an ad recently for a new cafe, I took myself to that block--nothing there but a gift shop, a real estate office and a day spa. None of those would do. So I backtracked to a place I had visited before. It's a chain and I prefer an independent, but hey, this was getting serious. Unless of course I want my tombstone to read, "She played Snood." If leaving home and daring the heat of a Colorado summer Sunday were required to grease the wheels of creativity, I'd better follow through. Iced tea in hand, I settled into an easy chair across from a young woman with a cell phone welded to her head. That could have been a distraction except that she spoke Chinese, and since I mostly speak English, it was easy to ignore her conversation. I did what I used to do to my students, kept saying "Just keep the pen moving. You can revise later." In less than two hours and one iced tea, I had a decent bit of work, about 5 1/2 pages, handwritten (my usual approach to a first draft), and I could go home with a clean conscience and a good jumping off place for this morning's work.

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