What Is The Perfect Writer’s Coffee Shop? By Raina Schell
Today we welcome a new guest writer to Writer’s Fun Zone, Raina Schell who is stopping by to chat with us today about “What Is The Perfect Writer’s Coffee Shop?.” Enjoy!
Note from editor, Beth Barany: We know what day it is. 9/11 is a difficult day for many. My response to the terror of 9/11 was to embrace my life and do what I love, which is fiction. Life is too short to spend it on fear. Reach for what you love. And live it.
The month before last I spent ten days in Texas. Ten glorious days.
Before I left I was in a funk, a funk so deep that I could not seem to pull myself out of it. Simply put, I’d lost my mojo, my motivation, my eternal optimism, my joie de vivre. I walked around day in and day out in a foul mood, grumbling and complaining to anyone who would listen and to those who would not.
I didn’t want to be at work helping people, I didn’t want to be writing my novel, I didn’t want to do much of anything at all.
This is how it was when I flew into Austin, Texas one hot and humid Sunday afternoon. The woman I was staying with, a lovely airbnb-er (www.airbnb.com) named Shelly, met me at a local seafood restaurant and took me out to dinner. The crawfish étouffée was the marked beginning of the change.
The next day I walked to the café nearest to her house and this is where I discovered Nirvana in Texas. Epoch Coffee (http://www.epochcoffee.com) was/is the most amazingly perfect writing café I have yet to find in all of my many journeys both home and abroad. I spent the entire day sitting outside on the sun-dappled patio, writing to my heart’s content.
Inspiration seemed to fly out of the rafters,
alighting my fingers, soaring over the keyboard, a dove in flight. I sat on that magical patio all day long and wrote, really wrote.
Characters bloomed, plot expounded. It felt like I was making my own personal history sitting there at Epoch, which was truly living up to its name.
So what makes the perfect writer’s coffee shop?
I will be the first to admit, the coffee has to be good, or tea or whatever you’re drinking. I don’t drink coffee on a regular basis, but at Epoch I drank their coffee and it was simply, phenomenal. However, that’s not what made the experience so meaningful and ripe.
Epoch truly had everything I have ever looked for in the “perfect writing coffee shop.” The outdoor patio was large and open, the weather perfect. The view was not “crazy good,” but somehow it was heart opening. I could stare across the street for a few minutes to regroup between scenes and find inspiration in the wild grass and trees that grew there, unencumbered.
How can one find inspiration from perfectly manicured lawns?
The patio was on the street but it wasn’t a busy street, so there were barely any cars driving by, and the patio itself was raised up a few steps from the sidewalk as though there was a firm barrier between “them” and “us.”
The perfect coffee shop must have good, soft seats with adequate back support, and still I have yet to find one with seats as perfect as Epoch.
An essential detail that did not go unnoticed is that this enlightened coffee shop incorporates outlets into the railing where each table is nestled.
Not everyone likes quiet but I do. I don’t like music when I write or loud conversations and Epoch’s outside patio offered exactly that.
There were people talking but the tables are not crowded against one another so unless I focused on trying to hear them, I could not.
Sitting blissfully at Epoch, I did choose to overhear a significant conversation. A 20 something guy was dating a new girl. He had moved into a new house with roommates as well and was bemoaning one roommate in particular for having “big dreams.” I didn’t interrupt though I wanted to.
I wanted to tell him that big dreams are the spark of the future.
Big dreams keep us going sometimes when nothing else can. And most importantly, big dreams can come true — for without them we have no dreams at all, nothing to strive for and no accomplishments on the horizon.
Dream big and if you fail at least you’ve tried.
I said none of this as I pretended to write or at that moment, read and not look like I was listening. This guy sounded like he had lost something too, his own personal spark so I could relate. He was stuck, he didn’t know what the future held and he was feeling despondent and somewhat negative.
But he’d met a girl recently and when his friend asked him what he liked about her he responded, “She loves life, she sees everything with fresh eyes, she’s always happy. Being around her reminds me to look at the joy in life.”
That hit a chord. That’s how I’d been before I fell into my, let’s be honest here, two-year funk. Maybe, I thought, that’s how everyone is before they wake up one day to find that their dreams have passed them by.
Since my return to California I’ve been on the search for the “perfect writer’s coffee shop” and I have yet to find it. I’ve looked in SF, Marin County and the East Bay. Next month I will try L.A. If you know of a hidden gem anywhere in the world that fits the criteria above — a high bar set by Epoch … please let me and other readers know as soon as possible, we will all be eternally grateful.
c. 2014 By Raina Schell
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Raina Schell lives in an undisclosed location near Marin County, California with her secret boyfriend, invisible dog and a fish named Larry. After being on the lam for the past 8 years Raina is finally coming close to completing her first novel, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy that may or may not be titled Exquisite Destiny and may or may not be the first stand-alone book of a projected 5 book series.
In the field of writing, non-novel specific: Raina has written and produced dozens of television segments and half-hour television shows. These have aired on local, national and international TV stations which will not be disclosed. For fun she’s also written un-optioned screenplays, a maverick movie trailer and countless blogs. When Raina is not writing she has other jobs that she isn’t nearly as passionate about.