I don’t usually have the luxury of choosing where I write. Since I did away with the laptop and got a PC, it needs to be at my desk, bum in big black chair, hands on keyboard. Also, I’m usually writing when the little one is in bed, and short of paying a childminder, finding a husband or risking the involvement of social services (I find none of these options desirable) I need to be in my house, and reasonably sober.
Not so this week, which was the wonderful week off – now sadly drawing to its inevitable close. (O lente, lente, currite noctis equi! The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike… etc etc)
During this week I decided to ring the changes and treat myself to a writerly walk in the park, a writerly amble past Primark, and a writerly half hour in Starbucks. All accompanied by my little black moleskine and John Fante (the review is here). Putting the ethical considerations relating to Starbucks aside – of which there are many – it was half term and the place was packed to the rafters with Emos. I quickly moved on, a little bit down the hill, to the cafe in the train-station – where good writing happened.
Every time I am not at work and it is open and I can be bothered and the little one is not with me I am going to go to the cafe and do writing. It worked like magic. It was almost empty and the people who were in there were too over burdened, bored, or disappointed to find themselves stranded in (de)Preston, waiting for their connection (I refuse to believe Preston is any one’s intended destination – ever) to make much noise. Also, I really, really, really like train stations. And airports. And bus-stations. It’s something to do with being in between places – with not having to decide – postponing choosing to be in one place rather than another. Waiting. Licensed laziness. Waiting rooms aren’t hell, they’re heaven, or something like it.
Sometimes when I’m in one of my emotionally delicate places (she means ‘in a sulk’) bed is where I want to be – for just the same reason. In bed, or in the train-station cafe, I haven’t started my day or my journey – I haven’t made a choice and all the possibilities lie out before me like unopened birthday presents. It isn’t as scary as a blank page, because waiting is fine, it is expected. Because of the cafe, it is encouraged.
And it is much cheaper than Starbucks.