where the writers are
Reading, Eating, Typing

Spent yesterday in thanksgiving, culminating with a celebration with friends. I spent most of the day reading fiction and sometimes watching football.

Our friends own a restaurant. They close for business at four, and then invite friends and family in for Thanksgiving dinner.  The food was delish, with vegetarian offerings like roasted carrots with brussel sprouts and sweet potatos, mashers with the skin  blended in, green salads, grilled mushrooms on toasted panninni, sweet potatoes with maple glaze, and a green bean and mushroom casserole, complementing the smoked turkey, roasted turkey, and grilled turkey, stuffing and gravy. Spicy sweet potato pie and pumpkin pies topped with whipped cream were served as dessert.

Today I'm off from work but rose early, exercised a bit, then read before dressing and heading to the coffee shop. Once there, I set back to work on the novel, typing up ideas, finishing scenes arising in my head, editing and revising, and continuing on.  The coffee shop was packed when I began, with people on either side. I watched them and listened -- I often eavesdrop -- but managed to punch out two thousand words in a few hours. I had more in me but chose to stop. I was out of coffee, the sun was bright, my rear end was sore, and I wanted more walking and exercise.

The coffee house crowd was considerably smaller as I gathered my things. The people to my left had been four female college students discussing a nutrition class. Now they were two women, a few years older than me, discussing life, shopping and grocery stores.

One of the women said, "Sir, excuse me, sir?" She tapped my arm.

I looked at her. She continued, "I want to congratulate you on your marvelous stick to it-ness."

Her comment perplexed me. It probably showed. She continued, "We came in here with our noisy rabble-rousing and you just kept typing like we weren't even here."

I laughed. "You weren't rabble-rousing. I enjoyed eavesdropping on your conversation, listening to hear if you were plotting assassination, murder, or an overthrow of the government. "

After they laughed, we chatted more about their conversation -- our town is excited because a Trader Joe is coming in up in Medford, ten miles away -- I went on my way.

Their comment stayed with me, though. I enjoy the coffee house atmosphere. Its turbulent burble of noise and conversation is a large part of it. I don't understand why but I find its noises relaxing. There is music through overhead speakers, other people typing on laptops like me, more reading books, doing crossword puzzles and sudoku, and groups meeting and chatting. The clientele's turnover is constant as people enter, order, eat, drink and leave. Some buy coffee and grind it, adding both sound and smell. The espresso machine hisses often. Orders are called out and delivered. Perfumes, shaving cream and shampoo odors sneak past me, along with the stale perspiration stink of hikers, runners, bikers, and walkers like me, and the smells of breakfast burritos, toasted bagels, and sausage.  Outside is a whole other set of variables -- traffic trundling by, men or women jogging and pushing baby strollers, motorcycles demonstrating speed and revs, and the firetruck and ambulance responding to an emergency, siren screaming as it races through the intersection.

This is where I chose to write, where I get more writing done than anywhere else. Sometimes, after being picked shoulder to shoulder, I look up and find myself the sole customer and the employees on break. No matter. I continue on until the day's salvo is finished, then I gather myself up and head home.