I am the ultimate cliche: the writer in the coffee shop.
I should probably just stop myself here–I could feel my eyes glaze over as I typed that sentence.
Instead, I intend to proceed.
Setting: Coffee shop. The small barista is a local favorite; it houses throngs of politically active poets, seven varieties of dark shade-grown roast, and walls of dissent-inspiring art work. The place is designed like a remodeled warehouse (open, cemented, and echoing), although this prospect is impossible due to its location (small, local plaza enfolded in the historic district next to Savannah’s most famous park).
At Rise: It’s bustling today. It took me a moment to find a seat with my mug and computer, finally settling for a corner of couches next to a middle-aged woman and her espresso. Though the place is packed our intimate corner somehow remains quiet.
Her: The woman across from me (silver mop of short hair, thick-lensed, silk scarfed, munching on squares of dark chocolate) stares softly out the window before writing ferociously in a three-subject binder. I didn’t intend on disrupting her although I bump her bag as I push into my seat. She smiles once and looks back down. The thumping of the house hip-hop does nothing to assist her austere. Her eyes occasionally scan the room as she presses pen to paper, looking, just as I am, for inspiration for her notes.
Me: I lament the fact that I am writing on a laptop, disrupting the potential tranquility of the lacking technology. Looking at the woman again, I am envious of her paper devotion. As a kid I always carried a notebook; it was my final years of college when upper-division courses demanded I lug around my Mac that it became second nature to type rather than write. Soon, creative writing courses and time crunches took over and I abandoned my notebooks. Since then I have convinced myself that a typing medium is better, that I write much more efficiently with my hands tapping out the words as they come to my head. I argue that typing allows me to re-arrange sentences with a click of a mouse or look to a thesaurus in a time of frustration. I convince myself it’s better this way, but I don’t really know what I have lost.
Her: She finishes her chocolate and folds her cover back in place, capping her pen and gathering her purse. I feel my voice rise in my throat as I wonder if I should say anything, mention the notebook, say I am remiss, tell her my name. I say nothing, and she is gone.
Them: Now, the older woman has been replaced by two tattooed, chipped-black nailed and tired looking vegans. They talk loudly of the American Apparel jackets they want to buy (totally almost got it last week, except for the price, was, like, sooo expensive) while breaking off bits of a dairy-free muffin.
I rise: They inspire about as much as a girl sitting in a coffee shop on her laptop, swigging back tea. I am a character, a cliche, so trite I’m almost not worth mentioning.
My initial point–inspired by the hippie-turned-leisure-class-post-menopausal-crisis-turned-memoirist–is that I don’t know what I lose from abandoning my notebooks, but I don’t really know what I gain, either. A lacking patience in my own creative process, perhaps. The ability to check Facebook updates if my mind wonders instead of following its path, I suppose.
I am not even certain what this entry is supposed to suggest or what I am trying to say. I have accomplished nearly nothing, other than my need to publish more of my thoughts, however glib they may have become.