Friday, March 14, 2008

Writing: My Coffehouse Confession

My big confession is that I don't like coffeehouses. Well, maybe that's not right. It should be that I don't like coffee. I actually loath the stuff and hate the smell. (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a little freakish in this regard.) Because I don't like coffee, I don't frequent coffeehouses.

Not that this is particularly important, except that I'd hoped for a few minutes that it would get me out of Brady Frost's invitation to participate in his Coffeehouse Confessional.

Then I realized that the coffeehouse was irrelevant. All I needed was a place where I like to go and write, where I could sit at a table with my notebook and work longhand. I have a place like that. It's the little restaurant where I regularly eat lunch -- by myself, with my notebook.

So what is a coffeehouse confession?

Brady explains the challenge in a very entertaining way, but I'll summarize it here: Go to a coffeehouse/place where you like to write, draw a doodle on a napkin, then write something on the napkin, and when you leave the place, leave the napkin behind for others to find. Pretty simple, right?

I'm not so sure. I mean drawing and writing, and then leaving it behind for people who know me to possibly find? (I'm a regular at my little lunch place. We're on a first-name basis.)

Shut up, Haley, and just do it.

So, Thursday, I sucked it up, grabbed a napkin and sat down. After an aborted attempt at drawing a patio table and umbrella, I decided to draw the table centerpiece, which was a bottle with a flower.

Then I forced myself to relax and just write. And I came up with something that I think doesn't suck.

Here it is. Proof.

My Coffeehouse Confession

(Notice the Diet Coke and the printout of my current work-in-progress? It's printed four pages to a sheet, because I like to save trees and I find it easier to see the bigger picture of the story that way.)

Self-conscious writing
Let it go.
Let it go.
Drop my inhibitions
Let the words flow.

What does the napkin say? I blurbed it to the side, here. You can read it.

So that should mean I accomplished my mission, right?

Well, here's the part where I chickened out. I couldn't totally drop my inhibitions and bring myself to leave it on the table. Instead, I dropped it on the shelf next to the garbage can, where it could be oh-so-easily swept into the trash by the next person. I wouldn't know, though, since I scampered out the door and didn't look back.

I think I need to try this again some day soon. Loose my self-consciousness, don't you think?


  1. Great work Haley! Sometimes it's hard to leave those nicer pieces behind but after a while it seems like you want nothing more than to top your best. There have been times where I sit and purposefully think of the most off-the-wall thing to create so that when someone finds it they're left really scratching their heads.
    That will come in time, as you get more comfortable with doing it, I think.

    Oh, look at that, my email says you just posted a comment on my blog! There we go again!

    PS- your word verification for this comment today was quite a beast! haha!

  2. Thanks for the link love - and you're a lot braver than me about leaving your Coffee Shop Confession at least somewhere! I have a similar problem in that I don't do coffee shops; but I swear that next time I do, I'll have a go because I really liked Brady's idea when I spotted it on his blog.
    Who knows? Maybe someone will find yours and keep it as inspiration. I would have.

  3. I contemplated Brady's little exercise, too. But, like you, I'm not a fan of coffeehouses. Where could I go? When would I have time to go someplace I'm not already scheduled to go, to do something... well, spontaneous? :)

    And your reaction to leaving your napkins sounds like my reaction to leaving books lying about when I'm releasing them for Bookcrossing.

  4. I find it funny that this "spontaneous exercise" took a lot of planning on my part.

    That said, I'm on vacation next week. I wonder if I can get my co-vacationers to join me in a round of this? Hmmm... I'll have to give this some thought.

    As for Bookcrossing, I checked it out a long time ago and never followed up. Isn't there a way to track books through the system if someone goes to the trouble to report on the Bookcrossing site that they picked up a book? Or am I daydreaming that part?


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