So I know some writers who always write at coffee shops or libraries–perhaps because their homes are so insane that they concentrate better out there. Others insist they could never write at a place like that because it would be too distracting: patrons passing by, the whir of the grinder, the fizz of the espresso machine–even the smells of coffee and pastries.
Every once in a while, I take my laptop off my desk (there should be another term for laptops that never see a lap) and head out in to the world. Usually, because I’m travelling–in which case a hotel room desk becomes my pseud-office for a while. But sometimes I just realize I’ll have extra time in my day between appointments or while waiting for something. So I wind up in the lobby at the YMCA, or in some random coffee shop, opening up my work-in-progress. Which, right now, includes all sorts of blood and gore, in the great tradition of medieval medicine. No matter, I plug in my earbuds, turn up the tunes, and I’m gone.
Yes, my body is there, occupying a chair, once in a while remembering to take a sip, but I have left. In my case, I’m a time traveler. I step through the keyboard into my alternate version of the 14th century, and quickly become totally enveloped in the minds and deeds of people who don’t otherwise exist. I’m glad nobody tries to talk to me: I would probably reach for my sword. . . or my scalpel.
It’s a little disconcerting, especially on the return journey. I was where, again? Why is this cold cup at my elbow? And where did I park?
This magic trick happens easily at my own desk, where I control the environment–aside from the occasional canine intrusion–and I’m still a bit surprised it works for me elsewhere. Hopefully, this means I’m achieving my goal of immersive fiction.
How about you? Are you a cafe junkie?