(The following is an excerpt from the journal of aspiring coffee shop writer Preston William Carr. Though I’ve never met the man, I find him surprisingly relatable. – Timothy)
No one will probably ever read this, so I’m just going to start writing.
I don’t know what I expect to happen here. Keep pushing and the baby will pop out sooner or later. That’s what my grandpa used to say. I never thought it was the best analogy.
Granted, this was the same grandpa who would walk up to me when I was kid, turn around, and fart in my general direction. One time, he blew my hair back. I almost threw up.
What can you do?
I’m in a coffee shop I’d never heard of until I passed its sign on the road a few minutes ago. I guess that’s how people used to discover businesses. They’d pass a sign, say to themselves “well that looks pretty neat”, and they’d go inside.
And so, here I am.
There’s a barista mopping the floor a little ways away. She’s cute, I think. I can only see the side of her. But unless the other half of her face is missing or mustached, she’s cute. Maybe I can think of something witty to say by the time she reaches my table.
Now I’m getting distracted. Isn’t that why I came here in the first place. Cut the distractions?
Maybe I should start with who I am and how I got here.
My name is Preston, and I am a writer. Sort of. Maybe aspiring-writer is more accurate. But that also sounds so douchey.
How I got here, is, well….I realized that if I stayed in my apartment, nothing was going to happen. I’d be there on a chair or a couch. My computer would be in front of me, the screen aglow with all sorts of possibilities.
I’d turn on some music, wordless of course. I usually can’t write with lyrical music. I get too caught up in all of it. Not that it mattered. No writing would ever take place while I was at home anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever written a single thing whilst sitting at home.
Some would say that’s ironic. Doing homework at home. It’s not. It’s essentially the opposite of irony.
The harder I’ve tried to write at home, the more I want to do anything but write. I visit Facebook. Watch some pointless YouTube video. Start playing a video game. If I was feel really inspired, I even go for a bike ride.
But I never write. Today, my hand started to twitch. Fingers raised to lips, deep breaths, slow exhales. Old habits. A little piece of them always seems to linger.
So I set out for a coffee shop. People always seem to be typing on computers at coffee shops. Maybe I could join the ranks. Be one of those people. A person who writes at a coffee shop. I think Family Guy made fun of those people once. Then again, i think Family Guy has made fun of everyone at this point.
I was thinking Starbucks. After all, I’m a Gold Card member. It’s a pretty big deal. My name is on the card and everything. I started driving to the Starbucks up the road, but as I approached the entrance, a part of me felt like I should keep driving.
So I did.
When you’re looking for inspiration, it’s important that you don’t ignore your feelings. It’s called a gut feeling because it takes guts to trust it. My grandpa again. His gut feelings generally consisted of gassy buildup.
After going for about fifteen minutes, I decided it was time to find my Starbucks. I told my phone to find me the closest Starbucks. It obeyed. I wonder how much longer the machines will continue to take orders from us.
Two minutes till Starbucks. Good, I thought. I was ready to write. Two minutes later, and my excitement turned to utter disappointment. The Starbucks was actually a Target Starbucks. Everyone knows those aren’t real Starbucks.
Sure, Diablo Cody wrote her award winning script for Juno in a Target Starbucks, but she was an exception. The only exception as far as I’m concerned. Like that Paramore song.
I refused to walk into a Target with my laptop and start writing. It just seemed wrong. If I’m going to be a stereotypical coffee-shop writer, then I’m at least going to do it right.
I kept driving past the fake-Starbucks and was about to tell my smartphone how dumb it was when I saw a sign. A literal sign. It had a coffee cup on it and said “The Coffee Café”. Despite being bearing a terrible name, something about it called to me. It was better than writing at a department store.
I walked in, picked a table with an outlet nearby, got an iced coffee, and sat down.
And that brings me to now. The mopping barista is getting closer, though her back is still turned. What will I say to her? Maybe I’ll catch her glancing at my computer screen.
“Careful,” I’ll say, “This is copyrighted material here.”
“Is that so?,” she would response with a seductive intrigue. “You writing a book or something?”
“Or something,” I would respond, not really even knowing what I meant by that. “It’s more of a…screenplay.”
In my mind, ‘writing a screenplay’ always sounds sexier than ‘writing a book’.
“Is that like a movie script?” she would ask playfully. I could tell by the shimmer of lips that she knew exactly what a screenplay was, but she wanted me to tell her anyway. Silly girls and their games.
“It will be,” I would say. “Just have to have an agent shop it around first. Once a studio picks it up, starts hiring people, has me make some changes, we’ll have ourselves an official film script.”
“I am so attracted to your talent and wit right now,” she would respond, throwing aside her broom.
I would stand up at this point. “And what about my dashing good looks?”
She would step towards me so that her mouth was inches away from mine. I could smell the lip gloss she was wearing. Strawberries. “I was attracted to those the moment you walked in the door.”
My leg spasms, and I’m snapped out of the fantasy. My mind does like to wander. The mopping barista has past me now. Missed opportunity. Still, looking over what’s written here, this isn’t bad. Coffee shop writings. Yeah, I think this could work.
I like this place. I think I’ll come back. Maybe that girl will be here, and I’ll actually talk to her. Or at least see her face.
There’s only one way to find out.