Saturday, November 15, 2008
In Praise of Crowded Places
I can write almost anywhere. I'm not one of those writers that requires silence or the comfort of the familiar. I have an office in my house but I find that the moment I go inside all hell breaks loose. I tend to roam all over the house with my laptop these days (thankfully my youngest has ended his rivalry with my computer realizing there is room in my heart for the both of them). No matter where I roam, I find home is where the interruptions are and I find myself itching to get out into the world.
Today I had one of my most productive days. I escaped to our locals Borders Books bringing along my trusty laptop. I love working in busy settings. When I decided to become serious about writing, I found this wonderful restaurant on Broadway and Mercer Streets in NYC. The food was tolerable, the service was slow but no one seemed to care if I sat there by the window for hours writing and watching people.
Soon VG's closed (due to the food and bad service no doubt). I continued to write where I could- subway, taxi's, park bench, etc, but these felt too temporary. Then I found my writing home when I stepped inside Pat's Jazz Bar in Chelsea.
A good PR person might have described it as an "intimate venue" which is the polite term for a classic "hole in the wall". Pat's had the best live music in the city. It was the place where musicians would come from gigs at more established clubs to jam into the wee hours of the morning. Pat's was more than just my NYC version of Cheers it was my writing studio.
When I'd find myself in that writing zone, Ralph, the manager, would know and make certain I was left alone. He'd tell people to wait until the book hit the stores. What can be better than this kind of support when you're a youngster in your 20s. People were interested in what I was writing and took my opinions seriously. I don't believe I've had better conversations on writing, literature, music, art and culture than in that place. Often those conversations would spill over into breakfast at the Chelsea Diner.
Borders is no Pat's but I'm able to write. Jen makes the best Caramel Lattes (she's definitely getting a heartfelt thanks in my book) and she always gives me an extra helping of caramel. The table by the window is always empty just waiting for me. I plug in my computer, sip my latte, write, and watch humanity pass around me. Sometimes they even play some good music that brings me back to my days at Pat's.