As many people know, I’m of the “café society” ilk of writers: I work quite well when seated in a bustling coffee house. I say that this comes from being the eldest of four kids, where family action took place in a big kitchen and I learned to do my homework surrounded by lots of sibling chaos, the dishwasher running, and Neil Young on the stereo. Who knows whether that’s true? We so often make up logical reasons to explain things in hindsight. Perhaps it was too cold in my bedroom to concentrate. Maybe I was lonely. In any case, I have thanked many a coffee shop and restaurant in my books’ acknowledgements pages.
Today, driving up Broad St. after two hours at one café (working on reordering my next book of poems), I glanced to my left at the stop sign and WHAMMO, had to pull over and park in a yellow zone, I was so excited! The papered windows of the corner building were clear, the lights were on, and the Curly Wolf, once in the center of this same block, had opened its new incarnation City Council!
The “space” as we say in the 21st century, is long, high, open, and quite gorgeous, a quintessential example of spaciousness. It is easily bigger than my house, possibly twice as big. The long sides are brick, the floors are wood, the paint is white and a good dark gray. I fell immediately in love and started imagining roller-skating parties, costume balls with waltzing, and a host of other trouble one could get up to.
I’ve heard that the building once housed our town’s City Council offices and meeting rooms, hence the name, but note that this is unconfirmed rumor on my end. Long tables for people to share or have parties, narrow ledges to sit at on bar stools and caffeinate yourself, use a laptop, or both.
There’s a back nook/room with couches and a flat screen. Maybe I can convince the staff to let me watch the Oscars here! There’s an open spot in front by the cash register with many children’s toys and small chairs, so it’s clearly welcoming to all ages.
Even the bathrooms are swank, with paneled doors, beautiful hardware, and three stalls for the ladies, an enormous step up from the previous arrangement, ahem.
I was delighted to see that there are some shelves for books. In my never-very-humble opinion, books and cafés go together, whether you’re writing a book or reading one.
As a confirmed observer of the world, I was thrilled to see this front corner with two big windows looking out on the junction of Broad St. and Pine. It is the best spot to watch the town go by, and also, smartly, furnished with bar stools, so not comfortable enough that one would be tempted to sit there all day.
I was so flustered by finding this new addition to my social and working life that I went and bought a cup of coffee, even though I already had one in the car. The barista said they’d opened last night, so I hadn’t missed any fanfare. I hate feeling as though public celebrations are going on that I don’t know about. Being on the qui vive is part of my persona, don’t you know…
I think this spot is going to be a pretty wonderful place for poetry readings, look how many people could cram in here! All they need are more chairs, and I know exactly where to rent them. How about you, do you write in coffee houses?
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