Thursday, January 25, 2007

the local coffee shop

I know, I keep saying I'm going to write about the genesis of my character Kareena Boudreaux in SINNERS AND SAINTS, and I keep meaning to, really. It's just that there are so many interesting different factors in writing, that I feel a compulsion to write about something else and then forget Kareena. And I'm about to do it again.

I'd like to pen an ode to my local cybercafe. Now, please understand that I have friends who have had their own cybercafes for years, and I have coveted their cafes. One friend, Rexanne Becnel, goes to the mother of all coffee shops in New Orleans in a historic building with true eccentrics and artists manning the tables. I have a lowly whitebread neighborhood, five tables and a fireplace(okay, there are some comfy chairs) (no one expects the Spanish Inquisition). Sorry. Couldn't help it. Anyway, it's not much as far as Hemingwayesque atmosphere. But it's mine. Well, mine and the guy who owns it and all the other people who come in through the day. But the point is that a)it's a funky little place with nice owners who treat you like friends, b) it has free wireless, and c) it isn't my house.

One thing you need to know about me is that for years my husband would regularly kick me out. Me, a pitcher of iced tea, my CD player and my laptop. I'd check into a local motel and closet myself in for four days or so in an effort to finish a deadline. And I'm here to tell you that it's amazing how much you can get written in a boring beige room with nothing but a bad print of the Grand Canyon for decoration. There must be a Chinese restaurant within a five block radius, of course. But other than that, I don't leave the room.

It's wonderful. You see, writing is a very selfish business. When the book is working, you don't want to stop for anything. Not husbands, police, children or doctors' appointments. You just want to play in the world you've created. But when you're working in your house, there's no way to avoid any of that. So I'd have trouble getting the deadlines done. Thus the motel. Well, I kept telling myself that once the kids were grown, I could skip the hotel. After all, I'd have the house to myself--with all the business work I hadn't done yet, the TV, the internet for mail and e-bay, and, of course, the evil telephone, which, as an old trauma nurse, I'm not allowed to leave unanswered. Because the one time I don't answer the phone, it will be the ER calling about a loved one in a perilous state of health, who demands my permission or referral RIGHT AWAY. Somehow that kind of thing doesn't occur to me when I'm not in the house to hear the phone ring.

So you see that the empty house thing wasn't enough. And then my cybercafe opened up. It's called Wired Coffee, and it's a cute little corner place with bright colors and soup for lunch. And nothing but my computer. I was there today because my internet went out and I had to use their wireless. And then I remembered how nice it was to write there. The music is good acoustic 60's stuff. The coffee is excellent and comes with free refills. And nobody really looks over your shoulder. I've tried writing on a plane, but nobody respects monitor privacy in a plane. And I sure don't want just anybody reading either my sex scenes or my serial killer scenes while seated next to me on a full four hour flight. In the coffee shop, nobody notices. They just know I'm working hard.

So what happens is, I get eleven pages written, just like today. I even leave in time to get dinner for my husband. I did ask the proprietor if he wouldn't mind lending me the key so I could come back about 1AM when I do my best work. I had to settle for coming back tomorrow. Which I might just do. I'll let you know. I'll drop a blog from the shop.

eileen\kathleen, the evil twins

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