Returnings

I sat down inside a coffee shop with the intent of writing about how I seek out coffee shops to find solace from confrontation and people and problems and pains…but was interrupted with a phone call from my mom in which I desperately tried to keep myself from crying while I agonized over the growing pains involved in graduating, moving, and entering the semi-real world as a pseudo adult.  I hung up the phone and realized: my life happens inside coffee shops.

My latte sits in front of me, surrounded by a pile of notebooks and unedited cover letters, my planner splayed open and half-organized with the long list of things I have to do this week.  To my left is the table where I first met up with the Modern Recollections team to talk about what would end up being the most bizarre performance in my career.

"Atemwende", NextFest NW 2014

To the right and behind me is the table where a love and I held hands and tried to put off saying goodbye for as long as possible.  It’s the same table where months later I had a terrible first date with a man who monumentally frustrated me and made me wonder how two compatible people ever find each other in this world.

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The bar that faces the window is where an old friend and I spent hours catching up on our too many months apart and spoke eagerly of what was to come.  At the same bar, a newly found kindred spirit introduced me to the shop special and offered me a place to live.  Across the way is the table where I escaped during the move-in to said apartment and tried to keep myself from breaking under the extreme stress of it all.

I’ve cried in probably three out of five coffee shops I’ve entered in Seattle, laughed in many more and spent hours of my time planning, writing, connecting and sharing inside these places.  Maybe it’s the big changes in my life that make me cling to the coffee ritual these days.  Within the space of a month I closed three shows, graduated from college and moved.  I’ve been hurled into this new chapter of my life and have no idea how to navigate it.  Everyone guarantees me that this is perfectly normal.  They say that a post-grad slump/panic is a frequent and perhaps even healthy rite of passage.

But with all my other routines taken away from me, the ritual of the coffee shop is something I can fall back on.

So returns the Coffee Shop Chronicles — I’m coming back to the writing and the audience that I feel so connected to.  I hope you’ll join me for a cup as I attempt to navigate the adult world.

xo,

E

Assumptions

I feel stuck in the blogging world.

For as little as I post, a surprising amount of time is spent thinking of things I can and should be writing here.  Yet every time I sit down to type something up, I get stuck.  And it isn’t just the blog.  The play I’ve been writing for the past few months has me stumped too.

Jose Rivera wrote in his “36 Assumptions about Writing Plays” that a writer should:

Embrace your writer’s block.  It’s nature’s way of preserving trees and your reputation.  Listen to it and try to understand its source.  Often writer’s block happens because somewhere in your work you’ve lied to yourself and your subconscious won’t let you go any further until you’ve gone back, erased the lie, stated the truth and started over.

He also wrote:

If you’re not prepared to risk your entire reputation every time you write, then it’s not worth your audience’s time.

And that is an intimidating statement.

There are plenty of posts on here that are riddled with non-reputation risking writing as well as lies that block my ability to write the way that I want to.

Yet I can’t quite find the source.

Recently I’ve made a new friend who enjoys coffee and conversation apparently as much as I do.  Almost every invitation to spend time together involves a cup of coffee and piece of chocolate, as well as a strange dose of self-analysis.  I’ve realized how difficult it is for me to vocalize the things I feel and how shallow so much of my conversation and writing has become.  So often during our conversations I have to go into my pensive place to consider a real answer and find that I am lacking the words that I want to express myself.

How can language be so limiting?  Are the lies creating the writer’s block coming from a lack of accurate words or are they from a confusion of where I stand on the subjects that arise?

Or maybe it’s from the fear to write about the topics that come up over the coffee.  I could talk for days about how nice it is to enjoy coffee with a friend or loved one, the satisfaction that comes from a perfectly produced latte, the feeling that comes with enjoying a warm cup alone on a rainy afternoon.  However, nowhere in my writing do I get down to the gritty questions that are being addressed over that same cup.

Don’t be afraid to attempt the great themes: death, war, sexuality, identity, fate, God, existence, politics, love.

A nice thought, Jose, but how can I write about things I can barely discuss?

Maybe it was fate that made me meet my new coffee mate.  Perhaps my identity is less impacted by the coffee in my cup and more by the person on the other side of the table and the conversation about our existence.  It’s possible that sexuality is inextricable from a sort of political system, and maybe it’s possible to love without knowing how that system functions.  And yet, maybe not.  I’d like to think that God brings people into our lives to challenge our faith and values, but how much of a hand does He have in every interaction?

I don’t know the answers.  So do I erase everything in an attempt to find the lie, or do I not write until I know the truth?  Or do I just give up and go drink more coffee instead?

Let the Coffee Match the Mood

The Seattle weather has been all over the place lately.  I wake up to dark cloudy skies and find myself shielding my eyes from the bright sun after being out my front door for three minutes.  Sometimes the rain falls, sometimes it comes out of nowhere and follows me like a petulant child with a never-ending bucket of cold water over my head.

I’m not sure how anyone gets used to this place.

On those darker days, I try to venture out from my usual spot and seek out a coffee-house that better suits the weather along with my mood.

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The large windows provide protection from the dreariness without shielding it completely from my view; it’s the perfect combination.  Seattle rain, an Americano and this coffee shop allow for every ounce of hipster I have to come to the surface.  Art is made, poetry written, and iPhones are played with.

Caffe Vita

1005 East Pike Street

Seattle, WA 98122

The Coffee Files

Does love have you feeling all the feels?  Are you spending your nights and days trying to think of ways to woo that special someone?

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My other side project of The Sketch Files is working on capturing just this issue.  Our leading man Rob is on a desperate journey to win back the love of his ex the only way he knows how: with a cup of coffee in hand and beans to gift.

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If only he had bothered to ask the camera girl first, I would have let him know that if he really wanted to win the lady, Starbucks was not the route to go.  All he had to do was ask, and he might have saved himself from ending the evening with this look on his face.

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Interested in learning more about The Sketch Files?  Check out our trailer and join us on the comedic adventure of a lifetime…or something like that.

Design Delivered

While considering a cup of coffee, should the occasion arise for something artfully constructed, I appreciate the presentation.

Beautiful latte art, a charming mug, these things only enhance the experience of indulging in a cup.  But how does one have the same sort of visually pleasing experience at home, without a fancy espresso machine or matching mugs?

Thanks to my brother, I have the answer in the bag.

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Or rather, on the bag.

I had no idea Idaho was roasting such delicious beans and was thrilled to see such an eye-catching design.

Well played, DOMA Coffee Roasting Company.

Doma Coffee Roasting Company

Post Falls Idaho

domacoffee.com

Crisis and a Cup

All my existential questions seem to arrive over a cup of coffee.

What does love mean anymore? 

Does all creativity exist inside the messy shadows of ourselves that we hide from society?

While I’m out making art, is there one clear goal of what I should be saying?

How does coffee taste so good?

It’s a lot to take in over one cup, which might explain why it takes me so long to finish.  In the last three months I’ve had multiple sources point out the amount of time it takes for me to consume twelve ounces of heavenly liquid.

The forced attention makes me want to turn and yell to my accusers, “I can’t drink this quickly!  There are too many things to consider!  Too many crisis to solve!  So many sensations to enjoy!” but instead I usually just develop a bad case of wiggle arms and add more questions to list:

Don’t you want to slow down and savor every second of this time? 

Can’t you cherish the opportunity we have to sit with each other, problems momentarily set aside, and absorb the warmth radiating from our cups? 

Have we lost our ability to live in the present?

But then again, maybe I’m just drinking my coffee too slowly.