Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Writer and the Coffee Bean


Virginia Woolf spectacularly mentioned, in 'A Room of One's Own', that a woman needed a room of her own and five hundred pounds a year in order to write. This was sometime in the early 20th century when post Victorian folks preferred the ritual of the 'English tea'. As a 21st century writer it is quite safe to say,'A writer(irrespective of genetic makeup) needs access to a cafe, a few bucks to buy some coffee and plenty of goodwill to appease the cafe owner'.

I don't mean to sound presumptuous but this is something I see every time I visit cafes belonging to the 'Barista' chain. I invariably see someone sitting at a corner scribbling away furiously;a future writer perhaps.On some occasions there are couples or groups of people heatedly discussing something and then scribbling away at what looks like the script for a play.Such people are never asked to leave, they order very little and they are probably the last ones to leave. I may be guilty of wishful thinking but I am not alone in my assumption and I have concrete evidence to support it.

It turns out that J.K. Rowling started her career by scribbling away on paper napkins at cafes. A lot of struggling freelancers meet fellow writers at cafes. Films romanticize the illicit relation between the writer and the coffee bean. So one must wonder how the writer fell for the coffee bean in the first place? Was it an outcome of an unspoken tradition handed down from one generation of writers to the next, or was it a mild form of substance abuse? The former is more likely because writers seldom deny allegiance or homage to their forerunners.I prefer the latter.

On a personal note; coffee only makes the mind more effective for the sake of software development with a tinge of self-imposed insomnia.

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