Uncategorized | August 05, 2005

Maybe it’s the caffeine. Maybe it’s the atmosphere. Or maybe it’s just a desire, consciously or unconsciously, to feel like a writer, even if you haven’t yet published a single sentence of prose or poetry. Whatever the case, coffee houses and cafés have long attracted writers and would-be writers, and in today’s Starbucks culture, it’s never been more popular–or convenient–to set up shop with your laptop and Wi-Fi connection and go to work on the Great American Novel.

So while reading A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway’s posthumously published memoir of his early days in Paris, Scott Kaukonen was struck by how often Hemingway wrote of himself in a café, working. In “A Caffeinated Feast,” Kaukonen considers the role of the coffee house and the café in his own routine.

“Still, the cafés perform a real function for those of us who choose to use them as Hemingway did. They provide the space and the framework for routine, and it’s this that a writer needs more than anything, even if the routine includes checking e-mail every twenty minutes. Hemingway established a routine as a young writer and did his best to stick to that routine. He hammered away day after day in his room and in the cafés of Paris. As for myself, I dedicated my first collection of short stories to my parents, but coffee houses were a close second.”

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