I’ve been looking for suggestions on what to write. My creativity has been shot to hell lately, but the need and want to write remain.
Oddly, my requests normally fall on deaf ears but, this time I received a small windfall of them. Should keep me going for a bit, thanks to all who did that.
I am going to show a little bit of favoritism though and go out of order. Not because this suggestion may or may not have been from my wife (though, if you really want to get me to like your ideas more, marrying me totally helps) but because I’m sort of surprised I’ve never talked about it to any extent beyond a passing phrase.
The suggestion was to talk about what my dream job would be and wear I’d want to live. Basically my ideal existence.
So. Let’s crack this egg shall we? And, this is what I think would be the perfect life. Not the most realistic so, don’t poke holes in my dream. It’s just…something I like to think about.
I’m sure this comes to no surprised to people that I’d love to write for a living. I want to write novels, movie scripts, and, as I found out is fairly enjoyable after brainstorming with my wife, children’s books. I want to create things.
For a while, I thought that I’d want something like Neil Gaiman has, for writing. An isolated, magical looking building in the middle of the woods where he can just create. The more I think about it, the more I realize that might not be the best for me. If I had a place where I could go to escape humanity, I’d learn to love it pretty quick.
I think I realized this when my day dreams of having a Green Lantern ring went from having me flying around fighting crime, to, instead, sitting on the moon in a generated castle of my own design away from everyone else. Wife and son excluded of course.
So, how would I keep grounded in humanity? I’d bring back something from my past. In my perfect existence, I’d move somewhere warmer and more excepting of creativity, which, since I’m in Ohio, describes practically anywhere. Sometimes, in my mind’s eye, I’m in California or Oregon. I don’t know what it is about Oregon, but it seems like the perfectly place to get writing down. It’s like…the wooden cozy writing desk of the nation in my head for some reason. Or sometimes I’m on the east coast in a place like North Carolina.
But, the thing from my past (which I admittedly forgot to get to. It’s 6:30AM as I write this so forgive me.) would be the coffee shop.
For those that don’t know, I had a coffee shop. It was wonderful. It was tiny. It was mine. It had just enough room for five round tables with three more on the patio in the warm season. It was little, it was cozy, and it had a community bookshelf where you can take any book on it as long as you left one of your own. It had areas on the wall where you could post your art and people could buy it. We wouldn’t take a cut, we were just trying to promote art. It was glorious.
Over time it failed for reasons not of my own that are something for another blog (should I choose to relive that mess) but it told me that it COULD work with the right minds behind it.
But that’s what I’d want.
I remember getting to the shop at five in the morning, clicking on half the lights, leaving the blinds closed, turning on the systems, starting the coffee, putting out the baked goods and, as the air slowly grew rich with the smell of coffee and cake, I’d take out my laptop and start writing till I opened the doors at six.
It was the perfect place for a writer. It wasn’t a Starbuck’s, the place wasn’t packed. But you’d get people in there so you could still write. And if you were ever struggling to come up with a character, don’t worry, wait long enough and that character would show up and order an iced toddy. A thing I never knew existed till an eccentric man who ran a dance study and existed more swish and flare than any human should be allotted strolled in and just demanded we started brewing it. We did. He came in every day for it. He also ended up in one of my short stories.
But, to me, that’s perfect. Yeah, I can’t type for hours on end, but I can actually write in long enough bursts to not have enough time to talk myself out of an idea. I can have something that keeps me busy so I’m not left with my own thoughts long enough to tell myself I’m a terrible writer. And most importantly of all, I can keep tied to humanity just enough where I can remember how to write them, but owning the place, I always don’t have to adhere to the “customer is always right” mentality that absolutely destroyed society.
It would be perfect. I’d have it opened maybe eight hours a day. A home away from home. I’d hire on one or two people to keep the place running after my son got out of school so I could spend time with him and the missus. It would be perfect.
And even if the small business doesn’t make any money, in my dream, the additional income from the books and scripts and what not bring in enough to not only life comfortably, but also allow me to help fund the shop.
But yeah, that’s my ideal setting. I loved having the shop. I was the guy from the old movies. The classic bartender in a coffee shop. Standing there, trying off cups while some guy vented his demons to a complete stranger. Occasionally causing me to let out the odd chestnut like, “you ask me, you gotta get back on that horse. Don’t let it get you down. Chin up, be confident, and get out there.” That sorta thing. It was paradise.
There’s something about the tiny coffee shop which changes people. Mine was in this city in Ohio known as Garfield Heights. Not the best place in the world, but that’s where I’m going. It had a fairly impressive crime rate. It had kids that would vandalize things. Stuff like that. But if you sat in my shop, you’d never know it.
My costumers came in and respected me because I treated my regulars like family. I had this one woman who was a regular costumer, and over time, she’d come in as I was getting ready to close, and I’d dump the remaining coffee into those big to-go boxes and give them to her for free, instead of just dumping them in the sink like most places, so she could take them with her to her night shift job. I had this old vet who’d come in every morning right when the door unlocked and would sit down with a cup of coffee and a newspaper. Sometimes he’d vent his anger and fears. Sometimes he’d just be quiet and I’d let him pick the radio station. He just needed a place to be. And you’ve already met toddy guy.
My favorite were these kids. God help me if these kids were in a family sitcom I’d go back to watching TV again. They were hilarious. Maybe about 11-13. Somewhere there. But they’d get out of school and start coming in to play the Wii (I had a video game system hooked up for playing customers as long as they kept it down and were respectful). They also used the Wi-Fi to get online with their PSP’s since the library kicked them out for “looking suspicious”. They were black youth’s with hoodies. God forbid, right? So I took them in. Treated them well. Over time I became like an odd parent to them. They started buying Monster energy drinks, I got them into tea instead. It was healthier. *shrug* But something happened over time. One time, I had left my cleaning stuff out. I was busy, we had a wave of customers, and I didn’t have time to clean. When the wave was over…they were cleaning. The kids. One was mopping the floor, the other was wiping down the tables. They wanted too because they wanted to do something nice for me for letting them in. I almost wept.
But I had realized, that town filled with bigotry and anger didn’t have any place where people could go if they just wanted to not be hassled. They wanted to be treated like people. So I started doing things for the local kids. I sold ice cream. GOOD ice cream too by some company in Sandusky that made this stuff you’d swear came off the line an hour prior. I had this thing where any paying customer that had a DS and a Pokémon game would get a free “mystery egg” which was just me breeding some of the rarer Pokémon and keeping them on my system. They’d come in, buy something and then get something in their game containing a random Pokémon. It had a high ratio of Eevees but if that’s a problem for you, I don’t want to know you.
But I loved that place. It was just…positive. Any negativity from a customer was met with one of my favorite conversation pieces of all.
Customer: “Well, I can go to this place and get a better drink.”
Me: “And that’s fine if you think there’s is better. You should get there’s if you think that.”
Customer: “Well, I’m telling you that you didn’t make this correctly.”
Me: “I assure you I did. I know how to make those, I’ve made a living out of making them. You’re just used to the commercial process.”
Customer: “I want to speak with your manager.”
Me: “One moment” *I’d walk into the back and come out with a manager pin on.* “Hi! What can I do for you.”
Customer: “I’m not going to stand for this, I’m going to have a word with the owner…”
Me: “He’s actually cleaning out back, do you want me to get him?”
Me: *I’d go in the back and switch to a pin that said “OWNER” and come back out.*
Customer: *They’d leave in a huff.*
That’s how negative customers were dealt with. And you know what? They never came back. But the good people? The ones that treated you like a human? They’d be back almost several times a day because they knew that not only could you get real coffee, but that you wouldn’t have to encounter negativity. And if negativity DID show up, hilarity would often ensue.
I got off on a tangent there, but I just wanted to sell the point that I loved having that little shop. And I got so much writing done while I was in it.
So, to summate. I want to be somewhere warmer. I want to be successful in my writing and I want to do it all from a cozy little coffee shop I can call my own.
That’s not to crazy, is it? Probably. But it’s my dream.