Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Coffee Shop Hop -- Jay

I’m doing a little experiment. It’s one of those experiments more accurately described as just an excuse to do something I want to do.

While I still love the coffee shop I do most of my writing in, I’ve decided to occasionally change my scenery. New scenery means new people which means new oddballs to observe. And oddballs are great for sparking ideas.

So yesterday I drove down to Santa Barbara, a beautiful beach town a little over an hour from my house. I was there from nine in the morning till about six at night. Other than a random shift of gravity which forced me into a movie theater (taking ninety-nine hilarious minutes to get out of), I spent most of my day in a new bookstore/coffeeshop. Being surrounded by the newness rejuvenated something in me. My creativity seemed fresher. My writing seemed fresher. I just might even smell fresher!

It was also Farmer’s Market in Santa Barbara, which is always a great place to people watch and look for future literary characters. As usual, there were a lot of street-side performers (mostly playing Beatles tunes). The only musician who was potentially book-worthy was a boy around twelve-years-old playing an acoustic guitar and singing. I’d never seen someone that young play at a farmer’s market by himself, which made the writer in my brain scribble down some notes for later use.

But the only oddballs I saw who might make it into my next novel were downstairs at Borders. One male and one female, they were in the children’s section…but they weren’t children. They could’ve been college-age, and they were laughing hysterically, using the picturebook reading area to wrestle. She was trying to prove she could pin him and he was trying to prove he could deflect her best moves without breaking a sweat. It looked like a ton o’ fun, which meant some poor employee was going to be asked to break them up. But that wrestling match (with their ages slightly deflated) just might find itself in my next teen novel.

The experiment is working!

- Jay

13 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

Sounds like a wonderful day. I love to people watch.

Tyler said...

I love it when I see other grown people goofing off in stores, as I am usually the one doing it.

A coffee shop hop sounds like an excellent creativity-inducing exercise. Unfortunately, all the coffee shops in my town (except for the starbucks) close mid-afternoon, and I do most of my writing later at night. What kinda caffeine-selling place closes so early??

Lisa Marnell said...

Too funny!

I am working at a middle school this year and I am astounded that so many girls hug their friends as they hurry to class. I was walking with an adorable sixth grader and four or five other girls must have hugged her as we headed to another part of the school.

Interesting social dynamic! I need to remember this.

Lisa

cynjay said...

I spent my entire college career working at Cafe Roma on State Street (the renamed but slightly grungy cafe is still there next to Supercuts across from the mall). Talk about stories to be tucked away - sheesh.

Disco Mermaids said...

There's definitely going to be more coffee shop hoppin' in my future (probably not where Tyler lives, though!). Maybe next time I'll announce where I'm going and some of you can join me for a creativity free-for-all!

- Jay

Katie said...

Don't tell anyone where you're going, silly! I have forbid my friends to come visit me, or else I would chat too much!

I think I will have a day where I accept appointments. hahaha.

holly cupala said...

A creativity free for all - now that would be fun. I get inspired by all the awesome writers out there (which is probably why I do a lot of blog-hopping before getting down to business). Think you might meet at a cafe in Seattle?

Anonymous said...

Hello Jay,
I am a thirteen year old and I love your book.
I was just wondering, have you thought about trying to find a director to turn your book into a movie?

Shelli said...

Jay - Got your BLog from Katie. Tanks for this post. It helped me pay more attention to those around me today. Sometimes when I am out, I forget to be present and am sure I miss alot of characters.
Shelli (Market My Words)
http://faeriality.blogspot.com/

Cuppa Jolie said...

Ah, Jay. I aspire. I'm so set in my ways at my coffee shop. Did you feel a little like you were cheating when you went someplace new? Just as much as I'm connected to the place, I'm connected to the people. But it's a great idea.

Under the Covers said...

Hope your coffee shop, Santa Barbara, and the rest of SoCal, stays safe during the fires.

Bridget Zinn said...

I love coffee shop hopping! You overhear the most interesting conversations. I swear the sisterhood of the traveling pants was at my coffee shop the other day -- it was so fun hearing these teen girls having their v. fun, yet v. serious conversation.

Susan L. Lipson said...

I love to sit in coffee shops, too. I listen to my IPod while writing on my computer or reading a book, and in between the rush of streaming words, I watch the wordless live movies playing around me, accompanied by my own soundtrack--specifically chosen for its mood-setting enrichment of my writing process. Sometimes when I look up, though, others are smiling or smirking at me, amused by my unconscious singing or the strange accents of my characters as I channel them, unwittingly, out loud! Enjoy a lotta lattes! Hope to see you all at SCBWI in NYC at the end of February! (Going?)