On Writing In A Cafe (The Creativity Series: Guest Post)

I’ve know Rita Bregman for a long time, more as an online presence but we have met, and talked on the phone. A displaced New Yorker living just outside of San Fransisco, Rita is a talent writer and good friend.

On this, the last Bornstoryteller for 2011, Rita offers you a poem from her book: On Amethyst Glass: Two Voices, One Song

On Writing in a Cafe

In the process of reading,

you concentrate on the lines,

and the words filter through you

as though through a fine sieve.

You can see them; you can keep a few,

but you don’t really need them.

But the process of writing takes you over,

drives and tortures you,

lets nothing in to save you —

no noise, no time,

no pain, no hunger.

It’s not a casual pick-up,

not a one-night stand.


It’s a long-term, symbiotic relationship.

You are one with your words,

and they with you,

(although you fight a lot),

and it’s a restless world placing words over words, under words,

turning inside out the world of rhythm and sound, time and space

that lives inside.

And you’re never sure if you’ve found that one right word

that will stand-in for your feelings…

…but you damn well know when it’s wrong!

Sometimes in the oddest places

you will become so excited by the combinations,

and so necessary to you are they,

that you will grab a lipstick pencil and an old, used tissue,

or write all around the borders of a road map,

just to see how the words work together….

because they are gifts to try on,

be amazed by,

and held onto because they are yours.

And then WHAM! You’re jolted!

Because someone across the room has dropped a cup on the tile floor

and shattered your concentration in a million pieces,

and you slowly become conscious that you’ve been writing

with a pen borrowed from the waiter

on a napkin,

over a wilted spinach salad,

in a cafe filled with laughing, young men in shorts,

and young women with no make-up reading novels,

and that you are the fossil

they know they will become some day.

Rita Bregman, © 2011

Happy New Year, Everyone. See you in 2012.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Misha
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 09:51:20

    Hey Stuart! Just wanted to wish you a prosperous new year. 🙂


  2. miruna
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 13:31:59

    Great poem!
    Happy New Year!


  3. Juliet Obodo
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 13:59:14

    Living in a small NYC apt has pushed me to get to know my neighborhood cafes & coffee shops. So much that I ended up writing my entire novel in different establishments around the city. I love it! I’ve actually written a book on


  4. Juliet Obodo
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 14:11:03

    Living in a NYC apt has led me to explore the cafes & coffee shops in my neighborhood. I loved it so much that I completed my first novel all around the city! I wrote a book about my favorite spots to write and blog in New York. http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/writers-retreat-new-york-city/id491558198?mt=11


  5. Penelope J.Penelope J.
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 16:02:19

    Wonderful poem! So true whether or not you’re writing in a coffee shop – though I’m surprised and awed that anyone can write in that ambiance. Love her description of how we choose our words.

    Best wishes for the New Year, Stuart.


  6. zencherry
    Dec 31, 2011 @ 14:02:11

    Faaaaantastic poem! 😀


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