Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Coffeeshop Confessional

Are you ready for a fun and easy creative writing exercise? I call this one Coffeeshop Confessional. It started back when I was in High School as something I did on a whim but I quickly realized how fun it was. Tonight I was a little pressed on time and couldn't head out to my favorite spot. Instead, I had to settle for the local Starbucks. Let me tell you, from my experience, they can't make a White Chocolate Hot Chai worth beans. But for the sake of creativity I have chosen to endure, to press on, to suffer in quiet solitude, not once mentioning how very hard this whole experience was for me... never letting on to the world that my White Chocolate Hot Chai (which is heaven on earth if made correctly) tastes roughly like someone opened a can of nasty and topped it with fake sugar made from saccharine (which is known to cause cancer in cows and small children in California - or so I've heard).
So anyway, this is how it works. You walk into your favorite coffee shop (see, this is where I went wrong). You nonchalantly stroll up to the counter, look the friendly coffee-person in the eye and say, "Hello there chum I'd like a pack of gum and if you have the time I'd like to kick you in the bum!"
Okay, okay, I was kidding about that part. I just made that up. Just order something that you enjoy, if you can't think of anything then start off with a Chai perhaps or maybe a nice cup of tea. If that doesn't work for you there's always the standard cuppa-joe. (coffee.) Make your way over to a table and make sure you have a napkin or two. If the coffee shop is a decent one they should have some music playing and the ambient atmosphere should be quite relaxing. The Starbucks I went to tonight was about as hip as hospital waiting room, but that's just what I'll go through for you guys.
Now that you're sitting down with your beverage of choice, relaxing, take one of your napkins and start doodling on it with a pen. After a minute if you've somehow stolen my brain and hijacked my thoughts your napkin should look something like this:



So, there you can see I've got my cup of yuck, my trusty pen of awesomeness, the notebook with my bebo story I'm working on, a straw wrapper, and my doodled napkin! If you can't tell what the doodle is, it's a tree thank-you-very-much!

So now that our totally linked brains are to this point you've drawn yourself a fantastic looking tree, great work! What to do now? (What? You say you haven't drawn a tree? You doodled something else? Well fine then, Sport, you do what you gotta do.) Now comes the fun part. You make up something. Just write whatever comes to mind. My clones and I have written a short little poem and doodled a little more. It doesn't have to be your best work, just write whatever comes into your mind. Don't spend too much time on it.

Done? Great! My clones and I have created this:



Nothing too extravagant tonight, like I said, I was pressed on time and drinking radioactive sludge. I don't know what excuse my clones have for themselves. Bad clones, bad!

So, there you are, sitting in your wonderful ambient atmosphere at your favorite coffee shop, gloating over how your White Chocolate Hot Chai is a hell of a lot better than mine was, thinking to yourself that your napkin is utterly and completely awesome... well, you ready for it? Here's the clincher. It isn't called "I've got an awesome looking napkin, I'm going to take it home and put it on my fridge!!!!" It's called Coffeeshop Confessional. You have to leave your napkin behind! (I think the people from Europe might be a little concerned about my use of the word 'napkin' by this point, uhh paper handkerchief? Yeah, whatever, it's a napkin!!!)

Depending on the place, I usually leave mine on the table and take care of my cup myself. I imagine some person unwittingly strolling by and throwing my little piece of work in the trash or blowing their nose on it. But one time I returned to a coffee shop I'd done this in after a couple of weeks and much to my surprise my napkin was posted proudly on the bulletin board. It was a mighty fine napkin too if I remember correctly. I've also tucked a one or two into the side of a lounge chair with the hint of a corner poking out, folded in such a way that the text is clearly showing.

Writing Exercise:
Oh come on, give me a break!!!! I want to see your Coffeeshop Confessionals! Email me a link to your post on your blog and I will collect the links and post them in a separate post here on mine. Just think of all the bonus points you'll get with the search engines.... (Yes, I will use bribery if I have to!)
If you don't like coffee shops I'll allow you to cheat. Just go to a restaurant or something.
Remember, you have to leave the napkin there so take a picture or just write about your experience.
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