One of my biggest challenges as a writer has nothing to do with putting words to the page. It’s waking up and deciding where to write. About half the time I’ll find somewhere in my house, either the dining room table or the desk in my bedroom-
(don’t knock the clutter, it’s intentional and I like it)
-and the other half I’ll go out into the world and explore. While home is convenient and its wardrobe (lack of) restrictions are appealing, it comes along with two adorable yet demanding dogs, an uncomfortable proximity to the refrigerator, lightning quick internet for hours of destraction, and a beautiful giant television. Fortunately I’ve always found watching TV during the day to be far too depressing and I only turn it on if there’s a not-to-be-missed Oprah/Ellen coming on, but if I’m planning to write into the nighttime, the temptation is definitely there. Thus, I’ve begun a hunt around LA for a more suitable environment. I launched a similar quest this summer in Seattle, which proved incredibly successful upon finding Bauhaus Books & Coffee. It was a coffee shop with a lovely wall of books to make you feel literary and cool.
(photo from Yelp)
The downstairs was a bustling coffee bar with bike riders and Seattle hipsters coming in and out, but the second floor balcony was perfection. Sunlight beaming in but not blinding, fellow writers/students at nearby tables, and just enough people watching traffic to provide inspiration when stuck in a scene. I miss it. I miss Seattle. Ugh.
My first venture into finding an appropriate LA spot was to hit up the Venice Beach area. I figured, Venice is wild and artsy, maybe I could find a cute place with a good vibe to dig into the script. I’m failing at finding the name of this place, but it was pretty perfect for a couple hours. Open air, great vegan salad, and- my personal favorite element- pigeons wandering across the floor. Nothing says “you’ve left Beverly Hills” like welcoming society’s most rejected bird into your shop. Here’s the problem. NOTHING in Venice has a public restroom. Even for customers. What kind of person fills you up with water, coffee, and tea, and just says “well there’s a bathroom somewhere along the boardwalk”? I went to a few of the neighboring restaurants and shops only to find the same situation. Not even for customers. I was annoyed, especially because after giving up on Venice I had to drive half an hour back to Westwood. I got about two hours of writing in, but for that kind of drive I’d rather pound through four or five. However, I did get to explore the boardwalk for a little while, which is always insane, always memorable, and always worth a little bit of sacrifice. When I’m homeless soon due to lack of employment, Venice Beach is where you can find me, camping out under a tree with my mutt.
Twice recently I’ve made the drive past Hollywood to the 101 Coffee Shop to bask in the diner decor, the creative ambiance, and the excellent music selection. I went with an ulterior motive- to check out the No-Huevos Rancheros, recommended highly by my vegan guru Quarry Girl- scrambled tofu, soy sausage, black beans, guac, salsa, etc, amazingness. It’s the most filling vegan meal I’ve even encountered. I can eat it at 11 am and be full until dinner. Anyway, I digress…
(photo via Quarry Girl)
The problem seems to be that there aren’t any electrical outlets in the booths or at the counter, so much like Venice, I max out at 2 hours when my computer dies. I confess though, I might not have been looking hard enough. Last time I had to leave due to overcrowding before my computer even lost power. I think the best time for 101 is mid-afternoon when the lunch rush is over. Still love that place and its too cool for school Hollywood writer vibe.
My next goal is so explore some more Silver Lake cafes. I have a sick obsession with Silver Lake, and I am determined to live there next time I move. Suggestions are very welcome. Westwood is lovely and safe and convenient and well groomed, but I just don’t picture myself writing my Oscar winning script in a UCLA Starbucks. However, a real writer should be able to make the best of any environment- which is why after I close this post I will return to the script here in my bedroom. At least until I can find someplace more like this:
(photo via inspirethisx)