Writing in public feels like a performance, but, when we’re dealing with literature, the performance is not what endures

Matt Lombardi, apparently fed up with pretentious writers observes:

“Writing in public feels like a performance, but, when we’re dealing with literature, the performance is not what endures. To put it another way: the final outcome is the performance. I can’t help but assume when I see the coffice-bound writer as one who privileges persona over results.”

I am a coffice-bound (coffee+office) writer almost daily. Sometimes I go back to my coffice a second time in the afternoon. No doubt my teeth (the non-veneer ones) are yellowing. I became a coffice writer while working, the coffee shop was the only place where I could write away from the suffocation of my cubicle. I have Bose headphones that go over my ears and block out most of the sound. I prefer as much comfort and seclusion as I can find during my public writing.

There must be a lot of writers in the world to make these kinds of jokes. Too many of them. My conclusion is I dislike all other writers.

From “How to Write the Great American Novel,”


I’m actually typing this article on a blue Selectric II typewriter in a meadow filled with ducks. I have a very long extension cord. Stop asking so many questions. I’m entirely unclear who was the first hopeful writer who thought the atmosphere at coffee shops was the ideal place to get some work done. It’s loud there and people are having completely awful conversations about their boring lives. (Side note: People having conversations in public: Please make them more interesting! Who told you your lives could be so banal?) Which is not to say I don’t have coffee with me. Coffee is portable. I got my little Dwight Gooden mug and the sounds of birds whose names I don’t know and also I think a little bird crap between my shoulder blades, but I can’t reach back there. One does not paint a masterpiece on a canvas with ketchup already smushed all over it. And it’s not necessary to be in nature to write great. The only great poem I have ever written was written on the Cyclone at Coney Island. It was about God living inside a vending machine and not accepting my wrinkled dollar. It will be in my obituary. What will be in your obituary? “Saffo wrote several middle-of-the-road novels that were fatally flawed for having been written inside a crowded chain coffee shop.”

Lombardi points out Hemingway was most likely responsible for the writer writing in a coffee shop mystique. I’ll have more to say about writing in coffee shops.

But I’d like to know where you write and why?