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Let’s do coffee

March 28, 2021

Or maybe tea.  You could even have hot chocolate.  (If you chose first, I’d probably join you.)  If we were at the right coffee shop, I might order a vanilla chai latte for its cinnamon-clove scent that would complement the sweetness of our conversation.

If we could meet at any coffee shop, I’d meet you in Maine.  There’s a bakery in Brunswick that I found on a perfect day.  It has yellow-golden walls and huge windows that let the morning sun stream through.  There’s no chai, but mismatched mugs are stacked next to coffee tumblers and tea options on an old wood stove.  We can make guesses about each other by our mug choices, and write about them later in a slice.  On the day I stumbled into this cafe, a group of older women sat on the couches and armchairs clustered around a low, round coffee table, and I thought, This is my goal for the next phase of my life:  I want to have a group of friends who will meet me in this shop every Sunday morning.  We’ll order a muffin or a scone and share stories of our week.  (Okay, fine, someone will order only black coffee, and someone else will be healthy and order a fruit cup, but the right friends will back me up in ordering whichever baked good has chocolate chips in it that morning.)  You and I, we can be the founding members of our group, and build on, until the circle is so large we have to beg chairs from other tables and our laughter is loud enough it draws the attention of everyone else in the shop.

Today, since I’m still not fully vaccinated, we probably shouldn’t meet in Maine.  Instead, have a seat on my front porch.  I’ll bring you something warm to wrap your hands around, and a blanket to keep you toasty.  We can listen to the squawks of the red-winged blackbirds across the street and watch them rise and fall in the trees by the river.  We’ll watch the sway of tree branches and the ever-changing circles the raindrops make in puddles.

Tell me about what you’re reading. I’ll dart inside, to the bookshelves just on the other side of the porch, and press a book on you.  You’ll love it!  It’s sooo good! I’ll scribble down your recommendations, too.  What is that author’s name again?  From there, we can shift to talking about writing. We can talk about our favorite slicers, the ones we aspire to write like. I’ll make sure you’ve visited amyilene’s blog, the slicer I was lucky enough to be assigned to the year I joined the welcome wagon, who takes everyday moments and observations and spins them into poetic gold.  I want to someday craft my words into the layers of meaning that she makes look so easy, and to spark the kind of thoughtfulness that her reflections do.  I’ll make sure you’ve visited Voice of the Untethered, a slicer new to me this year. She’s like the cool student a few grades above you, that you aspire to be like, but know you never will. Her writing is both sparse and detailed–using just the right words, with nothing more. They’re full of caring and devastating beauty, and I despair of ever being that talented.

We can talk, too, about our own blogs.  Tell me about the favorite slice you’ve written this month.  Sometimes the ones I’m most proud of are the ones that just don’t happen to get many views. Let’s correct that, and send each other to read the posts we’re so proud of.*

Tell me, too, about the posts you haven’t written.  What is the post you want to write but haven’t been able to yet?  I’ll tell you about the crack in my coffee mug, that I want to draw metaphors around, but can’t quite figure out the right angle. If we sit for a while, both staring out into the sheets of rain that are now coming down, letting the silence linger long enough, maybe I’ll tell you about my struggles to join the party (check out this post if you haven’t seen the invitation yet), how I don’t have enough different superficial roles to write a description of myself, which mean I have to go deeper, to write about the layers of identity I keep inside, and that feels hard and risky, and I’m just not sure I have the energy to go there, …..but I want to join the party.  And then I’ll laugh and apologize for turning this into a therapy session–but I suppose that’s what good writing is in a way, isn’t it?–and ask you more about yourself.

Perhaps we’ll stay out on the porch until the rain has stopped.  Perhaps you’ll need to get back home.  By now the tea (or hot chocolate or coffee) has gotten cold.

I’m so glad you came.  Let’s meet again next week.  Maybe someday we can meet in Maine.

*Please do.  If you’re inclined to leave a comment, I’d love for you to include a link to your favorite post that you’ve written this month.

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  1. Your post is like a short story. I want to be among those women who meet at the Maine coffee shop (I would definitely order a chocolate chip scone) or sitting on your porch watching the rain (which here I can only watch from my apartment window). I especially like the graf about the posts we haven’t yet written, and thinking, deeply, about why. And your suggestion that we exchange our favorite posts for the month sent me back to look at mine and found several I really like (surprising; I often don’t like my own writing). Here’s one that illustrates my fascination with excavating my own past:

  2. Oh, yes….I’ll follow you to Maine for coffee, tea and maybe even hot chocolate. I love that you took this to Brunswick, which is precisely where I’ve considered going for the next phase (or at least somewhere close by). Thank you for the incredible shout-out; I am humbled by your praise. You’ll find me waiting on your porch, socially distanced but close enough to listen to your stories. One day.

  3. There’s such graciousness and grace here in your words… for the record, I’ll take the chai, the cinnamon-clove will win with me every time (when I was a child, I used to sneak in to my Grannie’s pantry and pull the tops off cinnamon and clove bottles in her spice rack. Heavenly aromas.). Your post is full love the loves and aspirations of your heart, and your willingness to give and to receive. It’s truly a virtual coffee visit, with the lovely, real images you’ve painted. I feel the longing in it…light, but also poignant.

    ok, so… this is a challenge in itself, picking a favorite post! Mine are all so different. I love to write memoir and captured several childhood memories, such as around the game of Yahtzee – but I am proud of some of the lines in this post about listening, so I will share it, with deepest gratitude for this coffee and Slice invitation!

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