It rained very very heavily yesterday. So my plan of heading to a cafe for an afternoon writing session went out of the window. It didn’t stop for one second so I worked in the kitchen in the morning and then retreated upstairs for a bit of variation in the afternoon.
Today, however, the weather has been glorious. Which meant that I could reward myself after a productive morning with a trip to my local cafe for a writing sesh. My cafe of choice was Pulp Fiction Future Foods. A recent addition to my local eateries (& former Virgin StartUp of the Week!) Pulp Fiction’s mission is to bring us nutritious, delicious and medicinal Future Foods & Pressed Juices. Unlike, my kitchen which contains many many foodstuffs that are not necessary what you might call ‘brain food’, here you can ramble on about reflexive self-ethnography to your heart’s content – whilst sipping on a super berry smoothie.
In her amazing blog, the édu flâneuse, writes about her love of cafes as writing spaces. She talks about the “right amount of people-buzz, good tunes, quirky touches, and sometimes a view”. I had all of those in abundance this afternoon.
The people who wandered in didn’t really distract me from the work. My ears only really picked up when I heard talk of lawyers (which was a lot! you can’t escape!) and one particular moment when a young man was talking to his companion about being a law student and having a career in law.* They were essentially mini breaks – couple of seconds here and there – before getting back into it. The music was fab. And because I wasn’t in control I couldn’t do that thing of scrolling for ages trying to find the “best” writing music. It just played and there was nothing I could do about it. And who doesn’t like a bit of the Five Stairsteps?!
The head space of the cafe meant that I managed to mindmap the panel presentation for a one day symposium that has been swimming around my brain for what seems like an age. Getting that finally on a piece of paper was a positive step forward. It helped me to work out exactly what it was I was trying to say, and see where I had gaps. I’m really excited about being part of the One Day Symposium, Negotiating Recent Reform in Higher Education: the Question of Student Engagement at Newcastle University next month. I want to make sure that my arguments are well formed and executed. Mind mapping helped me to see how everything is fitting so far and where I need to get to. So far, the cafe is definitely up there as one of my favourite writing spaces.
- Food for the soul: great food promoting healthy brain function (note: this may not have been the case if I had gone elsewhere – pick your cafes with care….)
- A never ending supply of people walking pugs past the window. Amazing.
- I really made use of my time when I was in the cafe as I saw my time there as a proper luxury. I didn’t want to waste it by absent-mindedly checking my phone.
- The law. It really does follow you everywhere. It was sorely tempting to get involved in the various discussions that peaked my interest.
- Once you’re outside, in glorious sunshine, it’s hard not to think that you’re on holiday. Once I’d finished my mindmap and read a chapter of my ethnography book, I grabbed all the treats I possibly could from the dessert section and ran back home as quickly as humanly possible – lest I decided to join the pug walkers!
*Dear Young Man Who Was Sat At The Window Seat, if by any chance you come across this I’d be more than happy to talk to you about being a law student and then becoming a commercial lawyer. I’ve done both. I’ve worked for the ‘big firms’ you alluded to and if you’d like to chat please get in touch.