When my father palmed me a copy of On The Road he said, “I don’t know why, but I think you’re going to like this.” Whether he thought it would change my life or not, I don’t know. But I like to think he knew what he was doing, because until that point I hadn’t thought much of reading or writing, and I’ve been writing ever since.
Exercise is something I’ve always avoided. I’ve put it down to wanting more time to write. To be- ing self aware. “I’m just not that guy who exercises.” But after flirting with exercise over recent months, I’ve been forced to reconsider. Unfortunately, I’ve found my writing is more productive after a workout. I’m more engaged in the process after a cold shower. And I can write for longer if I limit myself to black coffee and clean food.
Coffee shops are micro climates. With layers and revolving doors that see people from all warps of life come and go. Coffee shops — much like galleries, museums and restaurants — are a good reason to go somewhere. They resemble culture, craft and community.
It’s a peace that I haven’t experienced in some time. Not since I lived on the farm, deep in the roots of the English countryside. Encompassed by the dry, sun-drenched odour of the earth. Moved only by the breeze that carries the promise of a summer harvest. Serenaded by the background sound of nature.
From under our noses, life becomes complicated — full of obligation and duty to ‘get by’, or if we’re so inclined, make something of ourselves. I’m guilty of it as much as the next man. And only now that time has slowed a little am I able to feel the chasm of time, space, and touch between me and my brothers. So, I’ve started to write postcards again. Signed, stamped, and delivered from one corner of the earth to another. It’s a lost art, really, like patience. Yes, it would be easier to text, but it’s not enough.
en it comes to choosing the next book to read, I’m plagued by something P. J. O’Rourke said. His words? “Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.”
Dialling in a new bag of coffee can lead to a lot of waste. When I worked at a coffee shop — while it was never good to waste coffee — it didn’t seem as catastrophic as it does now. The bags of coffee were bigger. The bank account wasn’t mine. And I had time to really dial in and nail it. Now, I rarely have time to make two coffees a day. So sometimes it’s a solid week before I get a coffee to a point I’m happy with.
Taylor Swift made it onto my top five artists on Spotify last year. Now, let the record state that I do like some of her music. Just nowhere near as much as my girlfriend. But, watching her sing and dance to Taylor Swift in the car is a magical thing and I’m weak for these moments. So, whenever she suggests a bit of “T-Swizzle,” I’m game.
Hunter S. Thompson once said there’s no honest way to explain the edge because “the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”
Today I’m pulled to the typewriter. It’s been a day of writing copy, on a laptop, for another client. And I wonder why I feel so compelled to it. Haven’t I had enough of writing for the day? The typewriter has become a symbol of the modern day hipster, but strip away the stereotype, focus on the form, and the typewriter re-emerges as the tool for the modern man.