Getting Out to Write
Once in a while, I take a break from my self-imposed writing seclusion and take my laptop to the coffee shops. I tell myself that occasionally I need to be around people and not limit myself to the four green-painted walls of my room. Yes, the frames are lovely to look at—one of them is Shanghai’s Pudong skyline in chrome—but one can take only so much green or chrome at a time.
One of my favorite haunts is Coffee Bean on Tomas Morato, in Quezon City. This was my hangout months before I finally got my Internet subscription. A— would tell me that J.K. Rowling wrote her earliest novels in coffee shops.
Coffee Bean offered free wi-fi access to customers, and on Sundays, I would hang out there all day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., taking a break every now and then for lunch at a nearby Jollibee or at the vegetarian place Greens on Scout Castor. I would sometimes take time out for church at 6 p.m., which was just down the street, and come back to finish writing or surfing at 10 p.m.
What I enjoyed the most about working away from home was people watching. Coffee Bean on Tomas Morato is where nursing and law students go to study. I would see couples studying together, and I would wonder if they really got any studying done. (I, for one, cannot write when the boyfriend is within an arm’s reach.)
I also loved going to Glorietta’s Gloria Jean’s, which, like Coffee Bean on Morato, offered free Internet. What I loved about it was that very few people went there to study, so for most of the day, I would be the only one working. Compared with the two-story Coffee Bean, Gloria Jean’s is just one big space, and I could trust the baristas to watch my laptop while I sneaked off to the bathroom. Of course, it also helped that it was at a mall, so when I got tired of working, I could go window shopping.
If you’re not really concerned about being online all day but just need to write in a public place, you could go to Greens, my favorite vegetarian restaurant, which is also near Morato. The place is originally a house and was converted into a restaurant. You would love the private “function room.” I usually sit by the window and ask them to turn off the air-conditioning so I could write al fresco and enjoy the view of the garden.
If security were not a problem and if only my battery would not die on me, I would really love to work at the Sunken Garden in UP because I like listening to ambient sounds while working. I don’t like absolute silence when I write. While the tick-tick-tick of the keyboard sounds sexy at times, I also love hearing the chirping of the birds or the kids shouting at play from a distance. It gives new meaning to the imperative, “Get out, have a life, and write about it.”
Photo credit: Woodsy