F and I have been hill people for about four months now. We have moved into our farmhouse. We have made some friends. We have a couch and half a bed. It’s time to let go of Chicago.
No, no, not you, my Chicago friends! Not you at all.
It’s time to let go of my Chicago writing spots. I have been mourning their loss in the mornings, at lunchtime, and especially on Sundays. I remember where I wrote each and every line of the BP. I remember each cup of coffee and the finer points of each pastry. I remember the satisfying way my back would ache after writing on the floor at Kopi and the sweet stink of burnt coffee that clung to my clothes after writing at The Pig. I remember the lingering taste of potato-chip cookies after writing at Twisted Sister, and I remember the humiliation of being asked to leave the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel because I was obviously not a paying guest.
I have been a hill person for four months now. In these four months, I have finished the BP at kitchen tables that were not mine, picnic tables in part-shade, and library carrels haunted by the ghosts of art history PhD candidates. Even my beloved farmhouse was a borrowed writing space. It felt wrong, somehow, to write the BP not in Chicago, since it was written almost entirely in the nooks and crannies of the windy city. Now it is done. Now we have moved, and I must move on.
At last, as I slip deeper into the world of the new BP (BP2), I am beginning to discover new writing spots. I can finally let go of the old.
I will share these new writing spots next time, but today I’d like to bequeath my Chicago writing spots to my Chicago writing friends, since I need no longer fear that you will steal them from me.
To Oline, I bequeath:
The Lobby of the Renaissance Hotel (perfect for lunch-break writing!)
Just be sure to alternate your days with some other writing spots, lest a giant posing as a security guard ask you to leave because the actual, paying guests need to use your chair. Even if you’re wearing a suit and the lobby is empty.
I shall also give you, my fellow cookie-lover, the two best pastry shops in Old Town: Twisted Sister (potato-chip cookie!) and Delightful Pastries (chicken cookie!).
Kopi Cafe, where oft we came together to murder our darlings, dissect sex scenes, and commiserate over queries.
This is a particularly special writing spot because F and I spent every Sunday morning at Kopi with our legs wedged under the front table, draining mug after mug of the best coffee in Chicago. We even had a Sunday Kopi song. If you want to hear it, you’ll have to give me a call.
You, my first Chicago friend, shall have the first of all the Chicago writing spots. I bequeath to you, The Pig.
You’ll need to wash your clothes afterwards, but it’s worth it.
Who needs a room of one’s own when you can have writing spots that serve coffee and cookies? I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have!