A hot day today, spent mostly at the railway museum. I had fun, even though I sped for the room with the air conditioning every chance I got. I came home sore, but it was the good kind of sore, from the exertion of doing what you enjoy doing.
The initial reaction from my beta readers has been good for Fathom Five and my Harry Potter fan fic (entitled Letters in the Summer After the Fall of Voldemort). The latter should be appearing at Gryffindor Tower and Sugar Quill by the end of this week. Fathom Five will have to wait until after Rosemary and Time, the story it's a sequel of, debuts. So, 2004, 2005?
One of the arts of writing is patience. And yet writers can be so impatient sometimes. It's why we live in frustration.
Anybody know of any good coffee shops north of Waterloo region?
As you know, in indulging in our writing weekends, Erin and I sometimes like to go out of town, find ourselves a coffee shop or a bookstore with a coffee shop, and sit down and write. To the west of us, we have Stratford, an artisan outpost cunningly disguised as a small midwestern Ontario town. They have a great downtown and an excellent coffee shop called Balzac's where you can sit, sip and write without incurring dirty looks. To the southwest there's Oakville, whose affluent lakeshore strip knows good coffee when it sees it. Then, of course, there is Toronto, with a Second Cup or a Starbucks on every other corner, and decent independent stores if you're willing to look. Chapters/Indigo will do in a pinch
But for the rest of Ontario, you get your coffee at a donut shop. And we're not talking about Tim Hortons, which can do in a pinch when you really need coffee or you really have to write. I'm talking about blue collar joints where the cigarette smoke hangs in the air, the lights are fluorescent, the coffee bitter and nary an biscotti in sight.
Now, let me make clear that I have nothing against these establishments. I love them because they bring up other childhood memories, including catching snacks with my parents during a day trip, but these are not conducive to writing.
As I consider this, I realize that coffee shops are an artisan thing. And artisan communities (with the exception of Stratford) tend to grow up in University towns, or in larger cities with the populations to support them. To the west of Kitchener we have London. To the east we have Toronto. To the south we have Brantford (and the very chic Paris attached to it). To the north we have... ?
Owen Sound is the largest community north of Kitchener, and it's only about 20000 strong. The area north of Kitchener is historically known as the Queen's Bush. No rude comments please. It was undeveloped wilderness for sixty years after the settlement of the areas south of Waterloo region. Because it had such a late start, it hasn't had its chances to build its metropolises. The industries had largely shaken themselves out into the communities of southern Ontario. It's got great wilderness, but is a bit of a challenge for writing establishments.
But for some reason, my mind continues to turn north. Erin and I have been to Oakville, Hamilton, Toronto and Stratford several times, and we want someplace different. The north would be different. Perhaps we'll find something Sunday.