9 AM, Coffee Shop: Slice of Life 6/31 #sol17

slice of life

I’m going old school this morning. Unplugged. It’s just me and my notebook. I turn my phone off. I keep my laptop in my bag.

I’m sitting in the local coffee shop, which looks and sounds exactly like a coffee shop should. Exposed stone walls, hardwood floor, mismatched tables and chairs and china cups. There is local honey for sale and handmade soaps and art by local artists. Photos, sketches, paintings, all with optimistic price tags. $295.00 for a pastel drawing of a deer with flat, black-button eyes. The artist has added a 50% off sticker, and then, in larger letters, “OR MAKE OFFER.”


There is light jazz playing. I wish it were Jack Johnson. Nothing says indie coffee shop to me quite like Jack Johnson.

The coffee isn’t special, but it is good. Hot, extra foamy just the way I like it.

I eavesdrop, like I always do in a coffee shop.  There is a woman wearing a baseball cap and cowboy boots and she’s talking ranchy stuff–hitching trailers to pick-up trucks and birthing calves.

Everyone who comes in has to talk about the weather. It’s spitting snow, and the wind is picking up. Wyoming weather, I call it, because as far as I can tell, the wind is always at gale force in Wyoming. The forecast is for winds at a steady 30 mph with gusts up to 65 mph. The front door blows open at one point and blasts us with cold air. An old man who’s never taken off his coat and hunting cap shuffles to close it, muttering under his breath about ghosts in these old buildings.

My notebook captures it all.


unatatended children.jpeg






35 responses to “9 AM, Coffee Shop: Slice of Life 6/31 #sol17”

  1. Michelle @litlearningzone Avatar
    Michelle @litlearningzone

    I love going old school once in awhile. This was beautifully captured first in your notebook and also here. I felt like I was sitting right beside you eavesdropping on all that was happening around you in the coffee shop. I love your last line too.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think I would do more writing if the phone and laptop were left at home! It’s hard to discipline myself to turn off the distractions and concentrate.

  2. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) Avatar

    Love this characterizations in this post. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about my schedule this year is that I have one morning where I don’t teach the first period, so I get up & leave the house at my regular time and head for a coffee shop instead. Maybe I’ll have to do more listening next time …

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      How delightful! I love starting my day off at the coffee shop with a little writing. (I also loved having a first period planning period! I needed just a bit more easing into my day before I was “on”!)

  3. djvichos Avatar

    It’s funny how one coffee shop can be like another. If I didn’t live in Chicago, I’d swear I’ve been in this coffee shop. You capture it well, the local honey for sale, light jazz, and the mismatched tables. I enjoyed the subtle humor (or at least, I found it funny). My favorite part was the half priced art or make an offer. LOL.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It really is funny to me too! I live in western South Dakota, where country music is on permanent blare in every public place and cowboys seem to be the main decorating theme, yet every indie coffee shop I go to could be moved to just about any other place in the country and fit right in!

  4. Katie Kraushaar Avatar

    I felt like I was right there with you! It’s funny how coffee shops are all so different yet the same. I’d love to read more about the old man muttering about ghosts. I think there’s a story idea there…

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Katie! There were quite a few characters who came in and out while I was there.

  5. Ms. Pesta Avatar

    Wish I was there! Love sitting in coffee shops; they all have their own vibe. They are also a fab place to sit observe and eavesdrop.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Eavesdropping in coffee shops is one of my favorite things to do! I think my writing students think I’m joking when I say that. But there’s something magical about listening in on other people’s conversations when you’re a writer.

  6. mlb1202 Avatar

    Love the description you gave in your post! Agree with many others that we felt like we were right there with you! I also LOVE Jack Johnson and agree he would have added to the ambiance of the place!! 🙂 Got a good giggle from the picture for the unattended children! Lol.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That picture made me laugh too. Isn’t Jack Johnson perfect for a coffee shop?

  7. wahooteacher Avatar

    This slice is a great inspiration for going “old school” because of all that you were able to capture. I felt as though I was sitting right there with you.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks! I find I write very differently when I start in my notebook rather than on the computer.

  8. Shari Daniels Avatar

    Oh, I love this. Your first photo and the description of the price on the art – priceless. It paints a picture perfectly of the artist who values her work, yet needs the money. And, the weather. I think you are having what is coming our way tomorrow. Seriously though, we could just write “weather stories” all week long in eavesdropping people and their talk. Why is it our culture to navigate to weather talk all the time. So interesting. Thank you for painting this picture, Elisabeth. I felt like I was there. 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      So many people I didn’t know stopped by and interrupted my writing to talk about the weather, LOL. And then shuffled along to the next table to interrupt that person and talk to THEM about the weather too. And in the middle of it, I got a text from my mom…about the weather. It was awesome!

  9. Karen Terlecky Avatar

    I don’t even like the taste of coffee, but your post has me wishing I did. I’m missing a great deal of atmosphere by not requesting an independent coffee shop (or at least yours) – thank you for painting this picture for a non-coffee shop person like me.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think I started drinking coffee just for the atmosphere of the coffee shop–and then I got addicted!

  10. lindabaie Avatar

    We have that wind here too today, and clouds, sometimes a peek at the sun, then more clouds are blown in. Your shop is not a surprise, but sounds nice. I like that they have local art and honey, always wish I had lots of money so I could help those hopeful artists. Thanks for the peek!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I always covet the art in coffee shops too–even the kind of ugly stuff. There’s such hope and bravado in a person who makes something ugly and then offers it to others for the price of my monthly grocery bill!

  11. Anne Donnelly Avatar

    There are so many wonderful rich details in this piece! I love all of the characters you’ve captured, anchored by the sounds, sights and smells around you.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks! I love the inspiration of the coffee shop environment. I feel like I could write a slice every day at a different coffee shop, just trying to capture the sights and sounds.

  12. midwesternheartindixie Avatar

    Love this! I felt like I was right there! Last year I would use an app that recreated the sounds of a coffee shop to help me concentrate. This made me want to find it again. 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’ve used that app before too! Thanks for reminding me of it. I might have to pull that out again this month!

  13. Emily Culbertson Avatar

    Local coffee shops are the best. I especially loved your comment about Jack Johnson. One of our kindergarten teachers plays Jack Johnson, everyday, during Writing Workshop. He must emit some strong creative vibes.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I don’t like vocal music when I write, but somehow I can always write to Jack Johnson. He’s definitely a favorite at my house. Love that your K teacher is exposing young writers to him early–AND love even more that they are doing Writing Workshop in K. That gives me hope!

  14. carwilc Avatar

    Like several others, I love those local coffee shops! You capture it so beautifully, right down to the black button eyes and the half price or make offer sticker. Perfect!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Do you have favorite shops in Denver? I tend to combine my coffee shopping and bookstoring when I’m in Denver and settle in at one of The Tattered Covers.

  15. carriegelson Avatar

    I love the optimistic price tags. One day, Ms. Ellington, you and I need to have a coffee together. In real life. It could be your jazzy haven safe from the blustery winds or my West coast place with wide wood benches to stretch out and get dry from the rain. One day . . .

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes, a thousand times yes, and my pick is your place because I miss rain so much. But I’ll take coffee with Ms Gelson wherever I can get it!

  16. Akilah Avatar

    OMG, that last picture is amazing. And thanks for giving me a reason not to move to Wyoming. Hard pass on those winds.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Every time I drive through Wyoming and have to stop for a break, I’m nearly blown over by the winds. Sunny days, cloudy days, winter, summer, doesn’t seem to matter. I *loathe* the wind.

  17. jarhartz Avatar

    What a wonderful picture you painted, I’m right beside you wondering about that man who didn’t take his coat off. And that wind! Thank goodness for the warm coffee!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      And his fuzzy hunting cap! He was sitting at a table of equally elderly men–all of whom were still wearing their coats even though it was quite cozy in the shop.

  18. […] A description of writing at my local coffee shop […]

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