Cafe Day and Other Adventures

Saturday, May 26th was the first ever Cafe Day. Here’s how it happened:

Frank and Elysia are new friends that I met through Natasha and Shane. Elysia is a graphic designer, and Frank is a writer. And they both love food, which means we hit it off smashingly.

One night, Elysia mentioned that she doesn’t illustrate or paint for herself anymore. Whenever she creates, it’s always for work and/or family. This is something I’ve heard many times – how a person gives up their art, whether it be painting, music, photography, writing, or whatever because it gets squeezed out of their lives. It saddens me immensely. I want people to reclaim that part of themselves!

The three of us got to talking – looking for ways to re-start Elysia’s personal work. It turns out that she needs people around her, and that’s how Cafe Day got started. We picked out a day when the three of us were free, and planned to bring our sketchbooks/notebooks to a cafe.

And it turned out really well! The weather was gorgeous – it felt like summer, and the company was very nice as expected. We sat outside, nibbled on sweets, and sketched/wrote to our heart’s content.

Elysia didn’t feel like she was productive enough, but she wants to repeat Cafe Day next month which is a great sign. As for Frank and I, we worked out the guidelines for a writer’s circle we are founding. (Which we are calling Work in Progress.) Once we had the groundwork settled, he sketched some figures for a book of short stories that will be coming out soon, and I polished some of poetry. After the fuss with Artemis, I decided to go after some low-hanging fruit, i.e. pieces that were conversational in tone and therefore didn’t require the same kind of strenuous effort.

As of the weekend, I now have seven poems completed, so it was a productive time. I also identified another four poems to include, but those will require a greater investment, including one, Third Chance at Resurrection, which is a personal favorite and needs Artemis levels of polish. I’m looking forward to it! (Isn’t that perverse?!)

All in all, it was a great day, which I’m hoping will become a regular event. As for Work in Progress, the next step is to recruit a few more writers. (We’re looking for another three.)

With that in mind, I went to Borderlands on Sunday. Borderlands is a wonderful bookstore in the Mission District that specializes in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. It’s got a terrific selection, and there are events aplenty as well. In fact, one of my favorite authors, Lois McMaster Bujold, read from her new book on Saturday. I would’ve attended, except that I felt that Cafe Day was more important. I did pick up a couple of books though, and the folks at Borderlands were amenable to us leaving a flyer. (Once it’s produced…)

And of course a visit to the Mission means a stop at Tartine – the best bakery/pastry shop I’ve found. Ever. The first time I had one of their eclairs, it was nearly a sexual experience. People on the street stopped to watch. Or maybe it was more like gay porn given the cream leaking out everywhere. In any case, it was amazingly yummy. Usually eclairs are a disappointment but not this one. The pastry was perfectly textured, the chocolate was Scharffen Berger, and you could see the specks from the vanilla beans in the cream.

The first time I ever saw a bowl of Tartine’s bread pudding, I wanted to put my face into it. It’s made with brioche, and yes, it’s that good. They also have a fantastic country loaf that is crusty on the outside and wonderfully spongy inside with a slight sourdough tartness. Happiness indeed. *sigh*

So, if you’re in the Mission, stop by Borderlands, pick up something interesting to read, then head over to Tartine. There’ll be a line, but be patient – it moves fairly quickly. If there are no tables, then just head up 18th Street to the park and have a picnic.

Take it from me, it’ll be a day well spent.

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~ by Samer on April 30, 2008.

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