Coffee Shop Writer

Most of To Mean Something to Someone was written and revised in coffee shops. I need the bustle to stay focused. The summer after my freshman year of college, I returned home to find my house oddly silent. I couldn’t concentrate, so I decamped to my local coffee shop every afternoon after work. Since To Mean Something to Someone was written over a span of several years, my coffee shop locations have changed as I’ve traveled. Here are a few of my favorites:


Priscilla’s, Toluca Lake

I wrote the majority to To Mean Something to Someone at Priscilla’s. I would arrive, order a coffee, sit down, open my Moleskine, and scribble for the next two hours. A man once asked if I was writing in my diary, which seemed both quaint and unsettling. The Priscilla’s staff probably deserves a mention in any future acknowledgments.

Photo 107

Starbucks, Palo Alto

Several of my favorite scenes were realized here. I try to avoid taking photos of myself at Starbucks, but at least you can see my notebook here.



I eventually filled my favorite red Moleskine, necessitating a blue replacement. I couldn’t bear to retire my beloved red notebook though, so for several months I carried both with me. Taken days before I finished the novel.



I have a complex post-it revision system. I won’t attempt to explain it, but it makes sense to me– most of the time.


Tryst, Washington, D.C.

More revisions. I had one day off work, and I had no intention of squandering it. The large café au lait played a wonderful supporting role.


Les Deux Magots, Paris

Further revisions and the writing of several additional scenes. I used to visit Les Deux Magots every Sunday morning. A few neighborhood residents sometimes joined me, but I often sat on the front terrace alone. My life read like a Parisian cliché.

Of course, many more coffee shops hosted my tattered red Moleskine and me, but these were the ones where I returned again and again. They also happen to be the coffee shops where I took photos.

Anyone else have favorite writing spots?


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