For me, there’s nothing quite like breakfast in a Melbourne café to recharge the batteries. We returned from a month away last weekend and I found myself drowning in work this past week. Having set aside today to draft an overdue essay, I sought refuge at home.
One of my home-working rituals is to ready myself for the silence and solitude of my day with brekkie at a favourite café. The grub is hearty but healthy and the coffee has a richness that’s hard to find elsewhere; even in Italy. Today’s single origin was Kenyan with a figgy richness. It cleared my head from its jet-lagged haze, and my corn fritters reset my appetite to Melbourne time.
Now some might see my whimsical breakfast ritual as an unnecessary extravagance, but it sets me up for a day of writing, reading or pondering. I take my trusty moleskin and pen, a book or two and sometimes my laptop. My mind churns, the pages turn and the ink flows. With batteries charged, I return to HQ to write up my musings.
While away we visited London, Paris, Florence and Rome. With moleskin in-hand I sought for inspiration. Alas it did surface as it does in Melbourne. Not even an expresso at Sartre‘s Café de la Paix or a copy of Hemingway‘s Moveable Feast could awaken fresh musings. Why, I’m not sure. Maybe I lacked a desire to think or do. I was on holiday after all. Perhaps those experiences will bear fruit at a later date, as perhaps they are beginning to now in this blogpost. Or I wonder whether the settings weren’t right for me. After all, I did not repeat my ritual. The time we spent in cafés and restaurants, were not to set me up to write, but to enjoy good food and soak up the ambiance of a European summer.
So I wonder whether there’s something to be said for rituals and writing? From my first sip of coffee today, I felt like I’m back to it, I’m home. This is where I ply my trade. This is where my writing happens. This is where I belong. My ritual is about sustenance. I fuel up to write. Heningway, I sense was the same. In A Moveable Feast, besides lauding and scorning his peers, he visits and revisits a wealth of favoured Parisian hangouts to ponder and jot down prose in his own moleskin. Not all writers need a hangout though. Someone who recently inspired me alluded to his ability to write when on journeys. The thought of taking a train through splendid scenery intrigues me, and one day I’ll be sure to do so and to feel what motion does for my writing. But I know, for now, what works for me.