MAX BARRY TOPIC NO 3: The Coffee Shop: What: You take your laptop, order a coffee, and compose your masterpiece in public

The Coffee Shop

What: You take your laptop, order a coffee, and compose your masterpiece in public.



Totally didn’t go to a coffee shop today with my laptop or anything else. Wimped out completely. Didn’t even move to a different writing spot. I could at least go out on the verandah but I probably won’t. I have been writing in other places all week because I have been staying with family and that has mean the corners of unfamiliar rooms and on my bed.

In addition, I did go out for the day today. The power was off here. We had forgotten that. They sent us a message before Christmas but we forgot about it. That sent me scuttling out into the world. The world today was a pleasant place. I visited Kati B and the baby and we went to Gleniffer for a swim. Its also known as the Promised Land out there and the Creek is the Never Never.

Its not a coffee shop and I didn’t take my laptop out anyways. I did take my camera. I still like the coffee shop idea. Perhaps I shall trace my internet usage over the years – briefly – within the coffee shop framework. And also, the motel.

Way back, when the Net was new, I stayed from time to time in Sydney. I used to take the bus to Glebe and use the computers in an Internet Café. Did the same thing in 2001 in Coolangatta,

Before laptops were common that was.

Libraries gave free Net access and community centres provided it cheap. All the writing and searching was then done in  public. With tight time limits on it. Once I had  a full on dispute with a librarian in Tweed Heads who wouldn’t let me use the computers due to not being a local.

Then dial-up came in Meant I could write at home but slowly and with no phone access while doing so.

These days are good days for me.

Laptop. Mobiles. Good times. Might find some pics of me out and about with laptops. No, I shall look for images of places in which I have done my writing. Usually at the window watching the passing parade.


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27 Paxton Avenue. Belmore, Sydney. I grew up in this house and began writing at the windows on the far right.

In 2002, I was driven to living in shared accommodation in Tugun on Queensland’s Gold Coast and my writing was restricted to my one room. That’s the windows there.

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2005. In Bilambil Cottage.

Looking North to Queensland.

The outdoor writing table at Bilambil Cottage. 2005.

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The LINDEN GALLERY where I sold fine art and did my writing standing at the windows which overlooked the pool.

The spare room in Camperdown where the computer was kept.

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The Camperdown setup. 2006.


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The LINDEN GALLERY setup. 2006 Bilambil.
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2006 Bilambil

2007. Sharing resources due to Gold Coast Resort having no net facilities.

The new ACER laptop. 2008 With mobile broadband. Vodafone (which sucked but freedom had begun). AND the cordless mouse.

That will do me for today. The Coffee Shop assignation is still with me. I will close with some feedback from Bellingen Writer PIP WILSON.

Pip Wilson  http://www.facebook.com/pip.wilson

Julia, a writer herself, ages ago asked how I’d actually written a very long novel (Faces in the Street). My strategem had been to set myself 1,000 wds/day, 7 days/week. I had a ball, and liked the result. Now, after searching, & heat, I’m about to start that easier thing I mentioned here recently, my memoirs, at one par a day. Fun for me, easy, and a wonderful part of my healing process esp. vis-à-vis memory.


The Word Target from MAX.

What: You don’t let yourself leave the keyboard each day until you’ve hit 2,000 words.



Right then. Having let myself in for this one, best not back off now. With the DANA  challenge nearing its end and my starting this one 2 days earlier due to the shortness of February, I shall settle into the size and shape of it. First thing I am doing is cutting the  number of words back to the 250 I have become accustomed to because this is blogging and not novel writing and I shall add another 50 and round it off at 300 words before I leave the computer.

Second thing I am doing is locating myself within my evening. Heard a noise before. Out the back. We went looking to see what it was and it turned out to be an OWL. A very big owl. Its flown off into one of out trees and I haven’t found what it was doing in our laundry area. It sure is beautiful. I read a book once called “I heard the owl call my name”. This owl has been around for a couple of months.

I don’t know what calls I am hearing in this owl hooting year. I do some cussing and some weeping and lots of the time I am cold and emotionally wandering. Today, I am looking for a place to stay in Port Macquarie. A cheap place for a night or two for my children and my grandchildren – and me.

I almost took a back road today from a ferry in Port Mac. The road called Maria River to Crescent Head but changed my mind. 37kms of dirt just didn’t appeal to me today. Brought back memories of the Old Tenterfield Road.  Aha!



A second challenge. I have left the American Spelling due to its being written by an American. Now let’s see how this project translates to an Australian Older Mind. Thank you to Dana Creative for the challenge. Not that he was challenging ME. Its just that I rather fancy it. Seems a fine way to begin 2011.  I won’t use any images in the 30 day challenge and may therefore be compelled to WRITE. I am 5 days into January before discovering the Challenge so I shall have some catching up to do.


  • Day 01: Something you’re looking forward to this year.
  • Day 02: Something you regret not having done last year.
  • Day 03: Something with which you struggle.
  • Day 04: Something that is part of your routine that you enjoy.
  • Day 05: Something in life that gives you balance.
  • Day 06: Something that excites you and fills you with joy.
  • Day 07: Vacation Hiatus
  • Day 08: Vacation Hiatus
  • Day 09: Vacation Hiatus
  • Day 10: Something at which you’ve been a champion or the best.
  • Day 11: Something about which people seem to compliment you.
  • Day 12: Something you hope to change about yourself and why.
  • Day 13: Discuss some of the things on your bucket list.
  • Day 14: Someone who has made your life worth living.
  • Day 15: A band/musical artist whose music impacted your life.
  • Day 16: A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
  • Day 17: Someone with whom you shared a friendship/relationship that simply drifted out of your life.
  • Day 18: Someone you met randomly that’s made an impact on your life.
  • Day 19: Something that shook your belief system to its core (a big disappointment in your life).
  • Day 20: Discuss your favorite movie and why it’s so special to you.
  • Day 21: Write about your best friend (not significant other) and what makes them special.
  • Day 22: Describe a dark/turbulent moment in your life.
  • Day 23: Describe a truly spiritual moment in your life.
  • Day 24: Discuss a spontaneous moment in your life that that turned out to be fantastic.
  • Day 25: Discuss something you planned that ended up not being what you expected.
  • Day 26: How do you handle/deal with both success and failure?
  • Day 27: What is your vocation (why are you here on earth)?
  • Day 28: What is your biggest dream in life (what one great thing do you want to accomplish)?
  • Day 29: What WAS your biggest dream in life (you wanted to do as a kid but no longer can)?
  • Day 30: Someone in your family that means so much to you.
  • Day 31: Epilogue: Write a letter to yourself.


We also want to commit to this exercise and not make it overbearing, yet ensure the content is readable. For this reason, we agreed on word count parameters whereby each entry must be at least 250 words in length but no more than 1000, unless, of course, the power of inspiration kicks in and the piece basically writes itself.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out and thank our friend Rebecca Smith for the idea of this writing challenge. Her blog entry, Thirty Days of Truth, gave us a starting point for this project. Couple that with the writing project being covered by The Daily Post and we have a very solid framework on which we can build our writing challenge.