Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Rule no. 7

Robert Masello is my new best friend. As the author of Robert’s Rules of Writing: 101 unconventional lessons every writer needs to know he has claimed his ‘new best friend’ status through the inclusion of rule no. 7: SKIP THE STARBUCKS.
Now I hate Starbucks. I hate them because:
  1. They are blatantly homogenising the whole of the world with their green and black logos on every high street.
  2. They have coaxed Joni Mitchell out of retirement to record a CD for them which they will then overprice and put in a basket next to the carrot cake.
  3. They sell carrot cake and I love carrot cake and sometimes I want to liberate the carrot cake, but that would involve going into their shops and parting with cash.
  4. Sometimes I crack...
Still none of these reasons figure in Robert’s explanation of why you should not go. No he says:
Starbucks is where writers who want to be seen in the act of creation go, who treat writing as if it were some kind of performance art. They want to be admired, they want to be soothed by the ambient noise and the occasional glance of an attractive patron. They want to be asked, “What are you working on?” so they can sit back and talk about it.
Or scowl importantly and say, “Sorry, I can’t be disturbed right now.”
When, if they really and truly wanted to be undisturbed, they’d stay home and concentrate.
As one who doesn’t write in a café, I can sit here sanctimoniously and pretend I’m a serious writer. Actually it’s because there is no ambient noise in a café, there’s a cacophony competing with the voice inside my head. So what do you think about rule 7?
Oh, by the way Robert's also not saying to skip Starbucks for ever, just when you’re writing. I, on the other hand am advocating a world wide boycott.
And Lastly, the launch of The Opening Chapter Blag is not today. This is apparently due to some of the contributors not reading their e mails and watching the deadlines pass them by, tut! It will be out in September. Right, where's the paracetamol?


kyklops said...

Sigh... Starbucks. Look, here's the "rule": if you have to order your coffee before you sit down, then the place is a dump. I hate Starbucks and any place that looks like Starbucks. Unless, of course, you want to walk home sipping your coffee...

Verilion said...

So does that mean you're joining in with the world wide boycott? Yeah. Not having frequented Starbucks that much I didn't realise that they were so like McDonald's. But you're right they may have replaced plastic chairs with IKEA sofas but it's still a dump.
BTW how did you get the italics? I always get error messages whenever I try something fancy in the comments.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I'll have to agree with that whole boycotting Starbucks thing.
I'm in.
I was a pretty big fan for a long time (and they have several overpriced products that I love), but really... I am over it.

There are a couple of fabulous little independently owned coffee shops here in Denver that I LOVE.... great atmosphere, good people... great coffee etc.

But they're not a good place to focus and write.

Parks, however, on a nice afternoon... that's another thing altogther.

Good rule.
I'm off to get the book now.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

c.s. said...

when you come to Singapore, let me take you to our local coffee shop and taste our local kopi-o aka black coffee. if you love coffee, you'll love our kopi-o.

used to hang out at starbucks and coffee bean outlets. but think they can't beat kopi-o that tastes more bitter (and tastier) but cost much cheaper.

The Quoibler said...

My personal feeling is that all such pseudo-coffeehouse places should be boycotted.

I mean, come on. On the one or two occasions I've wandered into one of these places (usually to ask them for contributions for local fundraisers... I've never even tried their coffee...), I wanted to escape immediately.

I'm a social person, but hanging around drinking overpriced crap with funky-monkey names just doesn't float my boat. Give me some good old Maxwell House on my back deck. Now THAT'S luxury!


(Thanks for the kind words on my blog, by the way!)


kimy said...

right on! I love hearing about more people disgusted w/starbucks. more than that, I love reading that there's actually a WORLDWIDE boycott! thanks for giving me more reasons to abhor them (alto I had more than enough) - I can proudly claim I've never given them any of my hard earned 'do-re-mi' not even when in the company of others who obviously aren't as filled w/ righteous indignation as I over their shenanigans (eg lying about the %-age free-trade coffee purchases -it's minuscule; and then there's that whole world domination thing-y they have going!!) around my house we call them 'starfvcks' ...yeah, rude, what can I say.

I am so disappointed in joni!!!! I can't believe it! gosh, what has happened to our musical icons! bono with ipod; bob and the victoria secrets and now joni..... hell in a hand-basket for sure!

Verilion said...

Hi Scarlett, yes I couldn't agree more. I like parks on sunny afternoon's too. Oh and I wouldn't go and rush out and buy the book. It's very tongue in cheek and it was a pressie.
CS, bitter coffee, mmm. I'm trying to remember what the Bali coffee was called. Now that was strong.
Hi Angelique, yay for boycotting crappy coffee houses. Good luck with your story too.
And hi Kimy, yep unfair fair trade, wiping out all the independent stores by flooding the market with their stores. Don't people want choice anymore? Grr...

kyklops said...

Verilion, re: the italics: have you tried the "" tags (without the quotes)?

kyklops said...

Doohh!! I should have known the tags would disappear after posting. OK, <+i+>text<+/+i+>. Remove all the +'s!

Verilion said...

But I do that and it never works!!!

Verilion said...

OH! Look! How did that happen?

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I am delighted to report that there are no Starbucks here! Yeah! It's true! Having had the misfortune to once heading into a Starbucks in London I wholeheartedly support your boycott, V!
As for writing in a cafe - I always thought a bohemian sort of place with rickety tables, interesting patrons, real coffee and Edith Piaf warbling in the background was a more suitable place for writing - though personally, I prefer the absolute silence of my own space.
The other two may be useful for people watching and character gathering...depending on what one is writing.


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