I feel like such a “blogger.” I am sitting in an actual, non-chain coffee shop. There are mismatched tables, there are vinyl-backed chairs, there are drawings from the local elementary school children on the walls, there are apartments upstairs. I am drinking fair trade ginger peach green tea. It’s snowing outside.
I am reading (though not this minute, naturally) Dan Wakefield’s New York in the Fifties. I want to turn into Dan Wakefield when I graduate. I want to take a train called the Spirit of St. Louis, or the Pacemaker from the Midwest to New York City. I want to live in the Village and sup in mystical places called drugstores. I want to run into Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in someone’s smoky apartment. Mostly, I want what those men seemed to have: an assurance, right out of college, that they were in the place they needed to be and doing the work they needed to do. Oh, for that kind of certainty.
As it is, though, I’m sitting in a vinyl-backed chair in the Common Cup Coffeehouse in Morris, Minnesota. It is snowing outside, and cold. And for now, I think this is where I need to be.
“Hearing that plain Midwestern accent, as well as the plain thinking behind it, bolstered my confidence, proving that people from the hinterlands could make it in East Coast literary circles. It gave me courage to speak to some of my new classmates, jostling down the steps of Hamilton Hall after a lecture.
‘Hey, Van Doren’s great, huh?’ I said.
One of them shrugged, and in a nasal New Yorkese said, ‘I dunno, he’s a little too midwestuhn.’
‘Yeah, that’s it!’ I blurted out.”