Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Waffle House and the Creative Process

It’s really quite amazing how much just being around people can inspire a novelist. I don’t even really pay much attention to them unless I’m stuck on a word or a scene or a piece of dialogue. I don’t stay stuck nearly as long when I’m around folks. I don’t know if I pick up on the energy of the people around or if I subconsciously hear something that somebody said or notice some errant movement. Whatever the magic is, it works for me.

This is why the Waffle House is so important. Although I’m rather displeased with the fact that you can’t smoke at a Georgia Waffle House anymore, I still go there when I know I need to do some writing and my apartment gets too damn depressing to inspire any sort of creative thought. Ah, I’ll quit soon anyway.

You can’t expect to work straight through at the Waffle House either. There’s always someone there to offer some brief distraction which can be really helpful. Granted, there are sometimes those regular WaHoo patrons who distract to hindrance, but they usually mean well. I suppose I should expect it. The little girl sitting by herself, ordering only hot water, putting creamer in her tea, hiding under a black beret and behind a laptop screen is a bit of a Waffle House anomaly around here. It always surprises me how curious some folks are – and how bold. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain that I’m not a student and that I’m doing all this writing for the sheer pleasure and prospect of it. But then they’re always intrigued and want to know what the book is about.

My particular Waffle House out on Red Bud Road is filled with regulars, and they know me by now. They’ll ask how the book’s coming and ask questions about my laptop and the Wi-Fi my WaHoo still doesn’t have (man, I hope they wake up and smell the 21st Century soon). I don’t know if they realize how much I appreciate their interest deep down. It really gives me hope for humanity’s waning appreciation of the literary arts. At least they’re curious. I know may seem a little stand-offish to them, but I never mean to be. My mind’s just elsewhere, I reckon.

But I always tip at least two bucks despite the fact that I almost never order anything they charge for. :^)

If you want to read what I wrote at my friendly neighborhood Waffle House last night, here’s a link to it:

I kind of like it. Since Terrance and Steve have been rather elusive lately, I decided Owen needed some attention. He is, after all, a fledgling in need of some refinement and TLC. I’m kind of proud of the descriptions too, although I need more of the house – maybe.


  1. that sounds beautifully romantic.
    a black berret, a laptop, and tea, surrounded by people and stories.

  2. I MISS THE WAFFLE HOUSE! Would you believe that while we were in the UK, they had a version of the WaHo and you could still smoke? I miss those days. You're right though. I don't know why, but somehow, Chez Waffle is part of a timewarp. There's just something about a Waffle House that brings out the 'best' (?) in people. Want to go to Krispy Kreme for Donuts and then WaHo while you're down here? Chez Waffle is like 5 min (max) from my house.

  3. Krishna - oh, honey, I'm all for it. Krispy Kreme and WaHoo? Almost too much fabulousness.

    amelia - I suppose in it's way it kind of is. :^)

  4. If you pulled that stunt down here, no one would pay you no nevermind. In fact, wearing a black beret might actually get you mistaken for being one of the regular teen deliquents that frequent the local WH at late hours instead of sleeping for school. :P

  5. About seven years ago when the deadline for my law school essays was looming, I realized what I needed. Yep, about four hours at my local Waffle House with a stack of papers, a piece of chocolate pie, and some hashbrowns. Funny how a place like that is the perfect place for writing. Now I find myself at Starbucks instead--it doesn't make me smell like grease:)


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