Life After Your Favorite Café Closes

I was incredibly honored to be a guest fiction editor for The Louisville Review’s fall/winter 2022 issue, available now. Please consider supporting this journal that has provided publication for so many stories over the years, including my first published fiction back a decade or so ago. The quality of material in it is top notch, and I really enjoyed reading through the submitted stories. You won’t be sorry that you subscribed!

Also, Southern-Fried Woolf advanced to the short list of the 2022 Somerset CIBAs, an honor as well. I received a sweet message today from a recent reader of it telling me that she enjoyed it, too, which means just as much, of course. (She also told me to hurry up and write another book; I’m trying, friend. I’m trying.)

You remember that I told you the café I have written from nearly daily is closing permanently? Last Friday, as Barry and I sat at a table during its remaining open moments, the owners brought this teapot over and handed it to me. “For me?” They nodded. It took a moment for me to be able to thank them without crying with gratitude. It’s the teapot that had been bought just for my use at the café by the former manager, because I’m a big tea drinker.

I received so many sweet hugs and condolences that day, as if I alone am losing something. It’s a loss for the whole community, not just for me. After fifteen years, it’s a blow. It’s taking some getting used to, but I’m managing.

There are many advantages to working from the library now, among them bringing home a bag stuffed with fresh books and being able to sidestep the tempting brownies that the café used to make (the secret ingredient was black beans, I now feel free to say). My new writing desk arrived today, a portable one so I can take it with me to write outdoors. I’m staking claim to the gazebo at our local library as soon as the temp tops 60 degrees.

Chances are, someone will buy the coffeehouse and I could be back at my post soon. It’s cute, it’s turnkey. I just hope the new owners, when they come along, will welcome those of us who like to linger. I, for one, am not finished watching the Japanese maple in front of it grow, or the squirrels who annually hide walnuts under it. I wonder if they ever forget where they put them.

Here’s a highlight from our weekend: Checkered Past, the band Barry is in, played last night, and despite the bad weather, there was a pretty decent crowd. Friends of ours showed up and we laughed and danced and were mesmerized by Barry Drudge, guitar god, and his bandmates, as always. (How have I been married to this guy for over thirty years and am still in awe of his chops?)

All my best,


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