Side Street Mel

It’s not imitation. I’ve been writing at cafés since about 1994 when, preparatory to entering the MFA Creative Writing program at UAA, a group of us began meeting weekly on Sundays at a little café on G Street in Anchorage, Side Street Espresso.

The writing group gradually broke down as people got busy on Sundays & didn’t turn up. But I did. If no one else came, I wrote. After awhile, that became the entire reason for going there — not to meet, but to write. I wrote a good many of my poems & reading journals at Side Street, & most of my master’s thesis. After I graduated & some private stuff exploded in my life, I went there to write my way through it, to sort it out. Then, on a list, I started up a shared story, which later transformed into a novel-in-progress, Mistress of Woodland, & I went to Side Street to work on it.

I don’t write much at Side Street anymore, mainly because George & Deb, the owners, haven’t been opening it on Sundays the last couple of years: economics, & the desire on their own part to have a day off. And I just don’t go out to cafés (or for that matter get much writing done, dammit) on other days. It’s been Kaladi Brothers at Title Wave Books, or Café Felix at Metro Books & Music, or the café at Barnes & Noble.

But Side Street is still my writing home. For momentum’s sake, going out writing on Saturdays, too, would be a good thing. Instead of Side Street Sundays, then, Side Street Saturdays? Might be a very good idea. And I miss George & Deb.

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