I posses this image driven fascination with artists and writers working in cafes. I simply love envisioning this character in my songs and my writing – to add to this romantic idea of the lonely creative slaving away at their screenplay in some trendy independent cafe in the city.
I have to admit, I think I use it too much but I could care in the slightest – it works for a reason!
Recently it popped up again as I was writing my verse of Bo Burnham’s That Funny Feeling on TikTok.
Seeing it again made me start to question why it seems to appear as I’m writing.
Perhaps it’s the joy in seeing someone letting go the pain of bearing an untold story inside of themselves. The moment they are finally let their guard down and present what they have to say to the world. Perhaps they do it for the image of being an artist and thats perfectly fine too -maybe they will fake themselves into becoming a writer.
But after digging a bit more, I realised that it had to be more personal than that.
Songwriting is holding a mirror up to you life. The task of the writer is to simply control how much of this reflection you want the world to see.
For a time at the start of 2020, I seemed to be this creative in a coffee shop. I had just gone through a breakup and I was spending more time in coffee shops alone than I’d have cared to. With the song of mine, Street View Lullaby, I tried to sum up this experience in a few lines (“And I reached for my moleskin pen and pad, trying to look busy and pretending to plan like I had nothing else to do”).
The lyric doesn’t say too much but the feeling remains for me when I perform the track. The image, more than anything, is just myself that I am witnessing. It’s the chasing, driven creative I want to be alongside what I don’t want to be: alone.
It’s a version of myself that keeps coming up to the surface wether I want it to or not. It also provides a precursor to another important question, what other versions of me are going to emerge from my work? What should I be looking for?
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo