Friday, June 27, 2014

One of the Missing: Curious Liquids Café

        I live in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts.  I have lived in this area, minus a short stint in upstate NY, my entire life.  I have seen a lot change in thirty plus years.  Most of the changes are grand.  Our museums got bigger and better.  We lost our ugly over street highway in favor of a tunnel system and more parks.  Even Fenway Park has made steps towards modernization.  Still, sometimes, I realize I miss some feature of the city that’s long been gone.  When that happens, and I remember to write it up, you’ll get a story about it under this heading.*


            In the shadow of the Statehouse, there’s an odd building, on the corner of Park and Beacon Streets.  It’s the home of a local news team’s morning show now.  In the late nineties, it was an awesome independent coffee shop called the Curious Liquids Café.  It was my haven for years.  It had everything a young would-be writer could want: great espresso and drip drinks, quirky décor, sympathetic and agreeable wait staff, the occasional live show, and a basement seating level that made you forget where you were and where the city mutually forgot about you.  If ever there was a perfect place to scribble in a college ruled composition notebook, this was it. 

            I wrote my first in your face piece of writing there.  Its effectiveness surprised even me then.  Every once in a while, I read that letter again.  The words practically melt off the page.  The achievement wasn’t a technical one, but one of spiritual distillation.  I took a huge hurt from my heart, threw a net over it, captured it in type, and delivered it to the person responsible.  It was the kind of thing only a young self-involved moron would try.  I think not knowing I knew nothing made success possible.  I don’t know any mature adult who would be that comfortable confronting either their hurt or those responsible.  Either people learn more ways to cope as they grow, or are just affected less by the world.  That’s a puzzle for another time.

            I miss the CLC because writing felt exciting and easy there.  It was as if the very walls whispered ideas and encouragement into my head.  I had no concept of quit or failure there.  Everyone was young, trying their best, and foolishly optimistic about their secure futures.  And there seemed plenty of time to try whatever it was you wanted to try.  Time flows differently now.  There’s a clock to punch, and obligations to meet.  I forget to relax and just try to put words on a page far too often.  Somehow I think I would write more if the CLC or places like it were closer than my backwards looking heart.

* Yes, I know that phrase is cribbed from one of the interludes in Stephen King’s IT.  It’s one of my favorite works of his.

  • So this is my first post since March.  I apologize to either of my readers for the long delay.  Getting married and then redefining what normal life is after that took more time than I thought.
  • This post was written using my Warren Zevon station on Pandora, I used my Moto X phone to listen to it.  It gets by that awful vibrating laptop sensation I can't stand when I type.
  • Readers are welcome to comment by e-mail or twitter.  My twitter handle is @TheSagest and my writer e-mail is  If you want more posts like this, holler back.

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