milk + sugar + ghosts

It was a pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung my old waterproof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a cafe au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of my coat and a pencil and started to write. -- Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

I had lunch at Kaldi's today, with my mom and my very pregnant sister. Conversation is always good, the paninis were lovely, and I'm a diehard fan of their Highlander Grogg coffee.

What was delightfully unexpected were the words on the wall. For the record: I love words on walls, doors, mugs, people... almost anywhere at all. And these words were the ones in the above quote by Hemingway.

Even better: when I looked at my coffee, I saw this:

And it just gets me thinking. Hemingway. Coffee. Writing in caf├ęs...

It's supposed to be killer hot this weekend, absolutely scorching temperatures, and I find myself wanting Paris. Paris and small tables and the rain. Trench coats and the smell of newspaper, pigeons and baguettes. Lamplight dancing in puddles, and all those bridges over the Seine. (I also would not turn down a Nutella crepe, thank you very much.)

I don't especially love Hemingway, but I do love the idea of him. I like the idea of pencils and Moleskine journals and his cafe au lait. I like seeing his words hovering in my coffee, because they goad me back to my desk, to the one thing that I can have in common with my Paris daydreams:

It's the words. Always the words.

The heat will try to wither us this weekend, and a St. Louis August is a far cry from a Parisian autumn. No rain, no pigeons, no Seine. (The Mississippi? Not a shred of romance in that muddy water, not for me.)

But it's the string of words that I have to keep weaving--that rope, that web, that net. I am still spinning my story, despite everything. It's probably the only thing I have in common with Hemingway, the thing that connects me back to expatriate dreaming.


Another day that I love and love and love being a writer. I'll take it.


  1. That is some Highlander Grogg coffee indeed. What a lovely way to enjoy Hemingway (or at least the idea of him). Let's get together and relish in that idea sometime...

  2. That is so cool! I love that, you should make a print and frame it. By the way you can get Nutella crepes at Roosters in St. Louis. :)