Sundays and Allan Brothers Coffee

If you know anything about me, you know I love coffee. And I guess it didn’t begin in the Northwest or in Oregon sepcifically. Perhaps all those fishing trips as a young moco and all those thermoses of coffee got me. Or maybe the first expresso drinks I was introduced to at Colorado State and then later in Riverside, CA at the Pie Store with the Tia. And then later in graduate school the expresso coffee became fuel to stay up and get the work done. And also the drinks became the tool to connect with other writers.

The first Sunday began when Kim and Stine–fellow failed writers–asked me to meet them on a Sunday morning to talk about writing and talk about our shared workshop and lit classes. Rowan was there too with a few other writers I believe–my memory is cloudy. But the core by the end of the term was me, Rowan, Stine and Kim. They helped me in such powerful ways I can’t explain. But their felowship and collaboration and commiseration was so important for me and my creative process. I see that now. But I don’t mean to sentimentalize those sessions but I do see just how important those relationships were. But I miss the sharing of sensibilities and aesthetics–the rhetoric.

Instead of Americanos or skinny lattes I developed relationships with the strongest practical readers and practical writers I have since been trying to reproduce. In fact, I want to put together an online writing group and call it something like Failed or some such title. I’d love to try and recreate some of those Sunday meetings even though we have all split up and let work and real lives take us away from Second Street. But at least I would love us to spend a few hours a month posting thoughts on writing or books or complaints on writing and books in general. I guess I am just not satisfied with random phone calls and social networking in place of actual connection. And I guess it is my fault for moving away but I needed to teach and pay my bills.

Anway, I had such fond memories of those Sundays with my fellow grad students I stole a mug from the Allan Bros coffee shop on Second Street. Sorry, Allan Brothers. Anyway, a few days before I left I just wanted a piece of the place. I could have bought one but taking the cup from my last writing group session seemed like the right thing to do.

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john paul jaramillo

John Paul Jaramillo’s debut story collection The House of Order was named a 2013 Int’l Latino Book Award Finalist, and his most recent work Little Mocos is now available from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read. He is currently a professor of composition and literature at Lincoln Land College-Springfield, Illinois.

4 thoughts on “Sundays and Allan Brothers Coffee”

  1. will there be the creepy guys across the cafe,just staring, or the boisterous and retarded, in the virtual group?

  2. I’m not so sure about this. The last time we met some guy stole my best character name and published a really bad story about Binky Chastain. Or maybe he didn’t take the name when we were at Allan Bros. Maybe he found my failed thesis in the library. I learned a great deal about being bitter in grad school, and it’s that bitterness that fuels my failed writershipness.

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