Tuesday 29 January 2013

The Creative Café Manager

I’m probing into the Creative Café idea a little further. Some of the cafés in the project always were “creative”.  Why is that so? Did the managers / owners proactively seek that or did it just happen? Does it take a certain sort of manager / owner to hold that sort of vision?
I’ve put together a set of questions I’d like to ask some Creative Café facilitators. If you are such a person, do send me your answers at g.james1 at salford.ac.uk, along with a link to your café and a photo and if you wish also a photo of yourself. Miss out any questions you’re not comfortable with and add in some of your own if you feel so inclined. Do also feel free to reorder them if you think it appropriate. If you’re not an owner manager, but know of a café that ought to be in the project, then do pass this on to them.
Which “creative” activities does your café promote?
How did this come about?
Which activities are the most successful?    
Are there any other activities you’d like to try?
Tell us something about the people who visit the café.
Have you held a particularly successful event?
How do the food and creative activities interact?
Which benefits, if any, do you gain by being a creative café?
Is there any help you would like from the project?      
Do you have a funny, interesting or moving story to tell us?
I look forward to your responses.            

Sunday 27 January 2013

Writers in Cafés 1 Judy Kendall

I often write in cafes - places where I can be anonymous, invisible, busy. I like to remain silent, apart and yet coast on the conversation and buzz of everyone and everything around. Music, good music, extraordinary and unexpected music, really really helps. I like the serendipity, what goes on outside the little pool of quiet framed between my cup of coffee and my plate of cake. It takes me back to my childhood, where I was one of six close siblings, immersed in a world of books to a background of family noise. Even now I am very skilled at concentrating in the middle of conversations, and that includes conversations in which I am supposed to be taking part. Sometimes I am a bit too good at tuning out. And, bolstered by the noise, I feel at home. This is where I most readily lose myself.

I tend to write by hand in cafes. I proofread there. I write lists, ideas, first drafts of short pieces - whole haiku. More often I redraft. I like to take printouts of computer work and eye them with my special cafe eye. It's a good place to rejig visual pieces, look over short stories as if it wasn't me that wrote them, pick apart poems.

My most regular haunt is in Todmorden, where I live. I visit this cafe mainly in late afternoon - not too many people, lower noise levels, mellow music. It is when the cafe staff are winding down, when a table by the window might be free.

I could be totally anonymous here. The staff might recognise me and have a word as I buy my coffee but no one knows my name. Well no one did. That's not the case any more. Now I am Judy Poet. Incredible Edible Poet. Todmorden Poet Laureate. And it's nice. And I do still have the space to settle down to write. But I am no longer invisible. The anonymity is gone. 

My family think it's great I've got to know more people. I like it too. But if I want to reclaim that precious anonymity I might have go further afield, perhaps as far as Hebden Bridge....

Friday 4 January 2013

Writers in cafés

I’ve started an occasional series on writers in cafés and I’m inviting people to take part. Your answers, a picture of you – writing in a café if you wish –, any links you’d like me to provide and a short bio will be included on the blog post.

These are the questions:
What sort of writing do you do in cafés?
Why do you think writers like to work in cafés?  
Tell us something about a café where you like working (it’s okay not to name it if you would like to keep your venue secret – but if you are happy to name it we can add it to the list of cafés in the project.)
Has anything funny or interesting happened to you whilst you’ve been working in a café?  
Anything else you would like to add? (You can make up your own question if you like)

If you would like to be involved either DM me via Twitter or leave your contact details in the comments box here. (Note: these will not be published as I have to moderate comments  and I’ll delete the comment once I’ve noted your contact details.)  Then we can work out when I’m going to include your post and make sure we have all the material needed.