Too Hot

by Linda Rodriguez

The temps were 102°
today with a heat index of 110
I spent the day as I have this entire week, working in a local Panera
all day, even though I have a nice big office with spacious desk and
comfortable desk chair.

big old house, like a lot of older homes, does not have central air
conditioning, and when the temperatures outside hit the high 90s and
triple digits, those poor window air conditioners just can’t keep up.
So I decamp for the nearest Panera. This happens every summer in
Kansas City, where weeks of triple digits aren’t unheard of and where
humidity is incredibly high. (I once visited San Antonio during one
of these times while San Antonio itself had temps of 103, but found
San Antonio much more bearable because the air was so much drier.)

manager and staff at my coffee shop know me and ask how the latest
book is coming along. I also head there when I have copy edits or
page proofs, in order to stay focused, so they see me at times other
than just the hottest days of summer. I hear them explain to new
employees–”She’s a writer, and sometimes she comes here to work
all day.”

first day or two that I head out to the coffee shop, if I’m writing
new work rather than dealing with copy edits or page proofs, is
always slower and harder. I have a rhythm established at home where I
usually work, and that rhythm gets thrown off by switching locations.
I’ve been working away from home all miserably hot week long. The
first couple of days were awkward and disappointing, but by today, I
was cruising along at the laptop, fingers flying.

nearing the end of a book I’ve finished and revised completely, only
to realize that I needed at least two more chapters at the end. Those
chapters are what I’m writing now, and I’m pleased to say they’re
coming right along after an initial loss of momentum when I had to
change location of my daily work. I’m at that stage where I greet my
husband when he shows up at the end of the day with excited babble.
“It’s going so well now!” “ Yay! 4,000 words today.” “I’m
getting really excited about this as I close in on the end. I think
it’s turning out great!”

moved into that end-of-book momentum where it becomes almost
impossible not to write and where my brain stays awake into the
night, running through various scenarios and possible alternatives to
planned scenes. This is one of my favorite times in writing a book.

yeah, it’s miserable outside, but I’m in all day where the air is
cold, the music is classical, and the coffee is hot. Sometimes you
just have to move to a different space to write.

10 replies
  1. Margaret S. Hamilton
    Margaret S. Hamilton says:

    good for you! I'm either typing at the kitchen counter, standing on top of the a/c vent, or sitting a foot from the vent at the kitchen table.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    You are resourceful and inspired! The teacher's mantra is "Whatever works" and it clearly applies to writers as well. I'm glad the Panera staff is so welcoming. 😉

  3. Paula Gail Benson
    Paula Gail Benson says:

    Isn't Panera wonderful? In "famously hot Columbia," the Panera cafes are always safe harbors for writers. I'm so glad the tradition exists across the country!

  4. Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith
    Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith says:

    I go to eat at Panera a lot, but never thought about writing there. My window air conditioner is right by my desk, so it's comfortable to be here.

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