Chipping Away While Sipping Coffee

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stone-cutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it would split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before together. 
— Jacob A. Riis, journalist and social reformer (1849-1914)

Last Saturday, I started a scheme of combining a weekly photography field trip with a stop at a nearby coffee shop to sample one of their specialty coffee drinks and spending at least a couple hours writing. You can read a more detailed account about how this mind game that I’m playing works over on Vision and Verb.

My first photography field trip was to the railroad yard. 

I drive past it on the way to work and noticed the surrounding buildings’ toasty red roofs gleaming in the sun one day as I came over a bridge. Unfortunately, Saturday the sun was not in the right gleaming mode and there is so much electrical line and fence clutter. So let’s call it urban reality and put a positive spin on the images…

There were also a lot of birds at the railroad yard — I suppose because there is a lot of grain on the ground that must spill from the cars and grain elevators.

I thought the pattern and twists of train tracks would make some cool photos but the fences and road limited where I could position myself. And did I mention the shadows falling from buildings? I was fighting glare and shadow combinations. Alas, my photo experience did not exactly turn out the way I had envisioned it in my head. I guess being able to overcome those kinds of challenges is what makes you a REAL photographer. Practice…

But it was still fun watching the trains move around and checking out some of the graffiti.

After the train photos, Steve and I went to The Coffee Shop Northeast. It is located in a cute little neighborhood in NE Minneapolis. The place had a constant stream of people going in and out.

They even have a place to hook your dogs’ leashes up to.

I tried the Pumpkin Pie Latte. I wondered if it was going to be overly sweet but it was perfect — a latte with enough pumpkin taste to it to make it even more yummy.

I worked on my book, while Steve worked on his work (poor guy), with occasional screen breaks to people watch. After a couple hours, we walked outside and discovered that a day that had started out ugly and cold had turned gorgeous. We zoomed to my house to take the Brew Babes for a walk at the park where I did a little more photography. We are into that monotone time of year…

I think these weekend outings are going to help get my writing back on course. And what a great excuse to try out fancy coffee drinks!

But just writing for a few hours in a coffee shop isn’t going to get me very far so the plan is to also write for an hour a night in between. That has not been going so well because life has been getting in the way. But I think if I keep doing the field trips, I’ll get back into the story, and the working in the evenings during the week will get easier.

It’s like what the quote I started out this post with says, I know this writing thing is going to break open if I keep chipping away at it.

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  1. I so enjoyed your ‘field trip’ and the wonderful pictures too!!!

    I love trains. Each summer we would drive to Kansas City and catch the big ‘Red Nose’ Santa Fe’ and go to my Grandmother’s in Albuquerque. I have fond memories of those trips.

    God bless and have a fantastic day sweetie!!!

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