Spicy Dirty Chai

I have a new favorite coffee shop, which is a big deal when you’re constantly on the hunt for places to write that are not your own home. After two pandemic-induced years writing exclusively either at home or outside, it’s a treat to explore new writing haunts again. 

This place is not close to where I live, but I met a friend here a couple of times and was quickly hooked. It’s the perfect mix of warm conversations, study groups, and solo writers like myself.

The furniture is a combination of wooden tables and chairs—substantial and weighty, groupings of mismatched seating around low tables—soft and welcoming, and raised countertops with stools lining the windows—in full view of the sun. The shelves of books that break up the space give it the feeling of a library. 

There’s a fly fishing shop across the way, so sometimes there are customers outside casting in the parking lot. I find myself drawn in, watching, certain this is a metaphor for something connected to how writing works. 

Writing at this coffee shop has become a weekend routine. Because it’s only open until five, it’s not a realistic option for weeknights—at least not for a binge writer like myself. When I settle in to write, I’m committed for at least a couple of hours. 

But on a Sunday (like today), I have time to make the drive, choose one of the small, wooden tables spread apart so comfortably in the space, and order my new favorite drink: the spicy dirty chai. Served in a big, china cup with a saucer, it’s like an invitation to stay a while—so, yes, thank you; I think I will. 

I am such a creature of ritual, when it comes to my writing life. 

There is something about this place only being a weekend writing retreat that enhances its appeal. I’m sure I could ask for a spicy dirty chai somewhere else, but I kind of like that it’s a location-specific drink. It makes me feel gratitude to be here on a Sunday, immersed in the work I love most. 

And. . . the crazy amount of caffeine in this ritual weekend beverage (!!!) is officially kicking in, so it’s time to get back into the writing work that brought me here today. . . 


  1. Maureen Young Ingram

    Thank you for sharing this insight into your writing life! Sounds like a fabulous spot for immersing yourself in creating. I adore this image so much, “there are customers outside casting in the parking lot” – yes, that is a great metaphor for writing!


  2. Lainie Levin

    Amy, you had me at “dirty chai,” which is by far my favorite beverage. I actually make my own for each morning. There’s something about it which fortifies me for the day ahead.

    I’m picturing you, settling yourself in at this coffee shop, looking around at the scenery within and about, feeling at home as you begin this writing ritual. It’s a reminder that perhaps I should set aside time, or put together a writing ritual for myself.

    Thank you for this beautiful slice. =))


  3. Elisabeth Ellington

    I loved reading this and could so relate to the joy of finding new writing haunts. I treated myself to a coffee shop writing adventure this week, and I’m looking forward to exploring another new spot next week during my spring break. All of the details in your piece really evoke the scene and put me right there in the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

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