It’s a small cafe, tucked away off a main street. There is a steady bustle of people walking past on their way to other places. Inside is a small counter to order your drink, maybe something to eat. A handful of tables and chairs, all old wood, looking like they have been used for years and been in places other than this.
One thing you notice is that all the tables are large enough for a sheet of letter paper to be placed down and for words to be written upon it, with a warming cup of coffee by your side.
Paper and envelopes, all detailed with the name of the cafe are available at every table. Postage can be ordered with your coffee and food.
Regulars can have their own box to which letters can be sent, the walls display messages sent generally to the cafe itself. Stories from around the world as people who have visited briefly decide to share their current adventure with the place itself.
Each table itself has an ongoing letter, one that never leaves the table. People come and add their story and thoughts to the letter, addressing the people who have been their previously or those yet to come. These letters are in fact all over the cafe, the walls, the chairs. Stories can be told to everything in the cafe. They are like Kerouac’s long roll of paper recording his road trip only the travelling is not done by the storyteller for the journal, it is about those that move towards the object and what they set down in words at that time. The objects record those that use it, rather than the travelling experience of the individual.
Letters arrive and are sent, private and public messages to share and those to cherish. Letters official or random, some make sense whilst others more like a narrative fragment from elsewhere.
Some letters are bequeathed to the archive, to become as much a part of the narrative of the cafe. Others remain forever part of other stories, personal stories to be told to a different audience.
The cafe exists for those who want to sit down and write their thoughts, their dreams. Their criticisms and imaginings. The stories to share with loved ones, the letter to the editor or just a missive in a bottle.
It is a destination for letters and a distribution hub, a nodal point in a world of communication. A place to think, to watch, to talk.
A place to write.