In a Stunning Betrayal of Everything I Stand For as a Writer and a Human Being

I’m currently writing in a coffee shop:

I could say it’s because I’m just I’m letting the hotel service staff tidy up my room, and that it’s the Starbucks in the hotel lobby, and that I’m the only person in the seating area, so there’s no one to impress. But honestly, those are all just rationalizations, aren’t they. Yes, yes. Let the class action suit from the purchasers of the Coffee Shop book commence. I’ve no one but myself to blame.

73 Comments on “In a Stunning Betrayal of Everything I Stand For as a Writer and a Human Being”

  1. Even worse, you’re blogging about writing in a coffee shop. Sooner or later, you’re going to be sitting in a Starbucks, rapidly updating your Twitter account with all the great IDEAS you have for your next NOVEL, and we’ll never be able to find another new Scalzi novel at the bookstore again.


  2. John, if I knew you were so susceptible to my comments, I would have said “updating your Twitter account…and sending money to Patrick via PayPal!”

    It’s still not too late, of course.

  3. ooo, and it’s a Starbucks, to boot. At least if you’d gone to some small, indie coffeeshop then I could’ve cut you some slack. But nooooo, it had to be a Starbucks. The shame, that shame!

  4. You should wear a button that says, “I’m actually a writer” and build a little table fort out of copies of your books. You know, so no one suspects you as a wannabe.

  5. I’m tempted to suggest that you’re not writing in a coffee shop, but in a Starbucks, which is a purveyor of hot milk beverages.

    But that would be mean-spirited and uncharitable of me, and being mean-spirited and uncharitable isn’t on my calendar until 3:50pm today.

  6. Or is it one of those little coffee stands, where it actually is the lobby and you’re not really in an actual coffee shop. Cause that would make you a total liar and I’d be feeling bad for your sudden slide into oblivion for nothing!

  7. How the mighty have fallen. Oh, John. How can I take what you say seriously from now on? That crunching sound you hear are just my shattered dreams that I now must lie down in to dream of dust and void. ::sob::

    Surely there was some other place to sit and write, somewhere in the hotel other than the coffee shop? Why, oh, why, John.

  8. It’s just a good thing I don’t know what hotel you are at or I’d be there breaking about every rule in your ‘how to meet me nicely’ post.

  9. Well now that you have destroyed all of your credibility, I wonder how long it will be before we see John Scalzi making the rounds on the reality TV circuit.

  10. Just do me a favor…when you start writing novels about troubled, angsty writers who come back to their old hometown for their 20th high school reunion, meet old girlfriends, and learn important life lessons through personal drama and all that stuff…please use a pseudonym, hmm-kay?

  11. Looks to me like he’s on a cruise ship. Picture needs to have a view of the actual coffee shop with maybe a sign. Love the expression though!

  12. Since you’re travelling, we’ll let you get away with it. My friends and I have a rule that anything that happens more than 2 county lines away from home cannot be used against you in the court of friendship.

  13. It’s OK to write there as long as you realize you are not fooling anyone. But since you think coffee tastes like ass, why you are in the coffee shop? At least I like coffee when I am not trying to fool anyone – unless you think I am writing a deep, metaphysical novel. No, I am writing essays for grad school. Just keep moving, nothing to see folks.

  14. I was in a coffee shop because they don’t have Coke Zero shops on every corner. Also, for the crumb cake.

  15. I’m not sure which news I’ve gotten today is worse (well, yes, I do know which news I got today is worse), but this certainly puts the icing on the cake. Anybody want a autographed copy of “Coffee Shop”? Or other Scalzi books?

    The good news is that the stock price on $bux ought to be heading up, up and awwwaaaayyyy since thousands of Scalzi fans know that coffee no longer tastes like a$$ and $bux is the preferred brand.

    Or something.

    Off to the bookstore to buy that MythAdventures book I spotted yesterday. Not good news.

  16. Coke Zero shops…that sounds like a limited beverage variety.

    But hey, it’d speed up the ordering process…none of those fancy Italian words for “small, medium, large”, and no pick-your-own drink adventures with a thousand possible permutations for a beverage order.

    They could put the Coke Zero shops right next to the Spatula City franchises. (“All spatulas, all the time!”)

  17. Such a disgrace! Next you’ll tell us that the bacon was just photoshopped onto the picture of the cat.


  18. [No one’s commented on the original reason why YNFAWYTYLTACS? Fine; I’ll ask the question, even though I perfectly well know the answer.]

    Gettin’ any?

  19. Coffee? No, I still don’t generally drink it. I had some peach green tea.

    That’s what you are asking, right?

  20. I think of “Coffee Shop” as more of a state of being, a character attribute, than a physical place. You are not a Coffee Shop writer, and writing from a coffee shop once won’t change that.

    …this time.

  21. All your heroes are whores — The ever lovely Tanya Donnelly

    See what I did there? :)

  22. Let’s pretend your Starbucks affair never happened and move on. Let us never speak of this again.

  23. Could it be that you are in the coffee shopping researching your next brilliant story? It’s not actually a breakdown of moral stance if it’s for research. “Why I Left Harry’s All Night Hamburgers” by Lawrence Watt-Evans was probably a good excuse for a lot of diner meals….it also got him a Hugo and a Nebula nod.

  24. Wait, what? We need excuses beyond that fact that they are delicious to eat diner meals now?

  25. I just discovered I have signed up for Twitter.

    This blog reminded me that I keep meaning to sign up for Twitter, so I loaded up Twitter and popped open my Keeping Track of Accounts file to record the new particulars. There it was already, listed neatly in order. And also, it reports blandly, Bebo, CollectiveSpace, Facebook, and Vox.

    I wonder if I also have an active and fulfilling Second Life?

  26. I was going to go to Amazon and leave a scathing review of your Coffee Shop book (even though I haven’t read it) because of what that picture implies. But after seeing how much money people on Amazon are asking for a copy of your book and knowing that you’re not going to see a penny of that, maybe you’ve fallen on hard times . . . emotionatlly speaking of course. I’ll let this moment of weakness slide for now.

  27. Who are you and what have you done to real John Scalzi? I think we have John Scalvi ruining John Scalzi’s reputation here :-)

  28. It’s because he’s in Florida that he’s behaving like this. Things work differently in Florida. It’s like William Burroughs’s Interzone, but the bugs have been replaced by Canadian retirees.

  29. Scalzi, I for one will be suing you, but only so I can get a freakin’ COPY of “You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop.” I will happily pay full price, too (those things are hard to find.) (It’s a strange lawsuit, I know. They probably won’t let me join the class-action as I’ll undermine their negotiating strategy.)
    Kids, learn from poor Greg here and order “Your Hate Mail Will be Graded” before it’s too late.

  30. I have to admit the idea of sitting in a coffee shop reading a book sounds good. However, that would mean being surrounded by the smell of coffee and that would completely ruin the reading experience. I don’t know how people drink that stuff.

    Of course in reality I’d end up completely ADD-ing out and paying attention to everything except my book.

  31. It couldn’t possibly be John Scalzi. It’s probably John Scalazzi at work at his plans to take over the Whatever.

  32. I fed the details of this sorry little episode into my Hypocrisy Meter(TM), and it came up “Spitzer.”

  33. Oh, btw, we saw Eddie a few weeks back. He was awesomely funny. Thanks for mentioning that you got tickets on your blog, because otherwise I wouldn’t have known he was touring.

  34. Gennita:

    They have my books here now, so yes, I imagine they will be here tomorrow, too.

  35. I’m thinking of retracting the Amazon review I wrote of your coffee shop book. But I can’t because I wrote that review on my laptop while in a local, pretentious coffee shop filled with unpublished poets and hot college girls.

    Fair is fair, right?

  36. I got it. That is the author pix for the new revised second edition of ‘Coffee Shop’.

    You are the funny one. You really had us going.

  37. Words. Fail. Me.

    Say it ain’t so, John!

  38. I’m still waiting for the station framing logo and the voice-over to conclude:


    “… reporting from Starbucks Den of Iniquity #7248 in Florida, for I’m Witless News, this is John Scalzi.”



  39. I have immunity and am allowed to like Starbucks as I used to frequent their quasi-original place in the Pike Place Market circa 1986 when I was working at Boeing on the B-2 program.

    This was prior to their conquest of the world.

    I liked it then when it wasn’t cool, so I’m allowed to like it now in its post-cool era.

    Plus I like to piss off anti-globalists whenever possible.

  40. “And to his left—past the law students with their earnest words, past the coeds in their light fixture tans, past the travelers bitching about air attendant cruelties and security inanities—he could see the beans swirling, twirling, hurling about as if they strove up the glass walls to avoid their grinding fate.

    “Coffee beans burnt in ill-cleaned roasters. Coffee beans bruised and battered in leaky containers on leaky ships. Coffee beans shat upon, spat upon, rained upon by man and animal alike as they waited in the rotted remnants of the last shipment on some dock in Liberia or Dahomey

    “Coffee beans soon to be mushed and smashed, then to have scalding water poured over them in a great rush, a torturing stream made by some callow youth raised on the idea that Folgers constituted great coffee, and Mrs. Olson knew what the fuck she was talking about.

    “With a shudder he turns to his laptop, returning to the comforting, respectable world of moose porn.”

  41. Ummmmm…
    As long as you’re not wearing glasses with thick black frames, an ironic trucker hat, or a black turtleneck, AND as long as you’re not using a Macintosh notebook that costs more than a decent used car, I couldn’t care less.
    If any of the above are true, well, I’ll start having serious University of Iowa flashbacks.

    Writer’s workshop…uuurrhhrhhrghrgurhghhgg……

  42. #69

    Mr. Kellogg,

    I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    (recovering coffee addict)

  43. Wow, I feel terrible after reading this–I do almost *all* my work in a coffee shop! A) because working at home is impossible and B) because my office is window-less. (If it helps, I hide in the back and pretend to be playing video games…)

  44. How much did they pay you John? Eh? How much did starbucks buy your dignity for?!

    On an unconnected note, does this mean it’s cool to write in coffeeshops once more? Only I’m sick of my back-room?


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