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Where Do Non-Fiction Writers Go to Pen Their Great American Novel?

I thought once I got my book contract (internal link) I’d be ushered into the world of midnight coffee shops and cafes, the province of creative types discussing Flaubert and Nietzsche. That hasn’t happened.

Being Las Vegas, we do have a few 24 hour coffee shops which cater to the chronic insomniac and the late night worker coming off a shift. These are usually dry places, however, with no alcohol served. Just a wild mix of coffee drinks that are in most cases a caffeinated milkshake.

Instead of bongo drums and open poetry recitals, I am treated to electronic dance music and a few solitary types hunched over keyboards who listen to their own tunes on earphones. I wouldn’t know what to say to them anyway, even if they unplugged. Would they understand my desire to explain that a geological map doesn’t necessarily reveal mineral deposits? Probably not.

To be fair, they are undoubtedly working on something less than the Great American Novel, just as I am. I am working instead on The Great American Guidebook, at least the Southwest version that pertains to rocks. As writers, we generally and almost constantly work alone, for only in our own minds can we hold together all the problems, people and places that inhabit our work.

It would be nice to have others review drafts but those people would need the same knowledge of my field that I do, preferably a great deal more. For only someone familiar with vesicles and rhyolite and magmatic differentiation could help me. You see, I’m rather helpless myself, too, only now learning the finer points of our dynamic planet. (internal link) There’s little chance a beatnik type could offer suggestions. Unless she’s Taylor Swift with a geology degree wearing a beret.