Writers working in coffee shops is so commonplace it's almost stereotypical. Ever been to the Kibbitznest? I have. I dropped by as I was walking North up on Clybourn Street. I saw the sign and thought I'd have a rest. Kibbitznest is like no other coffee shop in Chicago. No technology is allowed. No cell phones, no laptops, no tablets - a real respite. Kibbitznest even encourages conversation and interaction. I saw people playing board games, having lunch, sitting alone, browsing used books for sale, sipping tea, enjoying a glass of wine, a light bite or even a Moscow mule. Each room is a little treasure in itself, interesting artwork hangs on the wall, books are available to read or buy, fun quotes are posted in the washrooms, games are available to play. If you have a small car, there's even free parking available. I'm sure you're wondering, let me confirm, we really are in Chicago.
The experience became even more surreal as I saw a sign posted for a seminar called "Life in the Freelance Lane: Learn to make a living with your writing from accomplished, successful writers." No way. This was something I had always thought about. I have written training material, business reports, sales proposals, taken creative writing courses for fun. I have a stack of journals and musings from my travels. Why not?
A week later I attended the presentation conducted by President Laura Stigler, Board Member Jeff Steele, and Professional Member Sally Chapralis . .. I was engaged by their playful, respectful interaction and light-hearted banter. I was blown away by their business savvy. These people were not playing around, I can spot successful business people when I see them. Their advice was sound and not all rosy. That's how I knew they were authentic. Making a living independently is possible, but it doesn't just happen. It takes work, discipline and tenacity. As the room grew chilly, I pulled my jacket around me, Jeff Steele, quickly offered me his sport coat. I thought these are the single nicest people I have ever met. Of course, I joined on the spot! When something so good comes your way so serendipitously the answer is not 'no'. The Kibbitznest is a special place.
Watch this space, I'll be scouting the city for other great Chicagoland spots to hole a way, write or relax for awhile, and giving brief summaries in STET. Perhaps I'll even share some from my travels.
Until next time,
- Alicia Dale, Professional Member who signed up on the spot September 17, 2017
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