Who would have thought that my meeting a travel writer 18 years ago would’ve resulted in a friendship filled with laughter through Facebook, phone calls, and letter writing? Well, it was that long ago, after having returned to my hometown in Wisconsin that I met Jeff Hagen, a writer and artist, while I was working at The Firehouse restaurant in Prairie du Sac. A kindred spirit of sort – and one that has continued to inspire me with his writings and artwork.
He has a series of little travel guides/books that I simply adore. At this time I only have two of them (remember, I’m a woman who tries to live “down to a carload” worth of possessions), Steeple Chase and Brewed Awakenings. It’s the latter that has me inspired to consolidate my blogs, including “coffee shop cruising” to just one blog – this one. How does this inspire me? Well, he writes about his encounters, the people he talks to, history, and of course, the places he goes – all in these tiny little books that fit in the glove compartment of your car! Why do I care that my blog articles don’t fall under one topic? I don’t…but they do. They are about me and I’m really just writing for me, anyway.
Brewed Awakenings has also inspired me to explore more coffee shops. After reading this little guide book, I’ve discovered that I’ve been to thirteen of the Wisconsin coffee shops in his book, one in my hometown(ish) – The Blue Spoon Creamery Cafe. He also has one of my favorites from Madison in it – Lazy Jane’s Cafe on Williamson Street. I still think about her blackberry scones. To die for!
Some highlights of this book include: the “built-in coffee stain” on the back side of the title page, the origin of the coffee break (p.86), and the short history of coffee, not to mention all the great stories about some very cool coffee shops in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.
More information about his book series and the art of Jeff Hagen, check out his website at http://www.jeffhagenart.com. These little books are treasured by me and if you are able to catch him at a book signing, I’m sure the personal note will be as clever and fun as the book itself!
So, what’s the “awakening” for me? Well, of course it’s validation that coffee shop cruising is lifestyle about savoring and enjoying life, one cup at a time!