Write Write Write

I was right.

I did eight pages of the ten page essay in about an hour this morning. I’m letting it cool until tomorrow before I polish it. Long things are so easy! All you have to do is think of a few main points, write around them, and if it’s too short add stuff where it fits. Writing short is hard. Every single word must be scrutinized to make sure it’s doing the right amount of work for the space it takes up.

Too much cognitive theory tonight. I don’t like the social ramifications of it at all. More complex does not translate to “better” or “mature.” Sorry, I just don’t buy it. I think complexity is just the inevitable result of any repeated activity. You’ve got to keep things varied, or it gets boring. That’s why I could never be a newspaper writer. The sound of jaws dropping, saying huh? would just be deafening.

To try to be at least a little entertaining today, I’ll offer up this bit:

More serious rivals to the tavern as a social centre were the coffee and chocolate houses. Coffee rooms spread rapidly after the Restoration. The first, Pasqua Rosee’s Head, was established in 1652 in St Michael’s Alley, off Cornhill, where the Jamaica Wine House now stands. By 1663, when licensing was introduced, there were eighty-two in the City, and by 1739, according to Maitland, there were 551 in the whole of London. The success of coffee and chocolate houses reflected the popularity of the products they offered – Turkish coffee, West Indian sugar and cocoa, Chinese tea, Virginian tobacco, and newspapers – and also their ability to satisfy a wide range of interests, from the salacious to the scholastic. Their variety impressed Cesar de Saussure in 1726: `Some coffee-houses are a resort for learned scholars and for wits; others are the resort of dandies or of politicians, or again of professional newsmongers; and many others are temples of Venus. . . . they pass for being chocolate houses, and you are waited on by beautiful, neat, well-dressed, and amiable, but very dangerous nymphs.’

Roy Porter, History of London

I could use an eighteenth century “chocolate house” right now, or at the very least, an “amiable but very dangerous nymph” It’s too late in the evening for coffee.