Someone To Watch Over Me.

Over at Mydangblog Suzanne Craig-Whytock has written a few times about her miniature room which always reminds me of William Blake:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour…

He also said, “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” which seems to contradict the lines from Auguries of Innocence, but I can accept that poets have wide-ranging and even malleable opinions. I also can’t think of William Blake without remembering the time one of my English professors showed the class slides of some Blake prints and a girl next to me kept whispering, “He’s insane…he’s insane…” It’s completely unrelated but I read somewhere that Saint-Saëns whispered the same thing at the premiere of Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps. Even more unrelated the first time Allen Ginsberg read Howl at a gallery in San Francisco and said the line “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness” the poet Frank O’Hara was in the audience and whispered “Good lord, do you think he means us?”

I’ve gotten excessive with the quotes there even though I really wanted to talk about Headquarters Coffee Shop, a tiny little place on Nashville’s Charlotte Avenue. The space is so small I think it was once an alley that simply got absorbed into a building, but that building is more than a century old so I don’t know if there are any records. If you’re ever there and waiting to order you might look over at the brick wall and see this:

Click to embiggen.

I love that they’ve taken a hole in the wall—which is what some people might also call Headquarters—and turned it into a little space. It even changes. Here it is a few months ago:

The last time I was there I was working on a short story about a little girl who finds a door to Fairyland but isn’t allowed to in even though she offers up her mother’s iPad and even her baby sister for payment. It was really crowded inside so I went to the back patio.

While I was out there writing I felt like something was looking down from the old window above me. Finally I went to check it out and saw this:

That’s very different thing than what’s inside but I can accept that Headquarters may be small but it has wide-ranging and even malleable opinions. And excellent iced coffee. Make mine a large—I’m feeling excessive.

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  1. mydangblog

    Thank you so much for the shout-out! And I love those little wall cavity rooms–I actually just got a globe like the one in the picture for my own room. So now if Ken finds me chiselling into the brick of our house, I can blame you!
    mydangblog recently posted…Signs of (Bathroom) TroubleMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Feel free to blame me if you chisel into the brick of your house, but I do want to see pictures if you build a little wall cavity room. I especially love the tiny globe. It literally is the world in the palm of your hand.

  2. Thomas Slatin

    I am reminded of a charming bookstore I frequented during my college days at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. This unique establishment had a delightful quirkiness, with various treasures hidden in the nooks of its brick walls. The basement housed a café renowned for its exceptional coffee, which drew everyone in. The café was run by LGBTQ individuals and served as a vibrant community hub for alternative folks like me. Given that this was in 1998, I suspect the business has either closed or changed hands by now.
    Thomas Slatin recently posted…The Intersection Of Family Rejection And A Mother’s IllnessMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That sounds like a wonderful bookstore. There are too few places like that left these days. There was an independent LGBTQ-themed bookstore a few blocks from where I work that closed, I think, around 2014, which was sad because it seemed to foster a community. Independent bookstores generally are an endangered species, although I’m happy to say Nashville still has several.


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