Why can’t bars have poet laureates and writers in residence?

The phrase “scattered, smothered, and covered” has a certain poetic ring, so it’s fitting that Waffle House has its own poet laureate. Georgia Tech poetry professor Karen Head is the first to lay claim to that title. – Atlanta

Followers of this blog know I like Waffle House food, especially their coffee. Yet “the elites” tend to turn up their noses up at Waffle House while supporting White Castle, Krystal, and Burger King. Yeah, those are the best places for health nuts.

At any rate, if Waffle House can have a poet laureate, why can’t Publix, Taco Bell, and Sears? Maybe Sears could save itself by embracing the arts. A poet, perhaps. A writer in residence. Soon, these poets and authors would become famous and people would flock to Sears for book signings, bedding, and a new dishwasher. You heard it here first.

Michael Shaara, who won the Pulitzer Prize for The Killer Angels, taught my college creative writing class. He had a theory–one that we could never test in a university environment–that if people who were too introverted to write good stuff got drunk, they might write good stuff. Drink a shot, write a line, slam down another shot, slam down another line.

Let’s say the theory works and we learn that drinking really does lead to bestselling novels.

Look at this. Nothing happening. It’s deadsville. A writer would fill the place.

Authors could sit at the end of the bar with a laptop or legal pad and pencil and write. All they’d need from the bar would be a bottle of Scotch or a pitcher of the region’s best microbrew. Every 30 minutes or so, the author would write one of his/her latest lines on a bar napkin and sail it into the crowd. The bar would get more business and maybe a cut of the action from the next bestseller.

This is win-win for everybody. The bar sells more booze. The authors get drunk for free. And creativity goes off the scale. What could possibly go wrong? Today’s bestseller is brought to you by Alfred Knopf and Joe’s Biker Bar and Brothel.

If you own a bar and think the idea has promise, please contact me by private message on Facebook. To prove you’re sincere, send me a bottle of Talisker single malt Scotch.

Seriously, what better way to support the arts?


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Special Investigative Reporter.”