yeah write #72 is open: artisanal cheese and a damn fine espresso

yeah write #72 is open: artisanal cheese and a damn fine espresso

yeah write #72 is open: artisanal cheese and a damn fine espresso

I run a little artisanal cheese shop called Oka Cheese, located in a very tiny corner of a very large metropolitan area. Oka is a quiet place filled with calmly quiet people—the exception being one Kristin D. Wald— and no one bothers me here.

As you walk in the front door of Oka Cheese, there is not much to see. I mean, there’s cheese. Hand-crafted, flavorful, on display for those who enjoy such things. In the back room is a mammoth espresso machine better suited for a bustling restaurant. It was given to me by a friend, and beneath my protests of where can it fit, I made room and set up a few tables on each side of it. My quiet friends, here on break from whatever happens to be their usual, read and write copiously. Don’t ever ask them what it is they are writing. On break from whatever happens to be their usual, they will share when ready.

Occasionally, we entertain the curious. Samplers, people incredibly surprised how perfect tastes the espresso, wanderers. The ones with notebooks and pens belong to me. Fiddling with a drawing pad? Over to Flood—whether you knew it or not, our mixed media workshop opens at three, and you and your drawings are right on time. 

A little jittery after two or three cups of an Oka double shot? We cannot get Kristin to stop reading “passages” from Fifty Shades to the feral cats lounging for shade and water under the old oak just off the patio. Please join her out back. Watch out for the broken step right outside the door. Our handyman isn’t very handy during Christian Grey story hour.

“You guys carry any deli meats? You know, like sausages?”

I get this question five times a day and even with KD way in the back staging her one-woman flat Earth porn revue, I can still hear her stifling a giggle from the innuendo.

We do  not carry deli meat. We do serve artisanal cheese and a damn fine espresso. I offer to show the questioner how to find the deli six blocks away.

Our new guest graciously waves away my written directions and takes a seat. I am more than delighted when she pulls a worn copy of No One Writes to the Colonel from her bag. The fastest way to my soul is through Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Somewhere in the shop, there’s a low rumble of an exchange. “The cheese is wonderful,” the murmur begins, “and I know for a fact the espresso has improved my sex drive 100 times over since I found this place, but it would be nice if…”

Flood peers over her glasses at me from across the room. It starts, her eyebrows say to me, and she’s back to gluing her collage of yellowed photos and dried leaves before I can brow anything back in despair.

“…it would be nice if Oka did indeed carry deli meats. Every day, people ask me why doesn’t Oka carry deli meats and I don’t really have a good answer. And sometimes, I’m here all day sampling cheeses and sipping this damn fine espresso, and by the time I’ve gotta go, I don’t have time to stop for toilet paper at Super Target or socks or, God, I’ve been needing masking tape forever, and I’m just saying it would be something toward the common good if Oka Cheese were Oka Super Target.

“Don’t get me wrong, Erica, I love this place. The cats, the cheeses, the collage classes, these little teeny tiny cups of your friend’s espresso—why don’t you charge for the espresso, you could make good money, I really don’t get that—it’s just that it would work out better for me if while we were all here together escaping from our usual, you could open up a tire and lube service, Kristin could run it, and I could get my tires changed at Oka Tire and Lube right here inside of Oka Super Target. I’ve never really liked cheese anyway, but you guys are nice. Damn fine espresso.”

By  now, Kristin and her “handyman” and their entire jittery audience have shooed away the cats and are standing inside for what they know to be the actual show. Flood is collaging the hell out of her dried leaves, but I know she’s listening. She’s always listening.

I grab a bongo drum, a wool beret and the mic I keep under the main cheese display. Someone instinctively dims the lights while my bedazzled Freddie Mercury t-shirt catches the last glint of twilight. I begin to reveal the secrets of the universe, particle by particle, brought together in one big bang, making the world a damn fine espresso.

Oka Cheese, more commonly known as yeah write, is:

  • the smaller blogger’s long lost tribe, the Okaformee Moonshiners. Mascot: four beautiful people soaking in a bubble bath of gin. Official flower: the iPad. 
  • when we are on our best behavior, a blog reader’s paradise. There are no commercial or gimmicky sponsored posts snuck onto the grid. The casual surfer can stumble over us, click a thumbnail and start reading what we know will be a pretty decent personal narrative. Super Target can’t make nearly that same promise.
  • a surprisingly fun way to spend Tuesday through Thursday in good company while other, more dramatic, yet somehow less important, shiz is going down on the Internet.
  • experienced writers helping emerging writers helping beginning writers struggle with the decision of writing for a public audience. We do not abandon our beginning writers who speak up and don’t quit.
  • an open community where writers and bloggers can submit when they want and not submit when they don’t want. When you finally get bored with our shenanigans and unsubscribe, I heal my broken feelings with a new design element. True story. Typeface, graphic or WordPress template. Sometimes sushi.

Yeah write is not:

  • for everybody. And that’s okay. We all have personalities and working styles best taken in small doses, and mine come with a really long list of contraindications. Take me with food, hard liquor and a big chunks of dark, cynical humor.
  • your writing partner. If you don’t have one, find one. Start looking here if you like, search a few writing groups, but beware the hidden agenda. Some people live to discourage the dreams of others. And some don’t know enough about the process, about the art, to be considered your writing equal. You need a writing partner, not an intern.
  • a replacement for a writer’s workshop or an instructor-led class. Sometimes, you just need to be in the same room with the person you’re trusting with your hard work.
  • your first drafts folder. Bring your best stuff doesn’t always mean bring it right now. It never means bring the best you happen to have on you, cohesive narrative be damned. Bring us your best stuff when you know it’s gonna be the best on the grid. Ask your writing partner or your writing class instructor for a quick read-through if you’re not feeling very best stuffy.
  • in the mood for people trawling the published challenge grid submissions wondering aloud how “she got on” or “why is that one getting so many votes?” Lemme answer: sometimes there are bloggers who followed the submissions guidelines on the first, second or third try, so that’s how they got on. And sometimes there are writers whose passion showed through or whose story was more original than anyone else’s and that’s why they are getting the votes (or the editors’ picks). Mad they keep winning? Write something better.

Super Target is about a 20-minute walk from here, but why don’t you wait and go with me this weekend? I love Super Target as much as the next girl needing new socks, but for now yeah write #72 is open: artisanal cheese and a damn fine espresso…

yeah write #72 optional writing prompts

  • Do not mention anywhere in your post, either as intro or footnote, that you are writing to a prompt.
  • We want the story the furthest away in your imagination from the original prompt. Let your imagination loose.
  • Keep your writing style! Do you tell stories with humor? Prose? Verse? Photos? Illustrations? Keep doing that. 

word prompt


photo prompt


color prompt


About the Author


  • locatelli cheese [Sat] 25 May 13 at 9:13 am

    The recipe makes twelve and this is enough to serve
    four people. One primary reason for the popularity of
    wine in the new age is its new image as moderating health drink
    with mild intoxicating properties and also its world wide affordability and availability.

    Mozzarella, Parmesan, Emmental and Roquefort might be a flavorful combination but you can use
    any cheeses you fancy.

  • Love, love, love. Your posts always bring a smile to my face and a giggle in my heart. I know, that’s mushy, but truly…

  • Dawn Beronilla [Wed] 29 Aug 12 at 11:19 am

    I just wanted to pop in and say that I loved this post. Like Melisa said, it was also my favorite here to date.
    You are all great folks, and I am so glad to be a part of this group, week after week. I will have to sit out this week unless a miracle happens before deadline, but I will try to read and comment as much as I can. I bit off more than I could chew for the week, I believe.

    Thanks to everyone who makes this place as awesome as it is. It’s become such a huge part of my week that I still want to be involved in reading and voting on the weeks I can’t submit.
    You guys rock.

  • icescreammama [Wed] 29 Aug 12 at 10:07 am

    loved your little cheese/espresso hide-away. i want to hide-away there. i wouldn’t come though, if there were deli-meats! 😉

    (can you believe i actually linked up on the first try?!!!)

  • Michelle Longo [Wed] 29 Aug 12 at 7:38 am

    Now that I’m linked up and I have a moment to say so, loved this post! I’m in on the Vancouver thing. And also, I totally want to hang out in a cheese shop with all of you because I think that would be the best way to spend my days. Of course, if all there is to drink is espresso you all will get mighty sick of me mighty quickly. I tend to overcaffeinate.

  • Cindy ~ The Reedster Speaks [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 9:21 pm

    What with our convos here and on Twitter, our sharing of stories week by week, I pretty much feel like we are in this cheese shop with y’all. My pockets will be packed with chocolates for everyone.

  • Mary @ A Teachable Mom [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 8:44 pm

    You totally had me going – I was fantasizing about how relaxing and fun it would be to have a little cheese shop and run Yeah Write with a good friend. Apparently there’s no cheese. Do I still get a free espresso? Fab post – you rock them words!

  • Laura [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 5:22 pm

    I tried to link up last night but haven’t seen an email from InLinkz or an editor. Is there a way to know if it went through? Or am I just being impatient?

  • Kristin [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 5:07 pm

    Hey! Why am I out back with the feral cats reading about submitting to some dolt who can’t hold a balanced conversation? I haven’t done either due to allergies to dander and latex. Can we switch it to stray dogs and Shakespearean Sonnets? I’m quite good at interpreting them with just the right balance of saucy and cynical.

    Loved this post, and I say we all make this place reality in a suburb of Vancouver if November’s election doesn’t go my way.

  • Melisa [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 4:50 pm

    Shut the front door, this post was awesome. My favorite to-date, fo-sho. I really can’t add anything clever here. I just loved it.

  • Hudleyflipside [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 1:36 pm

    Freddie Mercury t-shirt … come on you can do better than that… heheh it seems you really like this guy? I saw Queen in 1978… Cheese , coffee and cats sounds good to me.. I believe it..!!

  • Rachel [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 1:02 pm

    This is my first time participating! I’m so excited! I want to apologize because I think I may have submitted my post two or three times, because I couldn’t figure out if it worked. I’m not supposed to get a confirmation, right?

  • Pippi [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 12:35 pm

    I love the YeahWrite community. I love Erica’s post describing it. Makes me want to gather with y’all to sip espresso and chow down on some cheese. 🙂

    • Melisa [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 4:50 pm

      Girlfriend, I agree. I’ll bring some Red Vines and maple bars, too.

      • Cindy ~ The Reedster Speaks [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 9:18 pm

        Enough with the maple bars, yo.

        • Melisa [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 9:43 pm

          There are never enough maple bars, yo. They. Are. Rad.

  • Michelle Longo [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 12:34 pm

    That was in there (with a lot of other codey stuff). I had a www in the link I used out side of the badge link and I took that out and it worked. Thanks. No apologies for my frustrations necessary 🙂 thanks for the quick reply.

  • Pippi [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 12:24 pm

    I’m still having problems linking up. C’mon! I want to be part of the curd-and-espresso club too!

    • Erica M [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 12:28 pm

      The Inlinkz app was being really picky this morning. I fixed it. Thanks!

  • IASoupMama [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 10:46 am

    Erica — I loved this post! Such an awesome way to describe this place!

    And, I’m admitting that I typed that comment three times before I typed it correctly because I submitted the very first work of fiction I’ve ever written to this week’s challenge. And now I feel like barfing…

    • Canada's Boomergirl [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 11:19 am

      Erica, a fine morning read and one that got me thinking of a place near me that serves and sells fair trade coffee. Mismatched chairs and tables for decor and even if it’s not all the same people in the place when I go in, it always feels like the same “calmly quiet people”. Lots of laptops or books open, a lot of deep thought I think punctured by with sporadic bursts on keyboards. :- )

      If you ever head north, I am hoping you find a little spot serving Oka cheese and good espresso. Oka cheese was first made by Quebec monks. Their monastery still commands a magnificent view of the countryside around Oka, Quebec. The cheese has a smoky taste and Oka curds- well, I would have to say they are in a league of their own.

      • Erica M [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 11:34 am

        Thank you so much for the wonderful and informative comment. Now I want Oka curds so bad! Thanks for the perfect photo for my post today. I am so glad we connected.

  • Pippi [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 10:44 am

    Now I want artisan cheese.

  • Jamie@southmainmuse [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 10:42 am

    Okay — you had me at cheese. It is true? Did you make this up? It’s probably written somewhere that you are not a cheese merchant (as I am horrible with finding all the little nuances of this blog) but I hope that your are. Do you make the cheese? I find this all so wonderful and a little hard to believe. Well, the Fifty Shades reading not so hard to believe, but is the rest true?

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  • Jester Queen [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 10:17 am

    So, what you’re telling me is not to order a ham sandwich?

    Seriously, though, you TOTALLY had me going. I’m infamously gullible, and I was reading along thinking, “Yeah, wow, I had NO IDEA that these people WORKED together as well as blogging together. What an awesome (and look she even has a picture of the cheese shop to prove it) concept. I want to own a cheese shop. Only I’d charge for the espresso. How can she afford to not charge for the espresso? What do the cheeses cost that she can’t charge for…. metaphor. Right. It’s a metaphor. Doh! And I was SO going to go there as soon as I figured out where they were located in all their bohemian glory.”

  • Kenja [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 10:01 am

    I loved this post! It reminds me of some of the lazy southern shops in the south. Can I have some expresso please?

  • Heather [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 8:51 am

    This is so great! I’m jealous. I’ll be back.

  • christie tate [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 8:18 am

    Ka-pow! Fascinating post. I admit I am tired enough that I was all “oh my god, she has an artisanal cheese shop. I am totally going to visit when I am in town.” Good thing I kept reading. Great explanation. I feel like I got a peek under the curtain.

  • Debbie McCormick [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 6:39 am

    I have the button in my post AND oN in my sidebar and I can’t link up because it keeps telling me I don’t have a back link to this site.

    • Anna [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 9:35 am

      me too 🙂 or maybe ;(

    • Sam [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 9:44 am

      Debbie, I had that same problem, so I added the link at the bottom of my post, and it went through.

      • Jester Queen [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 11:30 am

        I copied the link from the top of the page and replaced the backlink in the photo with it and that fixed it for me?

        • Michelle Longo [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 12:00 pm

          I can’t get the backlink either. Can someone dumb it down big time for me? Because I tried the code, I tried creating a link and neither is working.

          • Erica M [Tue] 28 Aug 12 at 12:22 pm

            Use this link in your badge code: Some are having issues, some are not. Could be my mistake. I’ll take a look at it asap. Sorry for the frustration 🙂