Mon café

Coffeehouses, I don’t know. Actually, I don’t like coffeehouses. I do like coffee, though. A cup of coffee every morning. Otherwise, no chance of getting up and out. But just one. And just in the morning. No more than that. Otherwise, I can’t sleep.
I’m not against houses, either. I live in one, too. Well, not really, I live in an apartment, but that’s in a house, of course. But coffeehouses…
I only go to coffeehouses… Well, since I started writing. Don’t know why. It’s kind of a dull thing, this writing business. Maybe it’s because of my grandma’s cup. On that cup, it said: “Goodness me, what a grouse, if there was no coffee in the house.” That’s how it all started with me and coffee. And that’s how it started with me and writing. I wanted to be able to do that, too, so I wrote something. Or it could be that I started writing much later. Just like my uncle said: “What a rattle in your head, you’re nothing but a pea-brained kid.” He’s dead now, too, my uncle. But that’s when I started writing poems. Poems with rhyme and so on. Then limericks. Then some stories.
And those stupid literature reviews that I sent my stuff to, what do they do? Instead of saying: “That’s garbage, we’re not publishing that,” they print it. That’s no fun. Because since then, I’ve been an author. And each author has their coffeehouse where they write. No one writes at home, at their desk. No, it has to be a coffeehouse. That’s how it is. That’s a cliché, of course, and I don’t like clichés. But you have to do it anyway.
So now here I am, sitting around in a coffeehouse and writing. But I’m not enjoying it. Not the writing, and certainly not the coffeehouse.

English version: Anna Robinigg 2019

Bio and interview about Harald Jöllinger


Born in Mödling in 1973. Lives in Maria Enzersdorf. Writes nonsense, dark-humored poetry and short prose. Participant of Celler Schule 2007 and winner of the Irsee Pegasus 2013. Graduate of Leondinger Akademie für Literatur 2016. Public’s Choice Award at Nacht der schlechten Texte 2016 in Villach. The collection Marillen und Sauerkraut was published by Kremayr & Scheriau in the spring of 2019.


Schlichte Gedichte, Memoiren Verlag Bauschke, Glödnitz 2008.
Marillen und Sauerkraut, Kremayr & Scheriau, Wien 2019.
Various publications in anthologies and literature reviews.


What does literature mean to you?
Harald Jöllinger: Well, as people say around here. Literature… Literature. It’s not like I don’t care.

What do cafés mean to you?
HJ: Little. I wouldn’t mind if we turned all the cafés into taverns or pubs. Maybe we could keep one café open for nostalgic reasons. So that the Japanese tourists have something to visit. And Café Votiv has to stay. They’re the only ones who haven’t kicked out our writing group.

Why did you choose Café Votiv?
HJ: Because of said writing group. We meet here once a week. Highest level. Lots of writers would love to join. But we’re not taking on any new scribblers (or scribblerettes).

What do you do when you are not at a café?
HJ: Then I’ll be sitting on a park bench, looking about. This kind of thing is dying out, anyway. The Viennese are still good at eating, drinking, grumbling and whining. But just sitting here and staring into mid-air… that’s dying out. Because they’re all staring at their phones nowadays. When they’re in a café, too. But it would be important to stare into mid-air more.

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