January 1, 2013 § 6 Comments
It appears that Writers like a cornucopia of things that start with “c,” though be assured the following are not in any particular order nor is the list by any measure complete:
coffee (the “think drink”)
cats (I don’t have one and am concerned that this signifies something in terms of writing success)
consideration of others (of our writing time)
crowds (to get lost in and for observeation)
corks (from wine, really good wine)
calm (in which to write)
carbon paper (yes, it still exists) (zen spot)
A favorite on the above list is Coffee, which does indeed pertain to my resolution list:
- Drink it slowly (no pre-work drink-on-the-run)
- Treat it as a luxury ( it is)
- Have it in lieu of junk food, stress snacks, or sugar bombs of any sort
- Enjoy with a friend as a catalyst to whatever else is going on and as a focal point, something to stare at thoughtfully while listening and formulationg thoughts and maybe even for toasting!
September 9, 2012 § 15 Comments
My Dad used to drink coffee even in the heat of the upstate New York summer (temperatures then and there averaged around 73 degrees farenheit).
“Why?”I once asked him, thinking that classic Coke was the only thirst quencher during the heat of an Adirondack summer.
He explained that though it might make him sweat, any resultant sweat would actually cool him down, especially when a foothills breeze kicked up.
He might have answered my young-pup self, stating that he just plain loved coffee.
Becuase he did.
Also, in the ’60s, it was promorted as “think drink.” I liked that idea and years later, while at college, I found coffee-and-a-cigarette to be just the morning eye-opener. (OK, not for long on the cigarettes…sometime after studying in France, I gave them up, not enjoying the feeling of an army walking across my chest when waking.)
I did not give up coffee. It’s like I inherited the coffee gene from my Dad (impossible, he was my step-dad) and I consider it a luxury, as dessert, as a meal (sometimes at work, yeah, I know what you’re going to say) and as a date with HM, whether we’re cafe-ing or sitting in the living room, talking, reading and sipping.
Here’s a favorite place in St. Louis that you just might want to try out. They serve free trade coffee and somehow brew it strong without that miserable burned acid kick that so many places proudly brew. When in town, give it a whirl. It’s Shaw’s. Shaw’s Coffee LTD is privately owned, publicly popular!
September 8, 2011 § 19 Comments
On Friday mornings, I meet with my friend PZ for coffee at a local cafe.
We get large coffees and finesse ’em nice with milk, sugar, cinnamon, shots of the various coffees in the huge carafes – whatever.
And we sit, outdoors whenever possible and in spite of the leaf blower guy who was so moved to have the parking lot spotless at 7:15 in the morning. Really?
We sit and we talk.
We don’t gab; we don’t gossip.
And last week, when we had some serious stuff to share, we ended up laughing, out loud.
Right after we had shed some tears, the kind that require a tissue.
And THAT, my friends, is what made us laugh!!!!
OK, we don’t sit in public and cry like crazy suburban characters in a Franzen story.
But we do share stories and anecdotes about people we care about and love and how things are going, and often, the lives we see are so touching that we tear up.
Certain things, certain happenings and surely things related to our kids and dogs can have our eyes spilling quietly over.
We share a certain etiquette in the face of this “welling up.” It’s ok to dab or swipe at teary eyes; neither of us comments on it to the other. It’s understood that it’s ok, that it, well, it happens.
So last week, there were discussions on the Kids, and how they’re doing and also discussion on the perserverance of human kind and then I mentioned that our ancient beagle Huck had died.
And that did it.
We went immediately from welling up to those silent splashy tears.
PZ also had recently lost a beloved dog.
And so it’s been decided in an offhand manner that perhaps no makeup should be worn on Friday mornings.
Because Maybelline and Mary Kay can tell me ’til they’re blue in the face that their mascara is waterproof, like their foundation and blush, etc., but I can assure you – no, it is not.
Coffee with PZ.
I will show up (eventually) at work and surely someone will remark that I look tired (yeah, it happens when I skip the maquillage.)
I will have kicked off the day with a fearless BFF who is not afraid to cry or laugh. Out loud.
July 24, 2011 § 14 Comments
We’ve been home a week since our sejour in Cali.
And not a single post between then and now!
If I ran for president, I would put 3-day weekends and 30-hour days on my platform. Those extra hours in the day will be for sleep – I believe this nation is sleep-deprived – and for attending to and taking time out for, one’s arts and hobbies.
Has anyone read the 4-Hour Workweek? Wonder if it’s a lot of blather.
Meanwhile, a little coffee and conversation with HM, a little time in the garden…getting caught up on Zen time.
HOME by Julie Andrews (please tell me she has a ghostwriter or, is she also an excellent writer on top of everything else? sheesh)
THE PINE BARRENS by John McPhee (and I lived in Jersey and had no idea of the region…’til I saw THE SOPRANOS)
BEACHCOMBERS by Nancy Thayer (because it’s summer and I saw this book on the shelf and it looked…summery)
THE BLISS OF BLOGGING forgot author (sorry!!!) but need to read it since still, after several years, I’m trying to kickstart this blog)
FREEDOM by J Franzen (yes, I’m still reading it…egads, it’s long, longer than other long books. OK, and I think I have writer’s envy, too.)
A stack of NEW YORKER mags, 2 VOGUES (july & august) and the 2 recent issues of POETS & WRITERS magazine.
ok, wait, was I complaining about time?
February 17, 2011 § 18 Comments
I’d given up coffee for 8 months. Didn’t touch it. Went cold turkey.
But no one knew what a real winter we would have. And while away for a weekend a while back, I tasted the stuff, just a sip, for warmth. And comfort. And the next day, a half cup. And before I knew it, I was back on the bean. Drinking a full cup. And having a second one.
Sure, sure, they sing the virtues of a cup of coffee as part of daily intake, how it’s good for you, along with stats they excavate to prove its beneficial properties.
Well, all that aside, I drink it because it’s a luxury, a wake-up, a dessert, a treat, a friend on my desk, and represents one of those little “things” that gets you happily along your way during the day.
However, running late for work often trumps having time to get any coffee. And my mind goes to work on how I can get some of the gorgeous stuff so that when the lunch bell rings, there I am at Starbucks.
I’d like to break the habit again. Have a little more jingle in my pocket; a little less buzz pumping the blood pressure. Not gonna be easy. Not sure I will start with it this morning, either, tho’ already running behind my planned schedule.
I’m thinking of getting us a rooster, whose lovely raucous crow will wake us up and sets us on our feet each morning. So lovely and natural, its crow will resonate throughout the live long day, the startle of it keeping us awake and pleasant. And no caffeine.
Of course you can’t keep a rooster in a cup on your desk or sip it during a conference call or keep it in the cupholder in your car, not to mention coffee’s positive effects on writing!
(This rooster is not real (anymore). He’s stuffed. No, I did not do it. This photo was snapped at the Missouri Botanical Garden display during the holiday.)
January 25, 2011 § 17 Comments
Bissinger’s is a chocolatier, in the business of luxe sweet treats since the 1600s but it wasn’t ’til the 1800s that the family came stateside.
St Louis has two stores, the newest one having opened in 2007 which I refer to as “the bistro,” a sweet little location.
It sounds all haute and unapproachable but – not true! The Central West End embues it even more with charm and allure.
You can sit and sip and socialize. There is plenty of room yet it’s cool-cozy. It’s modern but no hard edges.
It’s warm despite its front being nothing but glass – the better for people watching. Yes you can sit and look out. Or, look in.
Whatever you like.
And there are things to buy if you want to take home something Bissinger-y.
OK, not a great picture but look at the size of that hot chocolate compared to the “normal” size water glass! Oh, yum. This is the stuff of comfort food in the dead of winter whether the sun is shining or not.
And then, because the place is new to you and you are “exploring” and checking it out as a future “writing place,” your date (HM himself) might order a little something, just to see what the “fare” is all about. Egads – yum. A blue cheese and spinach quiche…and a double chocolate scone. With butter. So British.
So, a writing place – really? Oh, yes. In the middle of an afternoon, with a little urban-ness and a discreet wait staff and the rich hush of a library gone sweet on chocolate, it’s the perfect place to write. Even if the only thing you have is your planner and a Bic stick pen.
Can chocolate replace coffee? Replace it? No. Complement it? Yes.
Thanks, I’ll take both.
They fuel the pen-to-paper activity.
You can order from Bissinger’s, too, and then just stay home and snack on the stuff.
But for a chocolate adventure, you have to go see…and sip…and sup a little.
Get out of the house, get out of your usual skin to sit down and do some serious writing. Changing venue/location changes everything about how you see the (same old) things on your page.
CHOCOLAT, of course! We saw Joanne Harris two years ago when she stopped in St. Louis and as she started out on her evening “lecture,” I thought ohgeezshedoesn’twanttobehereandthiswillbeboring.
Oh, how wrong I was. As she warmed up (shy), the anecdotes poured forth and she drew us into so many stories we lost track of truth and ficiton. And she spoke of the sequel at that time to CHOCOLAT. If you loved the CHOCOLATE world, the sequel will be a bit of an adjustment. Titled THE GIRL WITH NO SHADOW in the U.S. (and THE LOLLIPOP SHOES in the UK), it takes place in Paris, following the story of the Vianne and her daughters. (sorry, Johnny Depp, the river pirate, is not in the story.)
October 24, 2010 § 16 Comments
And I will rake.
But first some journaling, and a morning fire, outside. There’s so much tinder and kindling in the back woods.
The birds are singing, practically on the same note, just different octaves, and the breeze is gone.
There’s sun rather than the predicted rain.
There are no deadlines today; no schedule, no promises to keep (‘cept dinner, and pie!)
No one else is up yet.
Coffee, pen and paper.
BTW, the other chair (pictured) is empty and you are welcome to come and write by the fire! (there’s a table, too, and plenty of coffee and I promise not to talk.)
And no reading other people’s writing.
Just doing one’s own instead.
August 23, 2010 § 12 Comments
May 22, 2010 § 15 Comments
But the sun is out, and I’m up and about in wonder and awe. OK, there are workers banging around in our backyard, too, (just beneath the master suite windows, actually) digging and tearing up our old concrete patio to put in some nice groundwork and angles and pavers and whatever HM planned with them. The dogs are up, pacing nervously from room to room on the tips of their toenails, their tails rigid with concern.
And yet HM sleeps. That man has a finger on the pulse of inner peace.