Category Archives: Writing

“Should I Kill Myself, or Have a Cup of Coffee?” – Albert Camus

Calliope, Muse of Eloquence and Epic Poetry just highjacked my blog for the second time. Last time she led me to scandal when I wanted to write about washing machines. This morning I expected to write about the social ritual known as “Morning Coffee.”

“No, No,” Calliope said wagging her finger and pointing at my desk. “That’s much too dull. First you must write about writers and coffee.”

My Desk
She gazed at the sprawl that is my desk while writing, shook her head, and disappeared. I suppose she has a point. Reference books, notes, and pencils surround my computer. And next to the mouse, a mug of coffee growing cold.

Coffee & Writers

Coffee has a long linkage with creativity. (So does alcohol, but we won’t go there today.)

In 2013 Michael Koh referenced a study by the National Writer’s Association that concluded 110 per cent of poets and authors “have taken or take this certain easy-to-obtain mind-enhancing substance to complete their work or get through the day.”

Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary, claimed “Coffee: Induces wit. . . take it without sugar—very swank: gives the impression you have lived in the East.”

I ran across one reference that reported Ludwig van Beethoven, composer of Ode to Joy, breakfasted on coffee he made himself at precisely sixty beans per cup. I hope it was a large cup.

J. S. Bach, another famed composer wrote, “Without my morning coffee I’m just like a dried up piece of roast goat.” This led me to wonder how much roasted goat Bach consumed.

Coffee House, Sheridan ORLest you think creative coffee consumption has waned since the nineteenth century, Michael Koh reported that Americans consume an average of three cups of coffee daily, with writers doing their share to keep the numbers up by consuming four to five cups of coffee a day.

Honore Balzac, a prodigious French writer, explained the phenominon. “Coffee glides into one’s stomach and sets all of one’s mental processes in motion. One’s ideas advance in column of route like battalions of the Grande Armée. Memories come up at the double, bearing the standards which will lead the troops into battle. The light cavalry deploys at the gallop. The artillery of logic thunders along with its supply wagons and shells. Brilliant notions join in the combat as sharpshooters. The characters don their costumes, the paper is covered with ink, the battle has started, and ends with an outpouring of black fluid like a real battlefield enveloped in swaths of black smoke from the expended gunpowder. Were it not for coffee one could not write, which is to say one could not live.”

Which leads me to believe Albert Camus should choose coffee over death, because as an Unknown source wrote:

“Life’s too short to drink crappy coffee and cry over boys who don’t care.”

 

☕️ ☕️ ☕️

Photo of Writing Desk by Author.

Other Illustrations from Wikimedia Commons.

Calliope, extracted from The Muses Urania and Calliope by Simon Vouet. Public Domain.

Inside a Coffee House in Sheridan, OR by Visitor7. Creative Commons Attribution.

Michael Koh. “Coffee: The Writer’s Addiction.” Thought Catalog. Oct. 14, 2013.

“The Write Track: How Famous Writers Drank Their Coffee.” Mr. Coffee Blog. Nov. 23, 2014.

Mason Curry. “Coffee!!!” Daily Rituals. Slate. April 19, 2013.

Kyle Van Pelt. “3 Ways Coffee Boost Creativity & Makes You a Better Writer.” Goins, Writer.

KOLKATA, MARY PIGOT, & ME – Where She Wasn’t

KOLKATA, MARY PIGOT, & ME – Where She Wasn’t

My recent visit to Kolkata, like my visit to Edinburgh early last summer, is directly related to my current research project. This book is about Mary Pigot and the lawsuit she filed in 1883 against a prominent male missionary. Mary charged William Hastie with malicious libel. We would call his actions defamation of character. With… Continue Reading

London Highlights

London Highlights

I often visit London and stay in Kensington, usually combining research and family adventures. In the past we’ve eaten lunch at various neighborhood pubs, particularly the Gloucester Arms. So, naturally the day after our arrival we made our way to our favorite pub on Gloucester Road, only to find the menu had undergone a drastic… Continue Reading

“MALICE” AT THE BRITISH LIBRARY

“MALICE” AT THE BRITISH LIBRARY

I’m embarking on a new literary discovery adventure, presently titled “MALICE.” The story revolves around a Eurasian woman in nineteenth century Calcutta and the civil lawsuit she filed in 1883. Mary Pigot publicly accused an esteemed Scottish missionary with malicious libel — an intentional act meant to cause harm. The case was reported in full… Continue Reading

The Writer’s Lair

The Writer’s Lair

Every writer has a lair. It may be in the empty space under the stair. [Sorry, I couldn’t help that one.] It might be in the garage, or the laundry room, or any place really. This is a photo of the desk area where I wrote Rama’s Labyrinth. There’s a window on the right, so… Continue Reading

Rama’s Labyrinth

Rama’s Labyrinth

This past week has been exceptionally exciting. Rama’s Labyrinth, the book I’ve been working on for over five years, is now available on Amazon.com (some readers will find it on Amazon.co.uk). The ebook is US$2.99 and the softcover print volume is US$19.99. Rama’s Labyrinth is a biographical historical novel. We meet Rama in India when… Continue Reading

THE 100-TH POST

THE 100-TH POST

  If I gambled, I’d bet you expect me to write about Halloween again. Normally I would, but this post is even more special than things that go bump in the night. This is my 100th blog post. WoW – Triple Digits!   It all began with the first post on September 17, 2012. I… Continue Reading

Sandra & The PNWA Conference

Sandra & The PNWA Conference

Today’s featured image is a Wildebeest scratching his head in the dirt. It perfectly illustrates how I feel after spending the weekend at the 59th Pacific Northwest Writers’ Conference in Seattle. The conference is well-organized. The sessions are high quality.  The information — there’s just too much for my synapses to digest. So, what did… Continue Reading

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