Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Some thoughts about coffee mugs and inspiration

First another rant. Just returned from a coffee shop for a quick caffeine pick-me-up and once again encountered a coffee mug related problem. As a writer, a coffee or tea break is an important tool in the thinking process. If and whenever possible, I opt for a 'real' china mug rather than a paper cup. Somehow, and maybe it's my imagination, hot beverages including tea always seem to retain better flavor in a non-paper receptacle.

At this particular chain, customers are given a mug in which to pour their own coffee with unlimited refills. As the server handed over the mug, couldn't help but notice that the rim was slightly chipped.

Excuse me but this mug is chipped

There was a thirty second silence between us while we stared into each other's eyes. Sort-of a coffee-shop-stare-down. Glancing down, she grabbed another mug, passed it to me and took off to chat with another server.

Meanwhile, walking over to fill up the mug with coffee, I saw there were stains inbedded on the sides.

This mug is stained. See? Look at the sides...

(grabbing another mug absent-mindedly)
This is as good as it's gonna get.

Let's just say it was passable but only just. 'As good as it's gonna get?' That's a good explanation?

The problem, in my humble opinion, is that a large portion of coffee drinkers have opted to be satisfied with a paper cup. We have turned into a population of mobile coffee drinkers who prefer to walk while they drink, rather than take the time to sit down and experience the pleasure of sipping coffee from a proper drinking receptacle. Proper drinking mugs and cups are becoming obsolete and coffee shops focus on their paper cup customers. Rant over and back to the real heart of the situation.

In spite of a concerted effort to work on my playwriting, my brain seems to be neutral. In assessing the situation, I'm thinking here that perhaps it's due to my physical location away from home base where ideas and dialogue seem to flow endlessly. Not that the current atmosphere isn't conducive to writing but the change, at least for me, isn't for the better. In my normal setting, there is a window next to the computer set-up and somehow staring out of the window at the passing scene inspires the part of my brain that produces ideas and concepts. Most of my time these days is spent staring at the computer screen, accompanied by the occasional line or two, which is frequently deleted shortly thereafter. Presumably and hopefully, upon my return to my usual environment, the words will flow like water. Or not.

“I tell my students there is such a thing as ‘writer’s block,’ and they should respect it. You shouldn’t write through it. It’s blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven’t got it right now.”
—Toni Morrison


No comments: