staring down a blank page

coffee berries in winter light

I don’t wake up craving a cup of coffee. I wake up just fine with a splash of cold water on my face. It’s not the jolt I crave at all. It could be noted that I don’t drink decaf, but that’s more about processing.

I love the intention in the roast and the ritual of making coffee. Grinding the beans, firing up the espresso boiler or setting the kettle on. Pressing water through the beans to extract that holy mixture of flavour and aroma. Sitting down to enjoy the pleasure of the beverage – alone with a book, or over stories at the kitchen island with a companion.

It’s a perfect late morning or mid-afternoon break.

Unless I’m writing with a group. Then we might meet at a local coffee shop where I’m happy to start the day with a latte or an americano and then reach for more as the day wears on. It’s both social contract for keeping my place at the table and fuel for my creative efforts. (Very few coffee shops have safe snack foods for me.)

Writing with friends is a great way to keep my accountability on track. We don’t have word-count police and nobody demands to see what I did before I leave. But I know that if I’m going to crate the dog at home and drive across the lake to the coffee shop and pay someone else to make my drinks, I want to have something to show for it.

And right now I have a deadline due date specific goal.

After writing yesterday’s post about friendlier language, I think ‘deadline’ doesn’t serve me as well. I intend to finish this draft of the manuscript by the time of the SCBWI conference in April. That’s just a touch over six weeks from today.

Eep. I said that out loud, didn’t I? Booze won’t help. That kind of liquid courage will not make it easier to unwrangle this story from the dark and put words on the page. But coffee? Coffee will be my daily companion as I stare down the blank page.

Demons, indeed. As Austin Kleon notes, coffee helps.

Coffee #newspaperblackout #blackoutpoetry

A post shared by Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) on

photo notes: the winter sun coming in the south facing windows brings out the colour in the cherries on our coffee tree. I really do like my coffee.

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