Black Coffee

Black Coffee
Photo by Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash

Dear Literati,
I used to say that I like my coffee black like my soul. Today, I figured with the bad stock of Hy-Vee French roast brewing in the coffee maker, I ought to say I like my coffee bitter and black like my soul. Like many writers, artists, craftsmen, painters, carpenters, stockbrokers, hell, let's just wave our arms of generalization into those sweeping motions that only figure skaters seem to make graces, every single person with an addictive personality, I love coffee. It's part of my ritual; I get to the office, grind some beans, put it in the make, listen to my automatic coffee maker grunt, and gurgle its way through to a nice pot of coffee.
But it's not a nice pot when I'm brewing a Hy-Vee French roast. It might be the fact that I'm just a coffee snob at home that pollutes my senses. But this Hy-Vee stuff seems burnt. Even when I buy the beans, it's sooty. At home, I French press my personally roasted coffee because that was my pandemic-learned hobby. At work, I drink the bitter burnt black stuff that probably isn't good for my soul, my heart, or my outlook on life.
So, what the hell does this have to do with anything Joe?
Well, I think what's funny is that I really didn't notice that I didn't like my coffee at work until today when I was going down the hall thinking about black like my soul and that bitter and black like my soul was more appropriate and that I actually didn't like the coffee I was brewing and that I was marching down the hall to go to the one water fountain that I'm convinced has the best tasting water here at my work. (Even though it doesn't have any claims of filtering or anything, it's adjacent to the bathrooms, and I'm sure it is just the same tap water used for flushing the bathrooms). It's ridiculous; I grind bad coffee beans and mix them with tap water from the good fountain.
But the thing that matters most, the thing that starts the whole thing, is the ritual: bad coffee or good, morning or night, before I sit down to do heavy, hard writing -- work -- I brew coffee. It sets my mind on the poetry in prose, the problems of the story or thing I'm writing, and putting down the words that make all of it work.

What really matters here is you must figure out what steps you take to get real work done.

It's a simple idea, but one that doesn't get a lot of attention; there are so many really good books on writing, so many good books on productivity and motivation, and so on that you can backstroke through them in a pool. If you printed out the multitudes of pages written and zapped them out into the screens in our hands, on our desks, and so on, it would fill stadiums. But the one thing that truly matters most is that you have to stop consuming and start making.

And that most easily happens when your mind has a chain of things, certain motions you've trained, leading you to sit down and work.

For me, that's thinking about bad coffee, sipping and swishing the words in my head, and sitting down at my typewriter/notepad/computer and laying down the type.