Sunday, September 25, 2011

COFFEE MUG AS WRITING PORTAL

I have a coffee mug obsession—just one of my many writing idiosyncrasies—or so I'm told. Not that I have a huge mug collection or anything (okay, it is rather large). It’s just each one was chosen or given to me for a specific reason, making them all dear to me.

For example, I picked out the Austin mug in an airport at the last minute when I was flying back from the YA A to Z conference. Now, every time I’m going to read or critique the work of someone I met at the conference, or I’m going to be tweeting or chatting with them on Facebook, I use the Austin mug.

The We Are Happy to Serve You mug—a classic NYC icon—is very special, if a bit small. I only use that one when I’m feeling the need to inject some of my east coast upbringing into my writing. Usually when I’m writing a particularly loquacious, sassy, or outgoing character. New Yorker’s know this paper mug well, though mine is the ceramic version of the classic.

My Reincarnate and Reinvent mugs are specific to my my manuscript, FATAL THREADS. Since my main character, Onyx, is the reincarnation of the Goddess Nyx—the goddess of night—I used the Reincarnate mug the entire time I wrote the manuscript. When I went into editing mode, I switched to the Reinvent mug. Although Reincarnate makes frequent guest appearances, or whenever I think Onyx isn’t getting the attention or recognition she deserves. Kooky? Maybe. But I don’t care.

The Pink Love mug full of foam? Yes…I have mastered foam at home. I use an Italian Frabosk Cappuccino Creamer. I pump that whipped-up deliciousness by hand when I feel chipper about the job I did on a painful edit. The  little red heart at the bottom of the mug provides satisfaction when I reach the end.

But truly, this idiosyncrasy must be in My Blood.


Idiosyncrasy: from Ancient Greek (you see! Right there—Greek)
ἰδιοσυγκρασία, idiosynkrasía, “a peculiar temperament”, “habit of body” (ἴδιος, idios “one’s own”, σύν, syn “with” and κρᾶσις krasis “mixture”) is defined as an individualizing quality or characteristic of a person often used to express eccentricity or peculiarity.

My grandmother (Yai Yai) was an expert coffee fortune reader. And watching her swirl the coffee grinds in the bottom of demitasse cup prior to a reading is a fond memory.

Maybe to someone else a mug is just…a mug. But I don’t see just a mug. I see a portal full of possibilities. A portal that transports me into my mind where the writer in me lives. And quite frankly, I’d drink out of flowerpot if that were what it took to get from here to there on a daily basis.

So, I raise my mug to you, fellow writers, readers and lovers of YA literature. Next time you reach for that morning cup of joe, think of me. Choose your portal wisely and escape in peace!

1 comment:

  1. Cheers to that, Demetra! I love that your grandma could read coffee dregs. Awesome!
    And I implicitly agree. I'm a sucker for coffee mugs and I can't drink out of one that's not my personal faves. I have one from Beijing with dragons on it that I just adore for tea. And my former fave was a Charlie Brown one that said "Good grief!" And I say that all the time so it was classic... but it broke. :(
    But I recently found these beautiful mugs from Disney with diff princesses on them, but drawn in a really pretty and non-cartoonish way... you know, for grown up princesses... so since my daughter loves the princesses so much, I got myself one with Rapunzel and one with Ariel and I just love them... they are so feminine and sassy.
    And oh how I wish I could join you for some of your frothy cappuccinos! My fave! :)

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