I distrust writers who don’t drink coffee. How can anyone be a writer without coffee? Writers are the original Coffee Achievers.
To me, coffee and writing share a symbiotic relationship. They belong together, like tequila and sunrise…like sand and castles, or sun and shine. I space my working day out in cups of coffee. It’s my reward for getting work done, and also my stimulation to do more work. I need that psychoactive alkaloid stimulant crossing my blood-brain barrier. Coffee is my nectar, my comfort, it gives me that burst of energy when I need it. It warms my hands whenever it’s cold and the rapid typing turns them to icicles. I love the taste, the smell and the idea of it. Yup, it’s love.
As a writer, I love coffee for four simple reasons: the smell, the taste, the warmth and the short break it provides. The smell and taste perks me up and keeps me alert. Its warmth feels like an inner hug if I’m struggling with my writing. Whenever I need to sit back and think for a minute or two about what comes next, leaning back in my chair with a cup of coffee provides that much-needed break to ruminate and do something else. I find my coffee breaks are less about the caffeine, and more about taking a few minutes to zone out and think about my story. It’s my comfort food when I’m stressed.
Few drinks have accompanied the creative activity of writers like coffee. How many great works of literature have been ushered into the world by the buzz created by this black brew? What does coffee do to writers?
Everything becomes agitated. Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop, the artillery of logic rushes up with clattering wagons and cartridges; on imagination’s orders, sharpshooters sight and fire; forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink – for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water, as a battle opens and concludes with black powder
“When you take them they change the chemistry of your brain, which adapts to function with the high levels of these chemicals. If you then try to quit (i.e. cut the supply) the brain malfunctions leading to these symptoms, and it takes some time for it to adapt to working without them again.”
But many writers would argue that the creative benefits they derive from coffee are worth any risks. Let me end this post with a quote from Gertrude Stein about the wonders of coffee:
Coffee is real good when you drink it. It gives you time to think. It’s a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup.