On Tea Cups

Here is my preferred writing situation:

I have just gotten up.  Nothing has happened to trespass upon the tabula rossa of my ADD mind for the day.  The house is still and silent, because I am alone.  The world outside is hushed, because it is earlier than the people in my neighborhood begin to stir.  I have an oversized mug of warm black tea (either straight Kenya leaf or English breakast blend), with sugar and cream. On the mug is something that makes me feel like a writer—a stupid pretension, perhaps, but one I enjoy.

Within the past six months I have lost both of my mugs.

The first had a 19th century woman writing on one side, and an angel statue with a quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the other.  It was a 21st birthday gift from a college friend who has since drifted away.  The mug reminded me of her, and the times we had, and how much she believed in my writing.  That one I dropped at work, and broke the handle off of (which tore a hole in the side); it is now my desktop pen holder.

lost mug

The second read “Drink Cullen’s Tea, Bought of Cullen’s Stores” and was one I picked up in the height of a Twilight obsession.  The first novel I wrote as an adult was a rewrite of the final book in that series, and that mug sat beside my laptop throughout the process.  Since that time, the cup remained a testament to my ability to actually write a novel, and was also an oversize tea cup, not coffee mug.  I dropped it getting out of my car, when the paper bag holding dinner ripped and I had to choose what to save.  Like Humpty Dumpty, it shattered irreparably.

My husband didn’t quite understand why I needed a replacement mug:  we have plenty of coffee cups, and I even have a couple special mugs (one a Beatles Abbey Road mug from my bestie, the other an initial mug from my goddaughter), but they are both normal sizes.  When I am writing, I want to minimize the amount of time I spend doing other things (such as getting refills) but I also like to have a constant supply of my morning brew.  Hence my need for a giant cup.

The very next day, hubs and I went to World Market so I could find a new mug (as that was where I found the Cullen’s Tea cup and often find great, oversized mugs there).  The selection was…dismal.  The only one which was big enough was an elephant mug.  It did not suit my pretensions, so I left it on the shelf and decided the mug(s) would find me at the right time.

That was two weeks ago.

Today I went boot shopping at some of the discount stores here, which I prefer to check first before hitting the mall.  I did not find any boots, but I did find a fabulous hat at TJ Maxx, which was clearly there because one corner of the decorative bow had not been glued properly.  Well, I was perfectly happy to sew that flaw away and have a charming British bonnet for $20, so I decided to buy it.  The check-out line was long, and the store wisely lines the waiting corridor with bric-a-brac.  One shelf had oversized mugs.  None of them were outstandingly fabulous, but some of them had little inspirational sayings.  “Believe in yourself.”  “Dream Big.”  That sort of thing that would be applicable enough to my attempts at writing to be worth a couple bucks.  I was going to pick by color, but then I saw one that read “Cherish the journey.”

Now, I know to most people that’s just a coffee mug redux of carpe diem or “stop and smell the roses,” but it meant something a bit more specific to me.  See, I have days—many, many days, more days than I care to think about—when the words to a particular scene do not come easily.  The pretension I am projecting onto this mug and those trite words is to enjoy even the days when the words come hard, because even if it’s a slog I am still writing.

So that’s my new motto.  Cherish the journey.  Because the best way out of hell is through the other side.

mug b


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