Thursday’s Theme Music

Today’s song is one I sing briefly for myself almost every morning because I’ve tortured the lyrics to address my morning coffee ritual.

“Pour some coffee for me.

“Make it black, hot and strong,

“I can drink it all day long.”

Here’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, Def Leppard, 1987.



Super Rant

I have a super rant today about the overuse of super. Things are super-clean, super-neat, super-simple, super-priced, and super-super. It’s super-irritating. Like literally, super has lost its super meaning, becoming another empty word used as a synonym for that overused word, very. Guess this is progress, or just change. It’s how the language grows, mis-employing words that aren’t understood to give them new meaning.

I guess I’m an old crab. Coffee, and make it super-quick.

Last Wish

Dressed in a long, glossy black skirt, black boots, and a hooded black rain coat, she shuffled in slowly. Her steps made no sounds. A little bent forward, white, with wire rim glasses, she looked straight ahead.

She looks like death, he thought.

Turning, she looked at him, raised a black-gloved finger at him, and smiled. She is death, he realized. The scene changed. Instead of being at a coffee shop table typing on a computer, he was squirming and shaking against the shock of being born.

Great, he thought back in the other moment, guessing that he was going to endure a this-is-your-life montage before dying.

That was probably going to take a while.

He wished he had more coffee.

Two Cups

It began in December. With receding silver hair and a large, round head, he looks like he’s in his late sixties. Each day, he enters the coffee shop at around eleven thirty. He buys two cups of coffee to go. Going outside, he finds a seat at one of the patio tables. His location varies by weather. He puts one cup of coffee by one seat, and then sits down at another. Sipping coffee, he gazes at something that he only sees. When he finishes his coffee, he picks up the other cup and empties it on the ground. Both cups are thrown into the trash can, and then he walks down the street, alone.

The Process

He had his talismans, his gold-plated 2001 quarter, the pen with which he’d written the first short story he’d ever sold, once lost, but then found in a box of memorabilia, and his tumbled and polished lapis lazuli. With those in his pockets, he processed his mental checklist. Keys, money, wallet, computer, backpack, sunglasses. Donning his coat, he gloved up and left the warm house for the cold, sunny day.

Squirrelly grey clouds marbled the sky’s blue arena. Sidewalks squished with remnants of last night’s rain. He walked fast, shifting from thoughts of cats, wife, social engagements, and news to his stories, drawing up where’d he stopped, what he’d planned since then, and where else he might go, considering the scenes and words like they were night stars.

One mile he walked, warming up over the twenty minutes, two as the land dried out under the sun, reaching the coffee shop in less than thirty-eight minutes. Warmth, conversation, and music percolated inside the small, modern, glassy place. Weird, it didn’t smell like coffee.

He knew many faces but spoke to no one but those needed to get coffee. After ordering it, he set up his computer at a table and powered up. Documents were opened. Internet connections were made.

Hot, black coffee was sipped. Words and ideas were contemplated again. Setting the coffee down, he raised his fingers over his keyboard.

Time to write like crazy, at lease one more time.

A Day Without Writing

I didn’t write write yesterday. I had a full schedule of other activities planned. Yes, it’s rare that I take a day off writing. I think there are usually six days a year that I don’t write, and they’re usually sick days, travel days, or holidays. Might as well face it, I’m addicted to writing.

When I say that I didn’t write, I mean that I didn’t sit down with computer, crayon, or paper and pen. I wrote, but it was all in my head. I’ve noticed before that not writing and breaking out of my routine to do other things stimulates my writing. Same thing happened yesterday. I was writing fast in my head.

After getting home close to midnight last night (and with over twenty-six thousand steps on the Fitbit), I had a lot to write this morning. The writing session was one of those intense, fast-paced, and focused affairs that I so love, one where I take one or two gulps of hot black coffee as prelude to the process, and then unleash the muses. An hour or two later, butt sore and with half a cup of cold coffee still available, I stop, spent like a marathon runner.

It’s been an excellent writing week. Having discovered that simultaneous submissions to agents are now considered normal (yeah, you probably all knew that already, didn’t you?), I’ve submitted Four on Kyrios to six agents. I’ve taken my writing approach to procuring an agent. With writing, I write and press on, and with agents, I submit and press on.

Meanwhile, I’ve jumped into a new novel-writing project, April Showers 1921. As always, it’s great fun here in the beginning, when ideas spin like polished, multi-faceted gem stones, letting me think about all the possibilities. Often, though, as I contemplate the facets, the muses say, “Here, we’re going this way. Come on.”

That’s how it’s been. I’m not arguing with them. Fools argue with muses, because mortals always lose any argument with a muse. That’s just fact. I looked it up on the Innertubes, and found a Youtube interview with Shakespeare about it, so you know it’s true.

Now, though, I’m at the après writing juncture that requires me to stop. Don’t really want to stop because it’s been great but I know that I’m finished for the day. Other things remain to be done, my energy is shifting, and my body is saying, “Excuse me, but can we move? Would it be possible to bend and stretch, reach for the sky, stand on tippy toes, and all that?”

Sure, body. We’ll go do some of that. Time to stop writing like crazy, for at least one more day. Just let me gulp down this cold coffee and we’ll get out of here.

Waste not, want not, right?

The Speed of Time

I’m returning to a favorite topic, the speed of time, because I’ve discovered more about about it.

The speed of time is not universal. As everyone knows, according to the School/Work Principle, time’s speed isn’t constant. When you’re waiting for the school or work day to end, time not only slows, but sometimes goes backward, forcing you to repeat several minutes. Some movies, are like that, too.

Learning of this, the NFL manages to employ this in their football games. The last two minutes of an NFL game often takes as long as most of the rest of the game. My wife can attest to that. She’s endured it. “When are we leaving?” she asks.

“As soon as this game is over.”

“How much is left?”

“Not much.”

That waffling, of course, warns her. “How much time is left?” she asks.

“It’s the last two minutes of the fourth quarter.”

“Okay, I’m going to go bake some cookies.”

Using that as a basis for my research, I confirmed that traffic-jam time drags almost as slow as the final two minutes of an NFL game, or the last ten minutes of work or the school day.  Shopping time remains the slowest of all, though. Even the NFL has not been able to slow time like shopping will do. Figuratively speaking, shopping time can literally last an eternity. I’ve endured several election cycles while I’ve been shopping. I found that having a Fitbit helps deal with shopping time. It doesn’t change the rate of speed, but I can get a couple of million steps in while I’m walking around, waiting.

Waiting in line time is almost as bad as shopping time. I’ve had clothes wear out while I’ve been standing in line to pay for my purchases, especially at Costco. Costco cashier lines exist in a weird time zone of their own where time gets very sluggish. I’ve spent hour-minutes in line, gazing at what others have bought and comparing them to our purchases.

On the other end of it, I’ve discovered some periods of time that pass quickly. Sleep time is very fast. I don’t know how many times I thought, I’ll just sleep for a few more minutes, and then close my eyes, and, snap, forty minutes have elapsed.

Writing time is frequently often as fast. I have three hours to write, I think, and a cuppa coffee. Then I begin, and the next thing I know, writing time is ended, and I still have coffee.

Which is sort of weird. Coffee time by itself seems to flow at an ideal pace. That’s not true for all beverages. I can tell you, beer time goes fast. Sit down to have a beer, and next thing you know, it’s hours later.

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