Writers have an almost crazed reputation for being notorious coffee drinkers, and I would venture to guess there isn’t another group of people who have a closer association with drinking copious amounts of the brew than writers. There are a lot of writers I know who think that coffee actually makes them a better writer, which, of course, is not true. However, the mighty java has been know to get me through many an hour of productive writing, so I’d have to say that writers and coffee are definitely a match made in heaven.
Jack Kerouac, William Faulkner, Francis Bacon, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, Søren Kierkegaard, Margaret Atwood, and David Lynch, are just a few famous writers who adored/adore coffee.
Known to aid in focus and attention, to keep sleepiness at bay, and induce a feeling of deep pleasure with each sip; the ritual of coffee drinking can often become a portal to creativity.
I love this quote by American novelist, poet, and playwright, Gertrude Stein. She wrote: ‘Coffee 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.’
Coffee & Creativity – Friend or Foe?
Certainly, based on my own experience as an oft times writer full of self-doubt and/or lack of initiative and commitment, I’d have to say that a good, bold, coffee tends to blast all three evils right out of the water.
However, some evidence from a 2013 a review of the research by Maria Konnikova in the New Yorker, spoke about how, in neurochemical terms, caffeine doesn’t actually give us energy at all. It stated that, in fact, all it really does is delay the moment when the eventual fatigue sets in and how it contributes to a narrow focus and hyper-vigilant state of mind.
“Creative insights and imaginative solutions often occur when we stop working on a particular problem and let our mind move on to something unrelated,” Konnikova writes.
While I totally agree with the act of letting the mind freely wander to beckon the creative genius within to emerge, to the rest of it I say, phooey!
Coffee Pumps Out The Creativity
After the mind freely wanders, whether we’ve done that through a walk in nature, a cooking rampage in the kitchen, the belting out of our favorite Andrea Bocelli sonata, or making love in the afternoon; let’s be honest with each other here…it’s the coffee that’s going to get us through the next hours of pumping out the creativity and ushering it into the physical world.
All too often, we writers and other creative types are like walking creative zombies – full to the brim of words, ideas, poetry, prose, and pictures but paralyzed by our self-doubt and erroneous imperfections.
Putting Rubber To The Road
We need a window to be passionately flung open to set free all those little creative demons and allow the inner genius to simply “bleed onto the page,” as American novelist Paul Gallico wrote in his 1946 novel, Confessions of a Story Writer.
If it has fueled us to put rubber to the road and get the art out of us, then I remain in love with it for all the days of my life, and will probably die with the words ‘writers and coffee – a match made in heaven’ on my lips!
Why Writers Love Coffee – The Short List
- Just the name ‘coffee’ makes us utterly happy
- The smell sends us into a state of blissful euphoria
- The ‘hissing’ sound of an espresso machine can halt us in our tracks
- The sight of a steaming brew has us sighing with deep relief
- The feel of our hands wrapped around a mug of it summons the eyes to close and the heart to melt
- And finally…the taste, of which barely any other pleasure can compare
My Most Favorite Coffee Quote of All Time
The American travel and humor writer, Dave Barry, sums up my feelings about coffee like no one else ever has. I leave you with a description of what we true die-hard coffee drinkers are really feeling about our love of coffee.
May this giggle and a good coffee get you through the day.
“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity. I bet this kind of thing does not happen to heroin addicts. I bet that when serious heroin addicts go to purchase their heroin, they do not tolerate waiting in line while some dilettante in front of them orders a hazelnut smack-a-cino with cinnamon sprinkles.”
I Love To Hear From You
Please feel free to leave any comments and/or questions you may have on your love of ‘writing and coffee’ in the comments below.