If you’ve been writing for a while, whether you mean to or not, the act of writing becomes a ritual. I don’t necessarily mean a religious experience (although it is for some folks), but more, the ritual one does before sitting down to write. The ritual seems like some fancy sort of procrastination to those from the outside (and maybe it is). But to you, it is necessary.
I wasn’t a coffee drinker when I started writing. I am now, gulping down at least a cup, if not more, daily. And it is always before sitting down to write in the morning. I also like my mornings, when the world is still dark and quiet. There’s something magically about writing with the sunrise. But back to coffee. My ritual always includes coffee. It has even come to liking a certain cup, the one pictured, in fact. This one, unlike most of my coffee cups, has a story behind it.
I won this coffee cup as a “door prize” for coming to a chat to celebrate an author’s debut with her and about forty other people. In otherw words, the odds were in my favor to win one of the prizes. Still, I don’t usually win things. Back when I got this mug, I didn’t drink coffee, but it didn’t matter. I won something!
That’s not much of a story, you say? It’s not done yet. I mentioned that I won it from this debut author, right? She had a small but mighty following at the time on livejournal. Her posts about writing and a series of doodled scenes from her first book drew me in. I was sure she would do well, had ordered her first book, read it, and loved her style and dialogue. And then I won a mug! About faeries! This author, I decided, must be the coolest person ever.
Apparently I was right not only about the cool factor, but also the doing well. Years later, I finally got to hear that author talk through another twist of fate while I was at Bath in the UK. She’d moved on from faeries, wrote about wolves and then water horses. I got a sampler of her next book in Bath, about a girl from a family of seers and boys from a prep school. For those who’ve yet to read any of her wonderful books, I’m talking about Maggie Stiefvater. If you ever have a chance to hear her talk, by the way, DO IT!
So maybe it’s just a coffee cup with a random fan-driven story. I don’t care. To me, it’s a little bit magical. Like sunrises.
And now my coffee is done. My ritual is over. Time to get to work.