WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Bean there, done that

I keep seeing tweets like the one above from writers, celebrating coffee. They drive me nuts.

It’s like all you have to do is get some caffeine in you and you can whip out that first draft in a few days. And a lot of books feel like they were whipped out in a few days too.

Worse than that, the coffee thing makes writers seem pretty vapid, really. There’s a lot more going on out there to think about than that cup of java cradled in your hands. I want to grab these people by the shoulders and give them a good shake. “Put down that cup and look out your flippin’ window, you dingdong!”

I also find that coffee itself is changing in this country, and I don’t like what I’m seeing. Starbucks now serves a bland brew that tastes like it was wrung out of a moist dish towel, and even my old reliable Peet’s, which used to have the strongest cup in town, has watered down its dark roast. When we get coffee at boutique coffee shops now, it seems like they’re trying to elevate it to the level of oenology. “Notes of leather and tarnished pennies, with a finish hinting at the hope that follows paralyzing despair.”

Gimme a break.

My personal motto about coffee has always been “Black as night, hot as hell, and strong as the devil.”

The only place I can get that now is at home.

Where I write.

With cups and cups of coffee flowing.

(Though I refuse to tweet about it … )

22 comments on “Bean there, done that

  1. Charles Yallowitz
    October 24, 2017

    Makes me glad that I stick to rum and whiskey. Not together though. 😛

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 24, 2017

      Ah, a man after my own heart. Imagine what we could do if we did mix them!

      • Charles Yallowitz
        October 24, 2017

        A really bad taste . . . I assume . . . Sort of . . . Fine, I tried it once with Bacardi and Jack. Didn’t go well at all. :/

  2. islandeditions
    October 24, 2017

    We’ve gone that one step further here at The View and are growing our own coffee. Still waiting to produce more than one pot’s worth of beans a year …

  3. pinklightsabre
    October 24, 2017

    That photo and the tweet seem to speak than imagined lifestyle for writers, kind of sweet in a way, like Hallmark.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 24, 2017

      Exactly. I think that’s what’s been bugging me. It’s like if you gather all the accessories around you, you’re a writer! (As if.)

  4. Priscilla
    October 24, 2017

    I like my coffee like I like my man: tall, dark, and bitter.

  5. kingmidget
    October 24, 2017

    Maybe this is my problem. My mother let me have a sip of her coffee when I was a child. I have never tried coffee since and don’t like anything that is coffee flavored. (My dad letting me have sips out of his Oly can did not have the same impact.) My father also has said the that the best cure for my writer’s block is a good bottle of whiskey. I have neither tried coffee nor whiskey in an effort to break out. Maybe I should.

  6. Phillip McCollum
    October 24, 2017

    Kevin, you’re a man after my own black coffee heart… And now you’ve inspired me. I wonder if I can write a short story with nothing but coffee-ized analogies and subtext:

    She wondered if the mocha brown sky would ever return to its original color. Joe said she should stop fretting. Who gives two beans? Juan Valdez would take care of them, no matter what.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 24, 2017

      Ha! You gotta expand this into a full pot of a story!

  7. John W. Howell
    October 24, 2017

    I have a whizbang espresso maker and I have one (Big) cup a day. (Columbian, fresh ground) I love coffee and agree with you about the swill out there.

  8. Woebegone but Hopeful
    October 25, 2017

    In the UK coffee has its place, and is a worthy social drink at Starbucks, Coffee Nero, Costa and so forth. Why even I have one cup per day (mind you mine choice is probably heretical in the USA being with milk and sugar)

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 25, 2017

      When I was in London in the late ’70s, we had “coffee bags” in our hostel kitchen, like tea bags only filled with coffee. They made a most repellent pot, but it was all we had, and we liked it.

      • Woebegone but Hopeful
        October 25, 2017

        The UK was not at its best in the 1970s, you can tell by the way it voted in Thatcher and her crew.

      • Kevin Brennan
        October 25, 2017

        Yes, when I arrived Gentleman Jim Callaghan was piloting the ship of state. When I came back two years later, Maggie was in and I wondered what the hell had happened to you people while I was away!

        And the rest is history …

      • Woebegone but Hopeful
        October 25, 2017

        Yes and the all the raggedy chickens are coming home to mess up what’s left of the roost.

  9. Ilona Elliott
    October 27, 2017

    Oh Kevin, I’m glad I wasn’t sipping any when I read paragraph four, as I surely would have spewed it all over my laptop–Funny!

    I hate that bong water stuff the shops pass off as coffee these days!

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This entry was posted on October 24, 2017 by in Writing and tagged , .
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