You are looking at my writing companions. Yes, my cups. At the moment of this writing, I’m using the pink-and-white mug on top. The graphics are so old they’re barely visible, but that’s my go-to writing cup, because I received it from Dana Stabenow personally. She has an awesome “woman private eye” series set in Alaska, but her newest love child is the “Silk and Sand Trilogy,” an adventure story featuring the hard-riding, sword-wielding grand-daughter of Marco Polo. Reading about Kate Shugak made me think that I want to write like that. This cup, cracked handle and all, is my constant reminder that I can.
But what about the others? Every so often, I need a cup that matches a particular character, plot, or theme. Upper left – a white and blue bowl my father brought me from Japan. I drink copious amounts of green tea from that one on a good, easy-going day. The thin-china green cup to its right is made in Japan before WWII, and it’s light, fancy feel makes me feel of Attila. When I need to get into Attila’s head, out it comes. That little white and gold cup on a grape leaf is just for espresso and I rarely use it for writing, because it doesn’t hold much. That volume is good for a 5-minute session, not a 20-minute streak!
Move down to the next row. The dark blue and white cup with a gold rim is part of our wedding china and it offsets angst of all sorts. To its right you’ll see a cup on a painted saucer, with a thick gold internal rim. It’s my personal stories companion, since it was made in the Czech Republic and I got it from Grandma’s best friend, aunt Olga (may they both rest in peace.) It saw me through On the Run – Cancelled Czech Files. To its right sits a generous Bavarian cup with roses and a bit of gold. It’s my old-country cup for fiction writing. My current WIP has descendants of European immigrants in it, and this cup evokes all I need to know. On the upper right, laying on its side, is a special English china cup for tea only. It was a birthday gift from my in-laws when I asked for “something pretty.” It’s fabulous, its rococo opulence fits me just fine went the mood strikes, and it’s sat by me through most of Breakfall.
On the very bottom you’ll see a brown pottery thimble. This cup is for rocket fuel, people! That’s for matcha green tea, the kind you prepare by whisking matcha power and hot water into a frothy foam. It propels me through mornings when I don’t feel up to coffee but I still want that special boost of caffeine and antioxidants. I bought it at a high school craft fair.
I love my cups, my writing companions. They are part of my writing rituals and help me summon just the right mood. Every antique store and garage sale trip stirs my curiosity as I look to see if there is “something special” in the cup department. I could have more – many more. I could be the Imelda Marcos of fancy cups, if I only had the space for them!