2022 New Year’s Day Tragedy (for a writer)

A tragedy of epic proportion is not the way I wanted to start the New Year. Our Mr. Coffee died. What could be worse? I know, it’s very sad. Your words of sympathy are appreciated. In lieu of flowers, coffee beans are welcomed. I feel like a disaster victim left behind on the island. Please allow me to continue this tongue-in-cheek eulogy for your reading endurement.

Mr. Coffee started me off each day with a smile on my face and a readiness to dig into the “honey-do” list. Caffeine propped up my courage to make that grocery store run at 6 am during the early days of Covid—a protective move to keep my wife away from public places. Facing the unknown before vaccines arrived and being clear-eyed enough to beat back all the misinformation out there were critical.

Two or three (or more) cups saw me through days of repainting rooms; overseeing the replacement of our furnace and AC; a new roof on the house; grass that seemed to grow a foot the day after mowing it; or thousands of weeds that invade the gardens and laugh at me despite cloth weed barriers that took days to install under the soil.

The medical studies show that coffee is actually good for me brings me solace. It certainly beats several shots of Irish whiskey to start my day. Yes, I know, great writers struggled with alcohol addiction—Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, William Faulkner, Truman Capote—I’m not one of the co-dependent. I don’t believe for a moment that Pulitzer Prize novels are written in the stupor of spirits. Who’s to say they wouldn’t have written more great works if they had switched to coffee. I can hear them all laughing at me, but I’ll do me thank you. I’ll fill my pantry with coffee beans instead of Old Granddad.

Mr. Coffee stood by me many mornings over the past few years as I struggled to organize words and phrases into coherent sentences. With the help of occasional mentors, coffee focuses my brain—the fuel that rocketed me to the Moon to write the post-apocalyptic story of humanity’s survival in domed cities and my published novella, Olympus.

Coffee kept my eyes from bleeding through weeks of editing my daughter Amy’s fantasy novel in which two souls, good and evil, are forced to survive in the body of one female warrior in Soulbound: Tower’s End, published in 2020.

Coffee kept my mind intact to write a short story about an out-of-luck young man obsessed with female vampires. He ends up meeting a real vampire queen in Romania. Hopefully, this will make it into a published anthology planned for this year.

Coffee sustained me through a completed novel about the discovery of an underground civilization on Mars by the survivors of a failed first mission to the Red Planet.

Then there’s the short story about an agnostic and widowed archaeologist who doesn’t believe in ghosts or superstitions until he encounters a demon set free in his mansion by the most powerful of all Egyptian pharaohs.

Mr. Coffee helped me fix the first book of my trilogy long in the planning—a coming of age story inspired by my youth in my hometown (book 1); my top-secret military experiences (book 2); and my time in Southeast Asia (book 3). I have Mr. Coffee to thank for thinking my work is now good enough to attract a literary agent.

Coffee and I are partners for new ideas in writing, like a lady pirate born here in the county where I live and hanged in 1789; my real life fifth-great-grandfather who lived to 124; my10th-great-grandmother, and my 10th-great-grandfather, who were hated by the Puritans because they Episcopalians. In the 1630s, they fled persecution from what became Boston to New Hampshire, where she was falsely accused of being a witch in the 1650s.

Mr. Coffee and I dreamed up a new idea that begins in 1750 B.C. and ends in the Indus Valley of the 21st Century, running from terrorists—a new twist on romance and time travel and at least five or six novels.

So thank you, Mr. Coffee. Rest in peace. Your service is appreciated.

For writers out there reading this, I know your heads are nodding. Alcohol might have been the fuel of 19th– and early 20th-century writers, followed by cocaine in disastrous attempts to boost creativity. I’m hoping people will look back on the coffee-driven tomes of today as the least of all vices.

Today, on the first day of the year, as I drip eye drops into shocked, caffeine-withdrawal eyes, I am being consoled by Mr. K—that is, Mr. Keurig. However, I’m not a fan of paying what amounts to $20 to $30 a pound for K-Cup coffee. And may I not be struck by lightning, but I have never been a fan of Starbucks or any other haute coffee bar. I know, heresy, but I don’t care. Just give me my drip coffee. Can we add that to the Bill of Rights?

If this blog seems incoherent, blame it on my grief over the end of a long and happy friendship—Rest in peace, Mr. Coffee.

I’ll let you know when Mr. Coffee’s successor has arrived. Have a wonderful, successful, happy, and wide-awake year!

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