At business meetings, working from home, on the commute, or with noses behind books, many writers have a special attachment to caffeine in various forms. A writer with a laptop and a latte shares a not-so-inside joke with others of the same hobby or profession: the coffee keeps the mind going.
Retrieving caffeine provides for a nice break during work. Going to a trendy café might make a writer feel self-important. However, neither of those surface explanations describe the intimate and essential relationship shared by many creative minds and their caffeine.
It’s more than just a chemical need, or the knowledge that a beverage will make the consumer more awake and aware with a more productive and active mind. Beyond the stereotypical image of the journalist or researcher, hands wrapped around a warm mug of tea, lays the needs and daily routines of the writer.
There’s a warmth to a cup of coffee or tea that an overused laptop cannot emulate. This warmth is more than just a temperature; it’s genuine, palatable, and measurable. The writer types; two sentences later, the writer takes a sip and subconsciously measures words by the amount of sacred liquid left in the cup.
This warmth is also the sole caress of company felt by many writers when working. Even when we work in our homes, near our families, we must set aside time for ourselves to write in solitude. Whether or not we feel lonely, the inherent need for companionship still permeates the creative mind-after all, we seek to communicate to others through our words, and the comfy mug and its cozy contents allow us to be reached in return.
Tea and coffee also allow for pauses without distraction. When the writer wishes to think without letting his or her mind wander, the writer’s eyes can expect the same tan to black liquid in their favorite cup. The writer guesses offhandedly at the temperature before it hits his or her tongue. There is no guilt in this pause, for it is thoughtful and productive; there is logic in draining the rest of the container of its liquid.
Similarly, the cup allows the writer to refocus after a distraction: pause and sip, return to work. The beverage is a tangible reminder of our ability to work compulsively or step aside from our work at our will.
The caffeine exists for us during times of stress; times during which we might rather prefer another sort of beverage, but our minds must stay focused and clear.
In so many ways, beyond the chemical and initial creativity, this relationship has captivated me. One-sided as it may be, I am dependent on my coffee and tea, and so is my writing.