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Monday, August 30, 2010

Literary libations

My writer's head and heart have been buried in northern Sumatra while I work on my fourth 'Almost' historical. Time warp back to 1829 when the Dutch and British wrangled over control of every square mile of Indonesia. Between wars, monsoons that would make Seattle denizens think they'd been transported to the Mohave, man-eating tigers and low-income bamboo housing built on stilts, the Sumatrans had good reason to want a blurred reality. Gnawing on betel nuts, getting stoned on opium and anesthetized by tuak and arrack, very distilled coconut wines, was how they coped. They had their methods of dealing with miserable circumstances as do we, but for a writer, mind altering substances aren't the most useful tools while penning the next best sentence ever created.

Or are they?

Volumes have been written about author's music preferences while they write yet beverage choices while working our craft have been woefully slighted. Do the beverages you drink or don't drink while writing have a connection to the scenes you write OR does the scene you're working on affect your beverage of choice?

My research of 18th and 19th century European lives has revealed acres of information about food and drink. Both sexes generally ate the same foods but beverage type and time of day consumed differ (limited hours for women in Regency romances but none for the men-they slosh back whisk(e)y at all hours). How any of the world's empires made it past the first floor phase with all their builders standing around drinking is anyone's guess. Fermented milk for the Mongols, mead for the Vikings, rice wine for the Asians, vodka for the Russians, vin for the French and a staple of brandies, sherries and whisk(e)y for virtually everyone, to name a very few.

Thinking of the bevy of beverage options made me thirsty so I filled a glass with ice water - I'm writing this before 10 am and have hours yet before I allow myself an Adult Beverage - and considered how modern day beverages might shape a literary scene. Sugared iced tea for that sweet, innocent scene. Champagne for smoldering seduction. A double macchiota with extra creme for businesslike bonding. Extra-dry martini with two olives for the, I'm not looking for a relationship but am open to a one-night-stand. Beer on tap for the, I want to have fun without complications character. Water, hot tea, no frills coffee and colas for basic getting-to-know-you scenes.

There are hundreds of other options so feel free to add to the drink menu.

This entry is an attempt to write something light and fun. It's been a month of family drama and loss two friends and I needed to wrap my head around a light and frothy subject. Wrapping a hand around a glass full of something light and frothy sounds pretty good too. But it's early yet. Better make it a banana smoothie with a large scoop of protein powder. Cheers!


Paris said...

I'm a coffee-as-soon-as-I-open-my-eyes kind of woman. Part of it is the caffeine jolt and part of it is that it was a morning ritual in my grandmother's house, where you could always find three generations of women sipping coffee and talking.

Of course my cup always contained more milk and sugar but they made me part of everything, even as a child and the ritual is still comforting.

Sandy said...

I drink two cups of coffee in the morning, and then it's water for the rest of the day.

The time for the stronger beverages is mostly over for me.

A very interesting post. Sorry for your losses.

Katalina Leon said...

Wonderful post!
My first thought in the morning when I open my eyes is "I wish someone would make me a large cup of coffee, half hot milk and cocao, exactly the way I like it and bring it to me..." It never happens. lol
I hope the drama clears and the losses begin to hurt less.

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