My first outing in Indy was to a coffee shop called Calvin Fletcher’s. I had breakfast, nursed my first daughter, and bought a bag of whole beans as a gift for in-laws. I imagined what our lives could be here, and hoped it would include writing.
As I finish editing Gender Chasm, I have been thinking about that trip. Many times I’ve desired to come back. Today I put my two children in daycare, left the house a mess, and brought my editing notebook with me to a table in the corner. I ordered my coffee “for here” so I wouldn’t be tempted to go home and check on the beef stew I have cooking for our house guests tonight.
I love the coffee shop atmosphere- mismatched plates, man buns, and music I wouldn’t normally listen to. If I hadn’t come I could have worked a little harder on scrubbing the kitchen. I could have made my own cup of black brew and not taken the risk of driving to the city.
Indiana is never a place I expected to live as an adult.
When I was a child, I found out my mother had attended Indiana University. I reached for my encyclopedia and looked up the state. There were pictures of Native Americans and a few paragraphs of demographics. I still wanted to follow in her footsteps and felt settled that I wouldn’t have to choose a college for myself until I learned that she attended higher learning at Indiana University in Pennsylvania. After that, I didn’t give the mid-west another thought.
Living here has been pretty comfortable. The similarities in commercial offerings are such that I forget I am actually 13 hours from my parents and no longer an hour from meeting friends halfway.
After my first year here, I can say I feel settled. I have a favorite coffee shop, diner, restaurant, park, and library location. In Summer we saw waterfalls and in Fall we went to a pumpkin patch. I’ve been to the zoo, children’s museum, and the Kurt Vonnegut library. We’ve made our way into the city a few times, including the observation deck above the Mayor’s office.
We own a house here, now. We are friends with our next store neighbors. The grocery store clerks all know I want paper bags.
Perhaps the highlight of the year has been attending Vonnegutfest and hearing John Green speak.
The night began with High School students who attended Vonnegut’s High School (Shortridge) reading their winning essays and giving me hope for the future. A bonus was Calvin Fletcher’s offering their new cold brew flavor for free at the bar.
John Green was introduced, then spoke for a half hour about writing in Indy, things he agreed with Vonnegut about, and how he’d like to see the world change. Never more have I wanted to settle down and make a stable community instead of searching for the next place.
Now that the Western Maryland Writers Group 2016 Anthology is out, I have returned to editing Gender Chasm.
When I’m working I like to have a beverage at the desk with me so I thought I’d spend one post discussing my favorite ways to brew and steep.
Hot Coffee. Even when I’m not restricted in my caffeine consumption, I tend to use a few scoops of decaf in with my flavored grounds. My favorites are chocolate, hazelnut, and Scottish grog.
Old Coffee. I tend to make a pot of coffee, but only drink one cup. The rest I put in a reusable mug and stick it in the fridge for the next day(s).
Cold Brewed Coffee. Overnight in coffee sock. So worth the wait. Any flavor is clarified and crisp.
Hot Tea. I pour water into the mug, then dump that amount into my stove kettle. I use tea bags or loose leaf tea in my hanging tea man. My favorites are Celestial’s tension tamer and Yogi’s bedtime.
Cold Brewed Tea. Insert into filter, screw onto a mason jar, and you get tea to take to work the next day.
I drink all of these black. (Well, as long as I’m not meeting old friends at an English tea shop where milk and outstretched pinkies are required.) Coffee first thing in the mornings, tea is for when I get home from work.
What do you like for coffee and tea? Is anyone out there able to live without both?
This morning I will have the last breakfast in my twenty-three acre country home.
This is where I learned to drive manual, collected too many eggs from my chickens, made elderberry tincture, and went fishing with my cat. I rode in a front end loader in four feet of snow around the cliff edge of my driveway, bred mice, and hiked with a friend made too late. I drank thousands of cups of coffee made in the sunroom, shot a raccoon with my bow, hosted two Hunger Games parties, and wrote my first novel.
I’m lovesick for this place, but it’s time for a raw infatuation.
My new apartment, lacking the sounds of swollen streams in the morning and baby coyotes practicing their howls at night, is fresh and shiny and safe.
I am officially in my second week of NaNoWriMo. There are four weeks in November, so that means I am over 25% done with the endeavor. My word count is a little behind. Still, I’m feeling positive and looking forward to seeing what my first draft contains. There is no time for editing while I’m cranking out 1,667 words a day.
Every morning I wake up three hours before work and make coffee. And write. After work, I turn off my office laptop, open my personal one, and write some more.
The nice thing about writing this way is there is no pressure to write well. My goal is just to flesh out the outline. It’s a totally new experience and I bet a natural part of most “real” authors’ processes.