Slurping on the Shoulders of Giants
By J.C. Sirott
To submit to dislocate you must, of course, write. But what if you find yourself creatively blocked? This is an age-old writer's affliction and a blog post on its existence would be of little use to anyone. But what are some tactics that writers use to escape the dreaded block? Oh there are many exercises, prompts, visualization techniques, sure, but one of history's least heralded is also its most simple: coffee.
Take a man like Balzac. Fueled by innumerable cups of coffee, he wrote novel after novel, often working fifteen hour days. In his essay, "the pleasures and pains of coffee" Balzac noted that the warm drink "gives us the capacity to engage a little longer in the exercise of our intellects" and further, that under coffee's influence "ideas quick march into motion like battallions of a grand army." The father of realism was not the only one to depend on caffeine as a part of his writing routine.
Jean Paul Sartre was said to ingest all sorts of amphetamines during his writing days, but always needed a cup of coffee first. But who else? There is a novel, "Coffee With Poe", based on the historical fact of the great poet's love of the drink. And who can forget the Beatniks, Kerouc, Ginsberg and company, perhaps the literary movement most associated with coffee and responsible for the rise and atmosphere of a good many coffeehouses. Remember, the next time you take that sip of coffee before you sit down to write, you are slurping on the shoulders of giants.