“Coffee became tied to what I called “The Art Life.” I loved to go to diners and drink coffee and try to catch ideas for the work. Coffee has always seemed to facilitate thinking and catching ideas. Not only that, but the flavor of coffee is beyond the beyond good.
Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.”
– David Lynch
David Lynch loves coffee. Loves it. The director of such mesmerizingly strange films as Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet, Lynch’s passion for coffee is evident in all of his work—especially in Twin Peaks, a TV series wherein the central protagonist, Agent Dale Cooper, is rarely seen without a cup full of the world’s favorite dark, caffeinated beverage. The above quote is pulled from an article in the Huffington Post, an article which is basically an excuse for Lynch to endearingly proclaim his love of coffee—as well as endorse his own brand of David Lynch coffee.
As silly as all of this pro-coffee enthusiasm might sound, I have to admit something; I understand exactly where Lynch is coming from. Honestly, reading that Huffington Post article gave me a ridiculously big, overdramatic grin. Why?
Because I love coffee, too. I love coffee to such an extent that coffee is probably hopelessly sick of me—but I don’t think I could ever get sick of it.
I’m sure that my ridiculous coffee fanaticism here surprises absolutely no one. The title of my blog—Writings, Readings and Coffee Addictions—does point toward a certain overt obsession. One of my first published short stories appeared in an anthology titled The Coffee Shop Chronicles Vol. 1, Oh, the Places I have Bean!, and another appeared in Cup of Joe: Coffee House Flash Fiction. I actually happen to be drinking coffee in a coffee shop as I write this (my, what an amazing coincidence!), and I’ve drank coffee throughout the writing of every post on this entire blog. As of this morning, I currently have about 70-some pages left to edit on the manuscript for my next novel–this is my fourth round of edits, bear in mind, since I like being thorough–and I can’t even begin to tell you the copious amounts of black coffee I’ve consumed throughout the novel’s making.
The three subjects listed in my title – writing, reading and coffee – are essentially the three vertices of my triangle of happiness. It’s certainly an uneven triangle – not so much a dignified isosceles as it is a lopsided scalene – but I love it, all the same. Coffee has always been a part of my creative process; most of my favorite pieces have been completed with a thoughtful sip from my latest cup.
Now, like anyone else, I certainly have my preferences. As I said earlier, I like my coffee black. Strong. Dark as possible, with a hint of sugar. If you find me somewhere, randomly hand me an Americano and we’ll be friends for life. When I make coffee at home, I greatly enjoy the process of grinding the beans, smelling the oils and savoring the wonderful taste–or offering that taste to others, in a steaming mug full o’ comfort. However, I do fully agree with Lynch’s statement–even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all. While it’s certainly not my preferred choice, I’m still more than happy to drink instant coffee, or even cheap gas station coffee. I feel that coffee, even lesser forms of it, can improve any moment of any day.
And why? Because it’s a small, personal joy. A simple dose of happiness.
I’ve always loved coffee. As a child, my parents, older relatives and all of the adults I knew always drank coffee. Coffee seemed like a token of adulthood—perhaps a gateway into the adult world. As I gained some more years under my belt, I began sneaking in more and more sips of it. By the time I was a teenager, coffee became a regular joy for me – and that was when I started to connect it to my creative process.
Since then, coffee has stimulated my creativity. It makes me more reflective, more focused. It heightens my awareness, compels me to work harder, makes me excited to indulge in my artistic tendencies. I feel as if I could take on an army of zombies, tanks, alien serial killers and cyborg dinosaurs, as long as I had a good mug of coffee to bring along with me.
“Your breath is sweet
Your eyes are like two jewels in the sky
Your back is straight, your hair is smooth
On the pillow where you lie
But I don’t sense affection
No gratitude or love
Your loyalty is not to me
But to the stars above
One more cup of coffee for the road
One more cup of coffee before I go
To the valley below”
– Bob Dylan, One More Cup of Coffee
Coffee is wonderful for a number of reasons – and despite the bad rep it sometimes gets, coffee has a number of health benefits. For one, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the United States. Crazy, huh? According to some studies, coffee can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s. Generally, all the downsides that come from drinking coffee only tend to kick in when coffee is drank in excess; in other words, I wouldn’t worry about your one-to-three cups a day, but if you’re the kind of fanatic who drinks a Lynchian twenty cups a day, you might be overindulging a bit.
But again, what really makes coffee so fantastic is what a simple pleasure it is. The warmth, the taste, the feeling it gives the drinker—it doesn’t last too long, it doesn’t change the world, it doesn’t even significantly change your day, but if a person allows oneself to savor a cup of coffee, it truly is a wonderful thing. Life is difficult. Complications, though necessary, are stressful. But a minor thing like a hot cup of coffee in the morning is something to be appreciated.
Enjoying small pleasures—instead of taking them for granted—is one of the secrets to happiness. Contemporary life has become so cluttered, so fast-paced; we often race ahead so quickly that we never actually take the time to enjoy a single moment. But these moments, these small, happy moments that we so often overlook, are exactly the things that count the most when it comes to day-to-day life. Small pleasures, simple pleasures. Pleasures like warm weather, like finding a dollar bill on the ground, watching a movie you love, unexpectedly seeing a familiar face, finishing a piece of art—or a poem, or a musical piece, or what have you. Spending time with loved ones. Taking a moment out of your busy day to go get lunch with your significant other, walk down to the docks and oh, say…feed the ducks.
We all have our goals. Ambition is important. Passion is important. Hard work is important. To achieve our dreams, we must put our primary focus on all three of these things. But happiness is important, too.
As for me? I find my happiness in writing, reading and coffee addiction. Give me the inspiration to write, a good book to read and a couple cups of coffee for the day, and I’m all set to go.
“Harry, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it; just let it happen. It could be a new shirt in a men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot, black, coffee.”
-Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks.
So, here’s to simple joys—such as coffee.