Coffee

Grind Those Beans, National Coffee Day Has Arrived

The day has come, friends. The day that we’ve all been waiting for. While others may be distracted by the bright colors of other holidays, us true coffee lovers know that today is a day like no other. Get prepared, because today is National Coffee Day!

Nicholas Conley Red Adept coffee

Last year, I somehow missed this most caffeinated of days. Grieving over my terrible error, I ensured that such a mistake would never happen again, by subscribing myself to an annual email reminder every year, upon the day that National Coffee Day returns. That day has come, and to mark the occasion, I’m starting the morning with — what else? — a beautifully dark, aromatic, flavorful cup of Joe.

So grind those beans, boil that water, or get those coffee shop loyalty cards punched, because the day is here.

Check out all of your local coffee shops or franchises to see what sort of coffee deals and specials might be swooping your way today. USA Today offers this list of some of the bigger name specials, which even includes surprising deals by such companies as Lyft.

In the meantime, if you feel like pulling up a chair and enjoying a coffee here on Writings, Readings, and Coffee Addictions, let’s celebrate by going back through some of the more coffee-focused blogs of the past:

 

Nicholas Conley coffee Jamaica

Happy National Coffee Day, everyone!

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Coffee Time

It’s been a busy month! Between working on Novel #3 and that upcoming novelette, getting ready for the premiere of my radio play, Something in the Nothing, on August 23rd, the recent publication in the Huffington Post, and the fact that I’m getting married next month, it feels as if the summer is racing by.

But it’s been a fantastic summer so far, and I can’t wait for the months ahead. In the meantime, as I get to work this morning, I’ll start it off with my usual morning joy: a hot cup of black coffee.

So cheers to all of you also enjoying a cup of joe right now — or tea, if that’s your preference — and here’s to more sunny, optimistic, productive days ahead!

Coffee - Nicholas Conley - Red Adept

Coffee Time

 

Coffee

Tuesday Coffee Quotes

“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

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“I usually write away from home, in coffee shops, on trains, on planes, in friends’ houses. I like places where there’s stuff going on that you can lift your eyes, see something interesting, overhear a conversation.”

– Jonathan Safran Foer

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“I get stopped more in the street, I can tell you this, in New York, for people thanking me for this café and for the coffee, than I do for any of my movies. Actually, particularly people will say, not so much the movies, but ‘Thank you for the coffee!'”

– Hugh Jackman

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“You don’t even really need a place. But you feel like you’re doing something. That is what coffee is. And that is one of the geniuses of the new coffee culture.”

– Jerry Seinfeld

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Coffee

Remember to Breathe

I have to admit, I love being a workaholic. I’m always immersed in a slew of projects, and my work on my next novel is a daily source of excitement.

For the most part, I consider myself a positive workaholic, as opposed to a negative one. When I’m knee-deep in a project that I’m excited about, it becomes the driving point of my daily routine. When I’m not knee-deep in a project, I find one, or I create one. I’m obsessed with the process of creation, passionate about the ability to sculpt words into sentences and find meaning. The stories I create are my heart, my brain, my soul. Maybe it’s the INFJ in me.

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This is why I love my work ethic: because I love that feeling of getting up first thing in the morning, brewing some coffee, and facing the blank page. I even love those times in the middle of the night where an idea wakes me up, hits me in the face, and drives me to the nearest notebook.

But at the same time, there’s a downside to being a positive workaholic, especially when most of your work is done at home: you never stop working.

It’s so easy to let days, weeks, and months fly behind me, barely seen and barely noticed. It’s so easy to stay in that intense place of concentration, words flying from my fingertips, forgetting to even notice whether there’s a sun or moon outside.

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Now, as a writer, I should be writing for at least a few hours every day. Writing is who I am, what I do. Through writing, I hope to express myself, gain a better understanding of the world, and to do my small part to speak up about issues that matter, causes that deserve attention.

So yes, daily writing is a necessity for me. And sometimes, even writing all day can be an amazing thing. I remember one day where I was so immersed in a project that I pushed out over 100 pages in one afternoon, my heart pounding from start to finish. But days like this are not every day.

I love my career as a writer. I’m shooting to get my next novel out by next year, and nothing’s going to stop me from pursuing that goal with everything inside me.  If things move into place, I might even have some smaller stuff coming out this year for you guys to see.

But the thing is, all of the goals above are already in the pipeline, mostly ready to launch. The additional work that I’m exhausting myself with now, work that is being done on top of other work, is related to projects that might not be finished until years from now. Looking at the big picture, I think that I can afford to take my time on those pieces.

What’s important here is balance. That’s what I need to give myself more of.

Every morning, I want to organize my day into slots. Two hours of this, three hours of that, an hour of this other thing. I think this works for me, for the most part. But I also need to allow space in my schedule for something else that is hugely important: time to breath.

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A few days ago, I felt overwhelmed. I’d completed a huge amount of work, hours and hours of it, far more than I needed to. But despite all of the work I’d gotten done, I wasn’t letting myself rest. I was pushing myself past the point of exhaustion, even though I didn’t need to.

Then, I noticed the sun was outside. Now, while it’s been an exceptionally warm summer here in New Hampshire (why yes, hello there global warming!), the last few months have still been too chilly to spend any real time outside. But on this day, the sun was blaring. And there I was in my office, with a massive pile of work completed, and I wasn’t letting myself stop. I was stressing myself out for no reason. I didn’t know how to stop.

So I forced myself to relax. Yes, forced. Admittedly, this sounds like a contradiction in terms, but sometimes forced relaxation is a necessity. Trust me, I know! I stepped away from my desk, grabbed a book, sat outside in the warm rays of the sun, and I read for a few hours. I gave myself that time to unwind, to just bask in the satisfaction of all of the work I had completed. I gave myself a moment to embrace my sheer existence as a human being, to smile, to read for as long as I wanted to.

Time to breathe.

Again, balance is everything. This doesn’t mean that working hard isn’t important, but other things are important as well. Balance.

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I’m not someone who belongs to a specific organized religion, but I do consider myself a spiritual person, and one of the qualities that I value about all religions, from all cultures, is the notion of finding inner peace. Calmness. Meditation. Caring for others, acting upon one’s compassion, but also finding balance in oneself. Instead of relying on conditional happiness that comes from the external world, I find that true and unconditional happiness comes from within.

Capitalist society can drive someone to madness with its push to keep us moving-moving-moving like a locomotive. This only makes it all the more important to sometimes stop, and focus. We need to pause for those moments where we can take in the world around us, look up to the sky, and love the fact that we’re lucky enough to be alive.

As a creative person, I need to always be pursuing my passions. But as a human being, no better or worse than any other human being, I also need moments to breathe. We’re all the same. We’re all equal. We all need the same things, deep down. It’s important to remember that.

Balance is everything.

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Coffee

Coffee Mugs

Of course, the mug is only the container for the coffee, the mere vessel through which the world’s greatest beverage may be delivered to us, and thereby nourish our intellect, boldness, and creativity. The mug could just as easily be a glass, a bowl, or a paper cup.

But because of my coffee obsession, I’ve always possessed a strange affinity for mugs. Each one is like a unique friend, each with its own personality quirks, some more likeable than others.

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I realize that it’s an odd quirk, and completely ridiculous. As far as friendships go, you can’t get much more one-sided than an inanimate object. I’m very non-materialistic, and I usually try keep as few possessions as I can—other than books, nostalgic tokens or, as it happens, coffee mugs. But I think Nicholson Baker said it best in his short novel The Mezzanine:

“Also, (coffee) mugs, like car bumpers and T-shirts, have become places for people to proclaim allegiances, names, hobbies, heroes, graphic tastes. Since as a rule you have only one of any particular novelty mug, as opposed to a whole arbor of identical cups hanging from hooks in a white Rubbermaid shelf organizer, you develop a fondness for each mug as an individual, and you try to give even the ones you like least a chance to contain your coffee once in a while.”

So what about you guys? Any other mug-lovers out there?

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Coffee

Fresh Roasted Coffee, Right from the Oven – 2/1/16

It just wouldn’t be Writings, Readings, and Coffee Addictions without a regular dose of coffee-fueled obsession, so here it is: few things are quite so shiny as fresh roasted coffee beans, and I’ve always wanted to try roasting them at home.

After discussing the idea of roasting coffee beans in the oven for some time, my friend and I decided to give it a shot. It was an experiment, with some trial and error, but the end result was an excellent cup of coffee: dark, a strong flavor profile, with just the right amount of zing to make it pop. Looking forward to trying out other methods; as you can tell from the size of the bag, there are still a lot of beans left!

Nicholas Conley - Netherlands

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I think what I love the most about traveling is that it forces you to come face-to-face with yourself, to understand who you really are on the inside when separated from the external, material things that can sometimes define one’s day to day existence.

How so? Consider:

When one is in their regular life, one’s identity can become defined by things. Clothing, possessions, brands, logos, but also routines; the route that one takes on their way to work, the job one works at, the people one interacts with, the plates and silverware that one uses. But when traveling, one is separated from all of these things, and yet on the inside, is somehow still the same entity moving through space, accumulating every new experience into a greater whole.

I’m currently in Fes, Morocco, having one amazing experience after another. I’ll write more about Morocco later, as I have so much to say about the Sahara desert, camels, the souks of Marrakech, and more.

But for now, I want to share some photos from our time in the Netherlands, where we stayed with friends in Amsterdam and Utrecht for four days before coming down to Africa. As usual, most of the photo credit goes to Veronica, who is a far better photographer than I am:

Needless to say, the Netherlands more than lives up to its reputation as a wonderfully warm, friendly country filled with more bicycles than I’ve ever seen before.  I hope to come back again someday soon. In the meantime, I’m going to venture out into Fes, and I’ll talk to you all again soon!