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129/365 – Coffee is Love
© 2012 Timmy Tamisiea. All rights reserved. coffee

129/365 – Coffee is Love

I’m reading this short story collection entitled “You’ve Got To Read This”.  I got it as a christmas present more than 12 years ago from my mom and am just getting to it.  It was edited by Ron Hansen, an old high school classmate of my mom’s.  At that time, my mom probably saw in me gthe need to gather stories.  I’m just seeing that now.  That’s why moms are moms and sons are sons . . . or something prophetic like that.

Or sometimes moms are sisters and sisters are moms.

The editors of this collection asked prominent contemporary writers (this was in 1994) to pick a short story (many times, they feel more like novellas) that influenced them and write a short intro for them.  So, for example, John Irving introduces Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.   Most of the times, there’s something I can glean from the intro to make the story more meaningful, but many times it’s just an author trying to sound way too smart — adding alliteration and flowery adjectives to an intro that should be straightforward and honest.  I’d rather they leave the literary devices to the story they are introducing.

I mean, Charles Dickens' original intro to A Tale Of Two Cities was, "Man, this shit sucks some times. Other times, it's bangin'!"

My favorite intro was by Tim O’Brien because it was 1– short and sweet (2 paragraphs) and 2– honest.  The first two sentences pretty much set the tone of the intro, allowing you to really like this guy.  He writes, “I’ve tried and tried to think up smart things to say about this wonderful story by Delmore Schwartz [In Dream Begin Responsibilities].  But the story is so much better than anything I can tell you about it.”  Short, sweet and more poignant than the intros that begin, “It was a blustery, wispy snow that failed it’s landing and re-routed it’s way to my windshield.  It was then that the mana of words that  . . . ” blah blah blah.  I admit, I will do those stupid writing tricks myself.  Sometimes I feel like this blog has to be huge or else it’s not worth it . . .

I did a Google image search for Paradise Lost so I could compare it to my blog. I found the band, Paradise Lost, instead . . . joke accomplished.

Even more, it’s the short stories that really brief that mean more to me than the 55 page diatribe about a woman entering the mirror of her mind . . . that story was awful.  The point I am getting at is the phrase, “brevity is the soul of wit.”  Sometimes I forget that.  I get caught up in the sense that the longer my posts are, the better I get at writing.  Sometimes, as I was reading this collection of short stories, when a short one would pop up, I felt a sense of relief.  I was all too happy to read it knowing that I would probably get something good out of it and not have to spend a hour trying to figure out what I just read.  If I did need to re-read it. it wouldn’t take me long.  Like a good mix tape, editing a collection of short stories requires you to place the stories in a very specific order.  Let the audience breath after reading a 30 page Updike story with a 2 page story by Alice Walker.  You know.

So, my introdution to this story was a bit long . . sorry.  I’m still learning my own writing style.  But here’s a short one for you . . .


This past Sunday, for some reason, I recalled a thought I had two weeks ago about my wife . . . and I shared it with her.  I had just got a coffee from Starbucks and was putting half and half and one Splenda in when I looked at Megan and remembered the last time we had coffee together.  I felt an urge to share it with her . . .

It was a few weeks prior.  I grabbed some coffee for Megan and was putting cream in when she corrected me.  “That’s now how I take my coffee.”  I was confused.  She always had French vanilla creamer in her coffee at home.  How could she not want some kind of cream and sugar in hers here.   I said, “Cream and Splenda, right?”  She said, “No, you like light cream and one Splenda.  That’s your coffee.  At Starbucks I take milk and Splenda.”

I received a wonderful shock of realization from this.  It was a reminder that a small detail – how I take my coffee – was a sign that someone knew me.  They knew me well enough to remember a stupid detail about my routine.  Cared enough to know that routines are important and keeping them intact is a way of showing concern and love.  They cared enough to not just recall important facts like a birthday or an allergy, but  also those seemingly insignificant parts of my life.  The ones that, quite frankly, no one will or even needs to remember.

I take my coffee with light cream and one Splenda.

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