EWF blog post ~ Make it a strong one: coffee and the brain

I’m a bit behind the eight ball with posting this here — my latest post on the Emerging Writers’ Festival blog was published more than a week ago. But here it is!


I’m afraid I’m going to pick on coffee. I’m sorry. I know, I know, coffee is a writer’s friend. It’s my friend too, often, but I have an ongoing debate with myself about coffee. Most of the time I love it, but often it does strange things to my head, and occasionally I’m repulsed by it. That I could have such complex feelings about a drink fascinates me.

I probably spend far too much time thinking more generally about what I eat and drink. Which I suppose isn’t surprising, given that I currently get paid to write about food a few days a week, and am working on a larger writing project about food and eating. But really I blame my fast metabolism for the amount of time I spend mulling over what I put in my mouth — and indeed it’s probably why I do the work I do. For much of my life, I’ve been the type of person who finishes a big breakfast and is immediately thinking about what I’ll have for morning tea when I’m hungry again in two hours.

Many people don’t believe me when I tell them I eat a lot. I watch them eye my slender frame and raise a skeptical eyebrow. They think I’m joking about second (and sometimes third) breakfast. But hunger for me comes quickly and frequently, and can bring with it dizzy spells along with the kind of raging anger I wrote about in my post on running.


You can read the rest of the post here.


This afternoon I wandered up to my favourite writing cafe and sat myself down at their long wooden table with my notebook. I was fairly happily scribbling when a bunch of people sat down next to me (the table runs almost the full length of the cafe, so it’s a shared space). At first I was vaguely irritated, fearing distraction and interruption. But I needn’t have spent the energy being annoyed, because the group was some kind of creative writing course group, meeting up to talk and write.

So of course I eavesdropped. The teacher asked them to write a description of a character falling through the air without making reference to what they were falling from or where they were falling to. Five minutes, she gave them. Not pausing in my own writing I drew a line underneath my last sentence and wrote this:


The air is strangely like water: thick, moving around her body fluidly, letting her past. It is cold, the air, like the creek she swam in as a child, and she feels the pimples appear on her skin, running down her arms and legs as if spreading out from her navel. Her hair is all around her, her scalp has never been more alive. The rushing air cools it, the hair itself pulls at its roots, warming little pin pricks all over. She can feel the air under her fingernails and thinks, if she makes it out of this alive, she should cut them, they are too long.

Strangely she feels no fear, even though her heart pumps so hard she thinks it might break inside her body. Her limbs tremble with its beat and adrenaline turns her lips a bright, bright red.

The rushing air finds its way into her clothes, pushing them around and up behind her.

Funny how a chance encounter will get your pen moving. I wonder if they’ll be there tomorrow…