Of Mugs and Men

Greetings from the place where winter does not end! I guess we are still in Lion-mode. I am really ready for the Lamb-mode that March always promises.

Until then, I’ll just cozy up and keep writing. How do you get through the long winter days?

Coffee is high on my list.

I think a lot of writers have an all-consuming love for the elixir. I’ve sung the praises of my sanctuary-in-38-seconds-flat caffeine fix in the past. Author Chuck Wendig is unapologetic about his ascent into superior coffee snobbery. And a gang of writers I know (yeah, they’re a gang, and they don’t even need cool biker jackets to prove it) have a great blog inspired by their two passions: Women’s Fiction and coffee. Yesterday, Musings from the Mug let me drop by to wax poetic about the patina in my favorite coffee delivery vehicles (i.e. mugs that have special meaning for me).

I have a confession to make, while I have mugs on my mind. It took me a long time to make peace with drinking my coffee out of a dark mug. Call me crazy, but I like to easily see what I am drinking, and where I am in the process. White mugs are just easier.

While writing Louder Than Love, I took this weird quirk of mine and gave it to one of my characters. Not a main character, mind you. Not even a living, breathing character.

Peter Lewis, Katrina’s husband, died in a freak train accident four years before the novel opens. While Katrina and her young daughter Abbey have been making peace and moving forward, Pete’s memory is ever-present as they go about their daily lives. Lives that now include an unexpected element, in the form of recluse rocker, Adrian Graves. As Kat and Adrian’s relationship blooms, the ghost of Pete looms large and unspoken between them.

By giving Pete my strange mug affliction, I was able to bring him back, front and center into the middle of Kat’s kitchen; a heartbreaking reminder of what she and Abbey had lost. And a hint of foreshadowing at what they stood to lose, if Kat continued refusing to open up to Adrian about her past.

Abbey’s tiny elbow made contact with the coffee mug Adrian had been drinking from. It went skittering and I helplessly watched it plummet, then smash with a heartbreaking pop and gush; bone china and morning lifeblood scattered and smattered.

“Dammit, Abbey!” I yelled. Adrian jumped to grab paper towels. “Step back . . . go!”

Abbey backed out of the kitchen, lips quivering down and eyes brimming. I dropped to my knees as Adrian attempted to staunch the flow and gather the pieces carefully in the palm of his hand. Oh, no . . . the whimper never made it out of my vocal chords, the words were trapped painfully in the breath from my chest.

“Kat, it’s not her fault. I set it too close to the edge.” He swiftly rose and deposited the entire mess into the trash. “Calm down, luv. It was just a mug.”

It was.

Just a stupid Blue Plate Special diner mug from Fishs Eddy. But I had watched Pete drink from it every morning since we met. He couldn’t drink coffee from a dark mug. He had fessed up to his quirk with a sheepish laugh; it made him nervous when he couldn’t see how much coffee was left in the cup.

Couldn’t see the bottom. Couldn’t see the end coming.

“I know,” I whispered.

It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book, and I have to thank my quirk for the inspiration.

Got a quirk? Got a favorite mug? Feel free to comment below and let me know.

I’ll be here…waiting for the snow to stop.

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3 Responses to “Of Mugs and Men”

  1. messymimi March 14, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Coffee is lifeblood — mommy don’t go in the morning until she gets her mommy go juice. Yes, i have a mug, ceramic double walled with purple cats on a white background, and a purple lid to hold in the heat. It’s also my favorite hand warmer.

    • jess March 16, 2014 at 7:55 am #

      I can totally picture a mug like that, Mimi – very special! Love that it doubles as a hand warmer! Are you doing A-Z again this April? Cheers!

  2. Sandra April 20, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    This scene made me cry…