Like most writers, I write an awful lot more than I publish. I have several journals on the go: one for evening gratitudes, one for daily writing and two related to home educating my children. Although this blog has been rather quiet of late, words are still circling in the aether around me and many of them land in one of these four journals (or alternatively on the back of a coffee-stained envelope in the kitchen).

My days have been full of my children’s projects;

insect project journal

experimenting with my new iPhone macro lens;

up close raspberry

pretending to be civilised by drinking tea from china cups and reading the children poetry while they play in the garden;

tea and poetry edited

as well as tending to the veg patch, reaping the harvest, boiling up jam and making countless meals for a very hungry family.

But ever there are the words.

Today I had a chance to sit in a café and write in my journal. I drank my coffee and stared at the page, wrote a few lines, savoured a bite of a croissant (even more enjoyable because it was free!). Then…the last sip of coffee—the end of this writing session was drawing near. What had I to show for it? Today it felt forced. Finally time to write without interruption, sitting on my own in a café, but still there were distractions even if they weren’t in the form of my own family or a sink full of dirty dishes. The words wouldn’t come. Creativity felt as though it was dripping out. I wanted to give myself a hard shake, whack the side of the bottle, get the flow going.

For me there’s no such thing as creativity on-demand. There is pre-writing to do. I need to exercise the ink, to get the hand into the customary cramp, to find the comfortable side of the nib. There’s the pause as I lift my head from the page to look around. I look down and pick idly at my cuticles while the dripping tap begins to flow. I scratch my head, rub the bridge of my nose, crumple a tissue.

The clink of spoons against teacups feels like the ticking of a clock. Time alone, time to write—it’s so precious. I don’t want to waste it on unworthy throwaways and awkward phrasing. I want to bask in the warmth of beautiful words, and prose that trips off the pen and tongue like a languid drizzle of oil.

There is rarely enough time to mine down into the depths of writing to find that golden seam. I don my helmet, descend down, down into the dark depths of the mine shaft. I chip, chip, chip away at the crumbling, dark soil. The hint of the motherlode is revealed in small nuggets: golden words that fall from the pen, dropping at my feet. I stoop to collect them, turning them over and fingering their rough facets. A bit of polishing, and this might actually be something.

The key is to keep at the coalface. The nuggets of beauty are there. It takes time to uncover them. And not everyone will value them the way I do.

So why do it? Especially when life is full of projects, a new macro lens, tea and poetry, and of course all those meals to cook?

I write because the shine of those golden words is utterly entrancing.

I write because the heft of those nuggets in my hand is worth all the juggling it took to write them.

I write because those polished words have a resonance that penetrates deep within me; they are an expression of my essence.

I cap my pen and snap my journal shut as a waitress comes to clear my tray. I clutch my journal close to my chest as I leave the café. Words, words. Those words are the filigree wrought by my heart. They are priceless to me.

© Lisa Hassan Scott 2014.

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The last sip of coffee
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9 thoughts on “The last sip of coffee

  • 11/07/2014 at 9:22 pm

    The nib, you say?? She writes with a fountain pen!! Yay!!

    So do I, luddite that I am. :-}

    • 11/07/2014 at 9:34 pm

      Haha! Actually a fineliner and they get worn down in a certain way that only one way is comfortable. We all have our favourites. I used to write with a fountain pen until my eleven year old daughter took a fancy to it. She now has her eye on the fineliner…!

  • 11/07/2014 at 9:49 pm


    • 11/07/2014 at 10:15 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • 11/07/2014 at 11:08 pm

    sometimes words take my breath away. this is one of those times. <3

    • 13/07/2014 at 5:17 pm

      Thank you Dawn 🙂

  • 11/07/2014 at 11:32 pm

    Oh yes, that pressure of making the best use of a chunk of free time! By this point I think I almost work better without that luxury, with the pressure of knowing I’ll have to stop the second someone starts screaming. 🙂 I wonder if we’ll someday get used to having time to ourselves again, when that day comes?

    • 13/07/2014 at 5:19 pm

      I agree: sometimes the pressure of knowing there may be an interruption isn’t such a bad thing. Also, I’ve noticed that I often come up with good ideas during the interruptions!

  • 15/07/2014 at 10:49 am

    I hear you Lisa! That cup of coffee and a little piece of time all to ourselves to write is just so precious that it’s hard to not put too much pressure on ourselves to make every word count. But those pieces of time do all mount up and here they are in your wonderful blog, and Breastfeeding Matters, bringing much comfort to those who need it.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

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