Grounds for a Story

There are some things in life we are drawn to more than others. For example, I’m a tried and true coffee lover. I adore the brew so much I have a cubicle wall dedicated to it, and I think about it on at least a daily basis. When something has a solid impact on a writer’s life, it is bound to make appearances in their writing. Sometimes it is in a very subtle way, as part of a metaphor or a simile:

“Ebon was halfway to his destination when his map slipped away from his telekinetic grasp. This had never happened to him before, but he had also never put such a demand on his physical reach before today. He juggled the map with what little physical force he could still manage to muster, flipping it over so that he could at least memorize its contents.

He continued onwards, abandoning the map face up in the mud. He had not expected this would happen, and knew it meant that he would have to feed, something he rarely felt the inclination to do. This did not please him. Feeding took time and energy, and he had neither.

Arriving at what he believed was his destination, he began his search. He had no trouble locating the leather wallet that contained the token. He could pick out with ease the two glowing magical auras surrounding the purse, and they smelt absolutely heavenly, like the aroma of fresh bread or strong coffee. He salivated at the thought of absorbing all of that sweet, distinctly different energy. The one reminiscent of coffee was harsh and bitter, but strangely satisfying, the other somewhat bland, but slightly sweet and very substantial. That was the only one he intended to feed off of, absorbing what he could as quickly as he could. This was the plan, but once he started, he could not stop.

He had not recognized his hunger, had not realized just how ravenous he had become. He sucked back the spell’s energies, lost in the instinct to feed and absorb. Before he had realized it, he had completely devoured the first spell and had started in on the second. He had lost all track of time, and as the last drop of energy slipped past his ethereal lips, he stretched out, thoroughly satisfied and replenished.”

  • – from Magic University

This is one of those excerpts that come to mind when someone says: “pick a favourite scene”.

Other times the intrusion of these adored items is much more blatant, and the thing in question becomes a fundamental part of the plot. An example of this is my zombie short story “Waking the Dead”, where the tale takes place in a coffee shop and the zombie outbreak is caused by the coffee itself, the infamous Haitian Rouge. I can count several stories where coffee is mentioned, worming its way into my plots in one way or another.

I would expect that this would apply to most writers when they really connect with their story. The things with which you identify most will find some sort of presence in your written worlds as well as your mundane one, in some cases serving as inspiration. In my case, you could say that coffee is grounds for a story.

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3 comments on “Grounds for a Story

  1. I was sitting in a coffee shop drinking a mocha when I read this. I don’t think coffee has turned up in my writing much (weird considering I’m almost always in a coffee shop when I write), but there’s lots of eating crappy food and drinking chocolate shakes. What does that mean?

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