Guest Article: Coffee is Blood

Coffee is Blood.

And having written that, I now realize I should probably explain.

For writers, or at least for me, a good cup of coffee, or a warm cup of coffee, or, let’s face it, a cup of coffee period, is as necessary as the blood running through my veins.  In many ways, it’s as constant.  That familiar rich, hearty brew greets me when I wake, walks with me throughout the day, and sits with me while I watch the stars.

Thinking back, this simple miracle of roasted and ground beans coupled with hot water has accompanied me during some of life’s biggest moments.

When the screenwriter in me met with my first producer, there was a mocha (my apologies to the coffee purists, but I love me my mochas) clutched in my fist.  When the screenwriter met with yet another producer for a different script, it was a cup of dark deliciousness spiked with Amaretto.  And when I’m in Paris–which to me is life–my mornings always kick off with a crème: the perfect combination of pungent black blended with rich cream, as much a part of the city as its wide boulevards and surprising patches of green.

But what about the writer in me?  Because that’s who I am now, right?  How important is it to me in the here and now that this dark brew–smelling of all things wonderful and glorious–be within arm’s reach?

Other than petting whichever dog is sleeping next to me–ah, let’s face it, it’s always the sixteen year old dachshund and it’s always wonderful–coffee is my touchstone. The armor I wrap myself in when sitting down to work and the celebration I enjoy after I’ve hit my daily 2k word goal.  The toast to myself after triumphantly wrestling my way through a tricky sentence, or paragraph, or chapter.  The steam warming my nose, a comfort when the words disappear, the silky bite of chocolate (back to my mocha again) greeting them when they return.

Like most, drinking coffee or making coffee or holding the cup of coffee, but not sipping it, not yet, is what I do when I find my mind twisting and turning and churning.  As if the heated mug in my hands will somehow anchor me to reality, keeping me safe from those demons who snarl and that darkness that builds.  Those whispering priests who plot and plan and my lonely immortals burdened with life everlasting.

But when I put the cup down, that gentle sound of thick ceramic meeting polished wood is the cue to bring this tempered insanity to life on the page.

That couldn’t happen without coffee.  It’s a trigger in some ways.  Urging my brain to think and then telling it, okay, enough, we got what we need.

Until I do it all over again.

You see?  That’s why coffee, to me, is blood.  It’s necessary for my creative process.  Without it there is no life, either for me–and just allow me this moment to be ridiculously dramatic–or for the fictional mythology I create, the people on the page I give birth to, or the stories they insist on telling.  Without coffee, the journey I and most other writers take to type THE END would be tough.

So consider this my open love letter to coffee.

Without you, I am nothing.


Screenwriter, playwright, and author of Martuk … the Holy (“A highlight of the Year” – 2012 Papyrus Independent Fiction Awards) and The Martuk Series, an ongoing collection of short fiction inspired by Martuk, Jonathan Winn currently lives in the States.

The Tall Priest, the fourth installment in The Martuk Series, is due in May 2014 and Martuk … the Holy:  Proseuche, the sequel to Martuk … the Holy, is scheduled for June 2014.

He can be found on Facebook as well as Twitter.