We rearranged our furniture. Now my writing desk is downstairs, in our den, away from the stove and my French press. The first morning I woke to write, it was 20 minutes before I got to my keyboard after filling the tea kettle, grinding beans, waiting for water to boil, then waiting for coffee to steep, then doctoring it up to ready it for drinking, then carrying my steaming mug downstairs to the basement where I finally pushed the space bar and my blank screen blinked to life.
Half my writing time was gone before it even began.
It used to be, when the computer was around the corner from the kettle, that I could write between the waiting. Now, I needed a new routine or the new furniture pattern would not work. That evening, I surveyed my new writing space – a carpeted, wood-panelled, finished-basement room with a futon, a TV cabinet, a sliding glass door, and two book shelves – for a solution to my coffee problem. Under a window, behind our kids’ short legged craft table, was an electrical outlet. I pulled my mini coffee pot off the storage shelf in the laundry room and placed it on the table, seven steps from my writing chair.
Now, every evening, after we’ve eaten and washed dishes, while our children brush their teeth and don their pajamas, I grind coffee for the following morning. I love the ritual of it, of measuring and grinding in our clean kitchen at bedtime, my mind at rest after a full day of family living. The only light is from the bulb over the stove, and there’s a serenity in the tidy, well-used, put-to-bed kitchen.
In the warm half-light of the stove bulb, I think about tomorrow’s practice as I fill the coffee carafe to the 2-cup mark, collect the lid from the coffee grinder, which now contains fresh grinds from two scoops of beans, and walk the carafe and the beans downstairs to the basement. Upstairs, our children lay snuggled under comforters, with their bedside lamps on, reading. I place a filter in the basket, pour the pre-measured water into the reservoir, the pre-measured grounds into the the white paper filter, and set the carafe on the warming plate. I close the lid, check that the machine is plugged in, and resist the urge to press the “On” button. I then turn off the light, and climb the stairs to kiss our children good night.
Sometimes I think this new ritual of pre-making my coffee, of closing out my day with preparation for a new one, of granting myself this happy moment of “what will I write tomorrow?”, is as satisfying as the writing itself. The rituals are part of the package. Part of what make me love what I do. One of my favorite parts of the writing life.
7 thoughts on “We rearranged our furniture and a new ritual was born”
Love the idea of getting a jump start on the next day’s ritual. Used to do this when the kids were small to help us get going faster in the mornings…now you’ve inspired me to try it again as a way to boost my morning writing. Thanks!
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how soothing it is. I go to bed knowing everything is ready in the morning for me to begin writing. All I have to do is press the “on” button and get writing. It makes it easier to fall asleep at night.
This is so inspiring! We’re moving into a new house next month, and one of the things I am looking forward to most is setting up my writing/work space after two years of camping in the spare room. I love all your rituals and the little glimpses you give of the spaces you create.
Congratulations on your move, and setting up your new space is going to be so much fun! Does this mean you will have a dedicated writing room? I had the pleasure of visiting a friend’s writing studio recently, and her space was very inspiring. She had art on her walls that friends had painted, and a bulletin board with index cards of starts and ideas, and a shelf of writing books, and a binder clip full of rejection slips hanging on the inside of a storage closet door… It made me look forward to the day when I will one day have my own inspirational space. For now, I’ll settle for the coffee pot 7 steps away.
Yes, there’s a little room that opens with glass doors off the living room — windows to the garden on two sides and just enough space for a small desk, perhaps a bookshelf, maybe a reading chair. It will mostly be a space for my business (editing, etc) because I’m not really a writer, but I’d like to see if I can make it work as a writing space too.
So I love this idea, but as a Floridian and a friend, I feel it is my duty to remind you to check the water each morning before flipping the brew switch on. I don’t know what kind of critters you may have lurking, but I can imagine they look for water in the middle of the night. Maybe keeping a closed water bottle by the coffee maker could work too? Sorry I am so paranoid.
Eeeewwww!!! And yes, excellent point, my Florida friend. I’m out of practice on thinking about bugs 😉 I checked the reservoir this morning – no bugs. I think the water bottle is a good idea for the future, though…
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