Deadlines and the Drink of Your Choice

John Kenneth Galbraith: “Any writer who wants to do his best against a deadline should stick to Coca-Cola. If he doesn’t have a deadline, he can risk Seven-Up.”

I just got back from a coffeehouse filled with writers. I now wonder at the melding of caffeine and writing.

In college I had a great friend who would slam Mountain Dews to finish three papers in one night. And he was successful at those papers and now attends an MFA program in Oregon, where I can only imagine what his wife goes through to get him to stay still at two o’clock in the morning.

In the quote above, Mr. Galbraith touts the importance of caffeine in relation to a deadline. Apparently soda, now the metabolic-disorder-king-of-evilness, was the poison of choice at that particular time (1970ish times).

Today we have moved on into the Country of Starbucks. Where espresso reigns and there is plenty of syrup for those who, to paraphrase Deb, do not like the taste of coffee with their coffee. Lattes, mochas, frappacinos. All those faux Italian words that will eventually confuse European-traveling Americans.

Why is it that writers are drawn to it? Seriously, if you want to meet a writer just swing a dead cat around a coffee shop and you’ll hit at least two wannabes and probably a journalist–and you’ll be kicked out for one or two healthcode violations. Deb met another author at It’s a Grind just recently. At work, where there is a cafe, I see at least two or three people with laptops or notepads out–scribbling away.

Are out-of-house pages automatically in-coffehouse-pages? Does caffeinated=creative? Are jittery hands the hands of an artist?

Deb Questions from the Ether

jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Made sense to me. Maybe I need more sleep. Or more caffeine.

    I think one of the appeals of coffee shops (besides the coffee) is that there isn’t any guilt with tying up a table for several hours. In a restaurant, you could be cheating the waitress out of several potential tips. Plus the noise level in coffee shops tends to be pretty level so the background isn’t intrusive.

    Pubs might work okay, too. Although people can get a bit rowdier there. Sort of like the dirty looks we get at IAG some nights. When you’re writing in public, you have to remember that it isn’t a library (unless it is) so people don’t have to be quiet for your sake.

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