100 Cups of Coffee

I started an enjoyable writing project last month, that I’m calling A HUNDRED CUPS OF COFFEE. It is somewhat inspired by Patti Smith’s M TRAIN–one of the most incredible books on the life of a writer that I’ve ever read. Her book is a window into consciousness. And also has a lot of coffee.

The project is as follows:
1. Go somewhere and
2. Drink a cup of coffee and
3. Write a short piece


No strict timeline for the project–it isn’t daily or once a week, just in a timely fashion.
No set subject–although they are emerging.

It’s a bit scary–observation always is. There are a few worrisome things in my life, and yes, I’m forced to address them. I also wanted the pieces to be varied. The Tune-Up paean below is one section. So are the haiku about my father’s death.

Is anyone doing a similar project? Advice? Requests?


More Recommended Books On Writing

Diana Rico Right now I am groovin’ on Lisa Cron’s “Wired for Story.” It’s my third read-through and it is helping me make critical story breakthroughs on my first novel.

Donna Snyder On Becoming a Writer was one of the first I read and I recall at the time I thought it was great.

Liz Wallace Art and Fear

Janet Brennan Oh yes, I forgot about that one. The successful. Novelist ” by David. David Morrell. Highly recommended.

Paula Ambika Bromberg Of course that’s easy—all of Natalie Goldberg’s books..They rocked my soul….if that counts as helping me write…they inspire and delight…what’s yours?

Claudia Long Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott

Richard Peabody Sol Stein’s book on writing fiction. Taught Gardner, Goldberg, and Lamott for eons. Lance Olsen’s book and John Dufresne’s are also great for fiction.

Jennie Cooley Stephen Kings book on writing. keep going back to it.

Alfred Stanley The Elements of Style

Joyce Kornblatt ONE CONTINUOUS MISTAKE, Gail Sher

Linda Wiener Art and Fear is my vote too

John Roche I often use Writing Down the Bones or Susan Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy in classes. But the book that worked for me was Ezra Pound’s ABC of Reading.

Cinny Green one of my favorites is The Passionate Accurate Story by Carl Bly.

Marmika Paskiewicz Writing Down the Bones definitely was/is it for me – gave me the freedom to leap into it with all my fingers sticky without worrying “Am I really a writer?” or “Is it good enough?”

Marmika Paskiewicz I really want a writing guide with “snow” in the title…

Lauren Marie Reichelt The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. It helped me to develop a concise and clear literary style.

Kate McCahill Dicey’s Song changed my writing life.

Terry Lucas I agree with all of the above. And I know you asked for “the best book,” but all of the following have been “the best” at different times for me: Best Words, Best Order by Stephen Dobyns; The Poet’s Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux, Ordinar…See More

Charles Trumbull The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets by Ted Kooser. One of the most sensible books on writing IMHO.

Doug Bootes Unbroken Line: Writing in the Lineage of Poetry. Seriously, I use this book more often than any to help expand and solidify my poetry.

Aline Tayar Kate Grenville and Sue Wolff’s Ten Australian Stories – interviews with famous Australian writers who talk about how they came to write one of their novels – from Jessica Anderson to Patrick White and Peter Carey. There are samples of early drafts as well as the final version of a piece of text. How an idea is born and how it gestates – this is the one book on writing that I’ve read and re-read.

Kelly Davio Scene and Structure. It’s dry, but incredibly useful. It’s a technical manual rather than a rah-rah-you-can-do-it book, and that works for me.

Glass Fish haiga, haiku, tanka, and art

Every so often my blog does something odd–like show this piece from 2010 as having the most visitors yesterday. Nice to see this glass fish by Hiroshi Yamano.


circling around
like the old year
upon the new…
a golden splash
of sunset

Mary Kendall

Fish skims air-water
amber clear light along gills
sun sparkles bubbles

Alicia Marie Rencountre-Da Silva

Anyone else want to add a haiku or short poem?

Anniversary of My Father’s Death

The week of my father’s yarzeit, anniversary of his death.

The passage of time has not revealed who he was to me.

I can list 5 things he liked:

cream filled doughnuts
the Hudson River
being right
Ancient Greece

and 5 things he didn’t:

carpenter bees
Valentine’s Day
crossing a border

In the last years of his life, he was diminished by age, dementia, a stroke, aphasia.

I can’t discount those years and just remember him young.

I wanted his approval—and both got it and didn’t—until the need itself wore out.

He was the only father I’ll ever have. Basically, that is the truth of the situation that remains.

The haiku poet Issa wrote:

Mountains seen also
by my father, like this,
In his winter confinement. (Translation by R.H. Blythe)

The haiku seems to be saying we can’t actually know another person, but maybe just experience together.

mist hangs over
snow mountains my father
never saw

walking stick in snow
how vigorous my father
was at my age

old man
stroked, afraid
of the spring breeze

juncos in snow
he liked them too—
my father

Seeing Color

At the art museum in Las Cruces last weekend, I saw an exhibit of Paul Outerbridge’s photography. He was an early color photographer.


I walked in off the esplanade, which was bustling with lots of crafts, a few farmers selling greens, heaps of pecans, and a jazz band and felt the influence of Outerbridge’s color the rest of the day.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, is also all about color.




dark red mug
yellow wall
purple door
red roof
red chairs
blue bench
pink door
faded prayer flags
purple windows
green chairs
Chinese guard lions
tin roof
Shinto lantern
green pots
pale metal chair
green cactus
empty laundry line
pink wall
turquoise window frame
palm tree wrapped in blanket
silver sneakers (mine)
red green blue orange Xmas lights
silver door
gold Buddha
colorless sky