Farewell my old friend

A wet hand, a moment’s inattention and tragedy. Disaster struck! My favourite coffee mug is dead. Broken. Gone. This might seem like an over-reaction to people who don’t understand the attachment a writer can have to their favourite mug. Coffee is the fuel of writing – the actual energy used in the production of words. Along with alcohol, tears, angst and blind pig-headed stubbornness, it’s how stories are born. Word babies gestate in a sea of caffeine.

My wife bought me this mug some years ago. It holds nearly two palrty “normal” sized mugs worth of coffee. It’s round and slightly rough to the touch, a tactile experience. It’s sat beside my keyboard for hundreds of thousands of words. I’ve cupped its reassuring bowl in my palms as I’ve stared disconsolately at the virtual page. It’s steamed gently beside me as I’ve researched, read, muttered to myself while staring at the walls. It really is an old friend. And now it’s broken. I know it was an accident, but I feel a terrible sense of guilt along with the loss at the moment. I loved that old mug, and I dropped it.

There’s a curl of mouse cord on my desk that looks so empty now. It’s where my mug would sit. I want another coffee, but I feel as though I can’t, there’s nothing to hold it. My wife remembers the market where she bought it for me and next time that market comes around we’re going to see if I can get another. But it will never be the same.

When I first reported this terrible tragedy on Twitter, Angela Slatter said, “Noo! Quick, dance widdershins around the remains then throw coffee grounds over your left shoulder to ward off bad writer hoodoo.”

To which my initial response was, OH MY GODS IS THAT A THING!?

So I’ve done that ritual now. You know, just in case. I’ll have to soldier on with a temporary mug while I try to deal with the loss. Today is a writing day. I’ve been for a run with my wife and dog, done some bits and pieces that needed doing and now I plan to keep my arse parked here until there are 5,000 new words on the novel in progress. I just hope I can do it without my old pal.

Vale, mug. You were one of a kind.


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16 thoughts on “Farewell my old friend

  1. I, too, know the loss of “my mug”. I’m still searching for ‘the one’, but I feel like I’m cheating on my old friend with each cup sipped. 🙁 Hugs to you, Al.

  2. I once had a mug that I loved: the size of a soup bowl, a pretty cream with a blue line design all over, shaped like a cup and came complete with saucer. I loved that mug dearly. Many years ago, hubby and I had an argument, during which hubby had an accident in the kitchen. Afterwards I couldn’t find my mug anywhere, no matter how hard I searched. Eventually the truth came out: the ‘accident’ that I didn’t need to worry about during our argument, the ‘accident’ that I didn’t need to clean up, he’d do it himself, really, no need for me to help, THAT ‘accident’ was the end of my beautiful mug. I’ve never loved another since. I’ve tried, I’ve found other large cup-shaped mugs that are similar-ish but none fit my hands as well – they have stupid handles that you’re lucky if you can squeeze two fingers into, which, when holding over half a litre of hot liquid, is rather precarious. Other ‘large’ mugs are too small. The best I’ve found is some over-tall coffee mugs with a reasonable centre of gravity, but a few of these have already chipped in the dishwasher: their rims are a bit fragile. Also, none are MINE, they’re not individuals, they’re part of the colony of mis-matched mugs that inhabit the kitchen cupboards so that visiting friends can complain that all our mugs are too big. *sigh*

    We still have the saucer. Sometimes I look at the saucer with nostalgic longing, sigh sadly, before using it as a small plate.

    WANTED: over-sized individual coffee mug to be the love of my life.

  3. So sorry for your loss, Alan – I get the whole favourite mug thing, I don’t know where I’d be without mine.

    Big hugs and I hope you can find a suitable replacement that you will eventually grow to love as much as this one. X

  4. If you really loved it – and not just as a coffee mug – you could glue it back together and use it as a pot plant for a very small plant, or as a pencil/pen holder. That way you can keep your old friend even in semi-retirement.

  5. This might be a bit soon, but perhaps you should just use a variety of mugs for a while. All mugs have their charms, but you need to leave it a while before commiting to another – the memory of this one is still too fresh (and richly aromatic) in your mind.

    The right mug always comes along when you least expect it.

  6. So the pieces of the last have hardly been swept from the dustpan and it looks like Jonesy is trying to set you up with another mug.

    How could you?

  7. Thanks for your understanding and condolences, everyone. I’m still in mourning. I did just order this to help ease the pain – http://store.valvesoftware.com/product.php?i=MU505

    Jonesy, I appreciate the sentiment – an interim affair might be just what I need.

    Graham – my old mug would understand. It knows it will never be replaced, but it wouldn’t want me to be alone.

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