clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tea Time of the Soul

AT left, a lovely tea cozy whose image I borrowed from the lovely wikicommons. Alas, it is not mine. I think I have the same model teapot, however.

I'll get to the writing part in a minute but first, the whining about tea as a friend puts it.

I'm American. Surprise. But tea has been very important to me throughout my life despite the fact that it is terribly unimportant to 99.95% of the American population. [ exception: iced tea in Western Kansas. The Japanese tea ceremony has nothing on the social status of the ice tea ceremony in that part of the world].

All one has to do is order tea in a lovely restaurant after lunch with colleagues and have some previously boiled water delivered in a slightly soiled bulbous glass container accompanied by the universal Lipton tea bag and a coffee mug. Maybe there is an accompanying wedge of lemon (not slice ...wedge, appropriated from barstock) and the dejected question "you didn't want milk or anything, did you?"

Really? This is as far towards civilization as we can manage to evolve?

I'll accept that we're the land of guns and violence. I'm fine with guns and violence. School trained bear. Sheep will be fleeced so teach all the non-violence you want, be prepared for the butcher's bill.

However, getting a tea cozy in this country involves....making it yourself or bribing frau bear to make one for you. Travesty.

Drink quickly because there are not two lingering cups of heat in a naked teapot.


Tea time of the Soul for me, borrowing from the late Douglas Adams. I'm getting through it.

What I mean is not perhaps the doldrums and near-depression you expect me to whine about. Rather, it is the odd trend of absurdity which abandons me when I want to invoke it and the alarming tendency of it to re-emerge when I don't.

Case in point. I'm writing a story about selling a secret lair to a very dangerous villainess. [ I hear you ...."is there any other kind of villainess?"].  It is meant to be a little absurd. De nada. Flat. Droll even.

I have another story of a literary bent making circulation of some beta readers which deals with a intentional killing by a young man of a pair of his associates by convincing them to do something they should not. Not technically murder, but we the reader know something the other characters work to find out and thus narrative tension and ... Well. It's an effort towards one of those Pushcart ilk literary short stories that may never get past the slush pile of the usual fine quality - but lightly subscribed - publications. Serious writing, from me.

The first Beta said something on return which was encouraging but slightly off base. Meh. It happens. She read it during the holidays. Zen master, too. Probably not really the best reader for cold blooded killing but she asked and I sent.

The second came back Tuesday. The verdict?

Hilarious. Nearly involuntary urination during the inevitable encounter with the county Sheriff who suspects, knows, and cannot prove.

Not precisely my intent; but, there it is. I re-read the passages carefully and can see the composition when I had this tight little smile as I re-wrote the original. Yep, there it was. The absurd flavor of life right onto the page.

I'm going to have to decide what to do with the sort of humor that evolved from a parent asking "Do you love me?"

Crystallizing moment, isn't it. We all learn ways to cope with madness. I've too much Dave Allen in my method for my own good.

I'll have to write something about it. I hope you will too. The little monsters are the most fun. They're so full of unbridled malice with just the thinnest veneer of control. One never knows just when the knife emerges.

Make sure it does on the page when you're writing.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I've been drinking a good Chai tea the last few weeks, since it's been so darn cold outside. Can't get too excited about hot tea in our hot summers, but I do like iced tea then (which is certainly nothing like real tea!)

I know what you mean about nailing certain elements. I sometimes get uneven tone in a book...I just edit it out lately. But being able to capture a sense of the absurd is a gift! You've done well. :)

jack welling said...

Mr. Absurd. That's me.

Couple that with inappropriate laughter and I'm a blast at funerals.

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