Helping the Muse

“Tea is the magic key to the vault where my brain is kept.”

Frances Hardinge ( Writer of truly brilliant and mad books such as Twilight Robbery, Fly by Night and Face Like Glass.)

While searching for the writing muse we got to a point where we began discussing the encouragement required for her to descend. Is it timing, setting, atmosphere or what they imbibe which inspires writers to write?

LL: I suppose it all helps but everything else is external and what you ingest touches the brain chemically and….

PS: Comes forth in the form of writing?

LL: Precisely.

PS: But it’s the liquids which seem to get translated into words a lot more than the solids.

LL: Because traditionally writers and poets have always given credit to what they drink. No one ever blames the chocolate cake for what they write, only for the weight they put on.

PS: Big cups of tea help with anything really.

LL: Coffee is more of a temporary kick to wake you up enough to get you started, tea is more sustaining.

PS: But glasses of wine give the writing process a more bohemian air and make one uninhibited in one’s writing. Or so claim a whole host of famous writers.

LL: It just sets us giggling, going off onto tangents, and then we wonder what the point is in writing. It’s too much hard work.

PS: We therefore do not recommend wine as inspiration.

LL: So it is tea all the way. Boring old us!

Here is a nice tea poem by a Tang Dynasty poet, in appreciation of the most inspirational beverage ever to be discovered by human kind. May it continue to enthuse us even when we move out to settle on Mars or elsewhere.

The Way of Tea

The first bowl washed the cobwebs from my mind —

The whole world seemed to sparkle.

A second cleansed my spirit

Like purifying showers of rain,

A third and I was one of the Immortals —

What need now for austerities

To purge our human sorrows?

Worldly people, by going in for wine,

Sadly deceive themselves.

For now I know the Way of Tea is real.

-Chio Jen


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