I have a collection of coffee mugs, each with a different logo or quote. There’s the green mug from “The Jackson Hole Coffee Company;” there’s the tall white mug of a fishing trawler I bought in Sitka, Alaska; there’s the even taller, funnel-shaped mug I bought at the Library of Congress gift shop (“I cannot live without books”—Thomas Jefferson); and there’s the squat mug with Alfred Hitchcock’s pencil-line profile--a souvenir from when my wife and I visited Hollywood.
But the only mug that really counts, the one that’s the motivator as well as drinking vessel, is the white one with the caricature of William Faulkner. There’s a chunk of text curving around the mug—some satiric twaddle about how he played the rabbit “Harvey” in the Jimmy Stewart movie—but it’s the oversized head with the jutting pipe that matters to me. This is the mug I use when I want to have a “writing day.” When I reach into the cupboard, I make my determination to, yes, sit at the keyboard and at least stare at the screen, maybe tap a few words, the spirit of William Faulkner sitting on my shoulder, gliding down my arm, lifting my fingers. To really be productive, to get myself in the right frame of mind, I must have William F. perched there, four inches to the left of my laptop computer. It’s a silly ritual, but a necessary one. To write, I must drink from Faulkner.
Lately, it’s been washed nearly every day, so that’s a good thing.
The Quivering Pen's motto can be summed up in two words: Book Evangelism. The blog is written and curated by David Abrams, author of the Iraq War comedy Fobbit (Grove/Atlantic, 2012), from his home office in Butte, Montana. It is fueled by early-morning cups of coffee, the occasional bowl of Cheez-Its, and a lifelong love of good books.