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Posts Tagged ‘tea’

CreativeCup
Despite the title of this post, it’s not about what you may think. Meet my creative cup.

I pulled it out of the cupboard today because I wanted not only tea but a particular mindset. For that I use a cup.

I can tweak my mental orientation on my own, but like a witch with a familiar I find this task easier with the right tools. I have work cups, I have dessert cups (for chocolate pudding, of course), I have everyday cups and I have fun cups. But this is the original, my first cup with a distinct personality. Also, its own special power.

It may not look like much, at first glance. The surface is a fine textured grey that appears dull in poor light, with an image of pussy willow branches in an understated earthy brown and sky blue. There is a small chip on the lip, just above the handle. It could be any cup.

But it also has a larger-than-normal capacity, good for long days and challenging projects. It has tiny dimples where the layered paint is marginally thicker, enough to provide subconscious grip for tired fingers. The handle is both wide and flat for stability without bulk. It has a thin lip that doesn’t drip no matter how distracted the user. And it was given to me by a high school teacher whose name I can’t remember and whom I’ll never forget.

Many people (and, dare I posit, most writers?) were fortunate enough to have a teacher like this. She helped me explore new challenges, let me design a class when the schedule didn’t offer what I wanted, talked about the world outside of school as if it were a treasure box. She ran at lunch and ate interesting food at a desk by an oversized window, trim and fit with shoulder-length brown hair and a joyfully pragmatic outlook on life. She lent books and awarded class credit for wildcrafting my own dyes, medicines and poisons that would have done a 17th-century physicker proud.

She stayed with our school little more than a year, I think, but that was enough. The night before they left she and her husband arrived at our doorstep, a small wrapped package in hand. A gift, she said, that she hoped would suit. Something to take with me on my path.

I untied the ribbon. I tore the paper. Those are long gone. I still have the cup. When I want invention, when I want off-the-beaten-path imagination, when I need the encouragement to create and the belief that the world is still a wondrous treasure, this is my companion.

I thanked her. I am still thanking her, every time I use this cup.

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