Archive for October, 2019

Tea and Revision

Posted in The Blog with tags on October 23, 2019 by chateaucone

Monday, October 21, Noon
Rhetorical Question: why does sabbatical time go so much faster than semester time?

I might have temporarily forgotten that I have a blog. I am going to blame this on my utter absorption with the work I have been doing on my sabbatical project. Out of eleven essays I promised (a combination of revisions, complete rewrites and brand new stuff), five are completely done. One is very close to done—definitely almost there. Two are awaiting my revisions. I have a brand new first draft of two more that need a round of workshopping/editing. And I’m considering on bailing on #11 because one of my other new pieces is VERY LONG (Owen Meany—all caps—long) and should count as two. (You know who you are, Louise!)

Right now I am in Saint-Roch (a neighborhood in QC), sitting a tea house that is apparently a pretty serious about its tea. There’s no milk, and everything I have seen ordered is in fancy pots (not British stiff-upper-lip-take-your-tea-seriously fancy pots, but the kind I associate with matcha and green tea and Japanese and  Chinese and Indonesian and African teas for which “first flush” and “ second flush” along with “bloom,” are noted on the menu—basically tea that one does not drink out of a big mug with plenty of milk and sugar and a scone) and it comes with little bowls and tiny cups and frankly, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with all the equipment. And I don’t like the tea I ordered. But I’m going to sit here and drink it anyway (rather slowly) because I really like the atmosphere.

This is not the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh tea experience I was hoping for.

I have a Starbuck’s English Breakfast tea bag in my bag. I wonder what would happen if I just asked for some hot water and plunked my tea bag in it. I think tea bags are frowned upon here.

Maybe I’m not a real tea lover. Hmmm. I am certainly less cosmopolitan than I like to believe. Something to think about.

I am also being lured out of this tea house by the John Fluevog shoe store down the street. I love his shoes. They’re crazy expensive and I don’t have any, and if I did I probably wouldn’t wear them because I’m just not that cool, and they are that cool, but I love to dream.


Fluevogs in a season color

2:54 pm
I have now moved to Starbucks. And gotten myself a nice English Breakfast tea. I walked past another coffee/tea place on my way here, called “Pekoe” that looks good, but I am out of trying-new-things energy, so here I am.

And now I’m procrastinating because the piece that I have that needs revision is stumping me. It’s been making me crabby for two days now. I am gaining a new understanding of why students don’t revise. Revision sucks. And it’s a little scary. What if you fail to make the piece better? What if you’re just not capable?

Hence, procrastination. One wall of this Starbucks is all glass and it looks into an art gallery in which a show is being installed. And it is far more interesting than anything I am writing, although one of the pieces being installed does feel just like the essay I’m trying to work on feels in my head. Here it is:IMG_4874

And this one (ignore the reflection of the Starbucks guy) looks like Spirograph. With yarn. How cool would that be? Like string theory. Or at the very least like something I’d rather do than physics.


As much fun as I am having mis-interpreting this artist’s work, incompletely installed and through glass with a lot of coffee-drinking people reflected in it, I hope there is eventually an artist’s statement. Watching that poor woman deal with hanging all those wires is making me anxious.

Today is one of those days where I have to remind myself that staring off into space for long periods of time is part of the writing process. At some point, probably when I don’t have a pen, my essay will tell me what it wants to be.

Right now I have to get away from all those hanging wires. And clumps of wires on the floor. Too much a picture of my writing process.