Tag Archives: coffee

Gift Guide: 5 Unique Gifts for the Mad Ones

29 Nov

Happy Black Friday?! The writers associated with the Beat Generation generally avoided vapid commercialism, but if you have a friend, family member, or colleague who is into Beat literature — or if you’re looking to spoil yourself — you may want to bless them with a gift that values their literary interest this holiday season. But what do you get for the Beat reader who has a bookshelf full of dog-eared novels and biographies?

If your friends are “the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved” — you know, people who religiously read Jack Kerouac — they’ll appreciate these unique literary-inspired gifts.

Then, again, as Kerouac said: “Offer them what they secretly want and they of course immediately become panic-stricken.”

1. A cappuccino cup from Caffe Reggio.

CappuccinoCupMediumImage via Caffe Reggio

Caffe Reggio one of the coffeehouses the Beats hung out at in Greenwich Village.

2. Teavana Global Treasures Tea Gift Set.

teaImage via JC Gourmet Gifts

“‘Now you understand the Oriental passion for tea,’” said Japhy. “‘Remember that book I told you about; the first sip is joy, the second is gladness, the third is serenity, the fourth is madness, the fifth is ecstasy.’” ~Jack Kerouac

3. Chronicle Books Bedside Dream Journal.

Bedside_Dream_JournalImage via Chronicle

“All human beings are also dream beings.” ~Jack Kerouac

4. On the Road key ring from Penguin.

pc_keyring_ontheroadImage via Penguin

Get your kicks on Route 66 with this On the Road key ring from Penguin.

5. Cinnamon Apple Pie Candle from SweetShoppeCandles.

pieImage via Etsy

“I ate apple pie and ice cream—it was getting better as I got deeper into Iowa, the pie bigger, the ice cream richer.” ~Jack Kerouac

You can get more ideas on my Gifts for the Mad Ones Pinterest page and from my blog post last year Gift Guide for the Beat Reader.

And you know what these all pair well with? You guessed it! A copy of Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” which is available in paperback through Lulu and Amazon and in ebook through Lulu.

 

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

“Kerouac Opened a Million Coffee Bars”

26 Sep

Kerouac

In Wrestling with Starbucks: Conscience, Capital, Cappuccino, Kim Fellner writes:

You could, in fact, argue that it wasn’t Schultz [founder of Starbucks] but author Jack Kerouac who popularized these places in the U.S. psyche. As William Burroughs wrote in 1985, “Kerouac opened a million coffee bars and sold a million pairs of Levis to both sexes.”

I think he may be right.

Kerouac coffee links:::

Beatnik Coffee Shop (a photo)

Kafe Kerouac

Beatnik’s Coffee House and Breakfast Joint in Chico, CA

Beatnik Coffee in Fort Collins

Kerouac Coffee Shop

Beatnik’s Coffee in Roseville, MN

 

 

The Coffee Habit of Jack Kerouac

25 Sep

I’m on a coffee kick! Following up on my post about coffee and personality, I wanted to take a look at Jack Kerouac’s coffee habits.

Although people are quick to point to Jack Kerouac’s proclivity for alcohol, he downed coffee while writing On the Road. Okay, he may have also been hopped up on bennies—that’s Benzedrine—but his intake of coffee during that writing spree is notorious.

In the famous Paris Review interview between Kerouac and Ted Berrigan, Kerouac said that it wasn’t until Satori in Paris that he “wrote with drink at my side (cognac and malt liquor).”

Of writing, Book of Dreams, he explained how coffee entered into his writing process:

Bleary eyes, insaned mind bemused and mystified by sleep, details that pop out even as you write them you don’t know what they mean, till you wake up, have coffee, look at it, and see the logic of dreams in dream language itself, see?

As for how he took his coffee, Kerouac apparently drank it black.

Your Coffee Personality

24 Sep

How do you like your coffee? I read on Yahoo! On the Road that James Moore and Judi James published a book called The You Code: What Your Habits Say About You, which says that your coffee order may give insight into your personality.

This coffee-intertwined-with-one’s-personality hypothesis reminds me of Dean Bakopoulos’ My American Unhappiness. The novel’s protagonist, Zeke Pappas, “psychically” knows customers’ coffee orders at Starbucks. I put “psychically” in quotes because Zeke’s clairvoyance is in reality a parlor trick, educated guesses based on how the customers look and act. In other words, he can guess their coffee order based on their personality.

Moore and James’ The You Code suggests that your coffee order is about more than your taste buds. It’s about who you are deep down inside. For instance: Those who take their coffee black, according to the Yahoo article written by Vera H-C Chan, are “quiet and moody.”

I’m not too picky when it comes to how I take my coffee. When I first began drinking coffee in high school, I drank it black. I think I thought that made me a badass or something. I was far from a badass: the word “badass” makes me uncomfortable; I wouldn’t say it aloud. I actually really liked the taste of coffee, though. It wasn’t something I forced myself to drink to look cool. Coffee felt comforting. Maybe because I associate it with my mom. These days I often take my coffee with milk, putting the milk in first, then the coffee. But not always. Some days I still drink it black, no milk, no sugar. If I’m at Starbucks I usually order a latte—sometimes just a regular latte, but other times, as I consider ordering coffee out a treat, I’ll get a vanilla latte, pumpkin spice latte, or gingerbread latte. When the weather’s warm, I’ll switch to a Frappuccino. Some days, I just drink tea.

The article doesn’t say—though maybe the book does—what it means if you vary your coffee order. Perhaps multiple personality disorder? I’ve always been a bit of a chameleon, adapting to circumstances and refusing to be pigeonholed.

Or perhaps that’s just me being a writer.

Citing Ryoko Iwata’s research, Pooja Thakkar noted one’s profession is indicative of the type of coffee they order. Apparently, we writers like flavored coffee, which might be why I switch up my latte choices.

How do you take your coffee?

From the Ottoman Empire to Greenwich Village: Coffee Houses’ Literary History

23 Sep

It’s Coffee Week! Sunday, September 29, is International Coffee Day, so I’m devoting the entire week to all things coffee.

First, a bit about Coffee Day, via Squidoo:

After a comprehensive research, it looks like that people started to talk about this festival as early as 2005, but there has been virtually on mentioning of this term until 2009 when a few local coffee shops began offering free drinks and discount coupons. In 2010, there has been news on national newspaper that briefly talks about activities on the day.

My conclusion is that the history of this festival is relatively short and my own conspiracy theory is that some sort of a national coffee association started to promote it as a way to generate more business.

So why devote a whole week to International Coffee Day 2013?  Well, one of my missions here on this blog is “embracing the beatific.” For me, part of that means noticing and celebrating the little things in life. So often we get hung up on fancy restaurants that serve rich meals that we take the ordinary for granted, even though it sustains us. A cup of coffee can be a great comfort. A pot of coffee can be shared amongst friends. It can fuel a writer’s creativity.

As usual, I’ll be putting a literary spin on things.

Let me kick things off by first telling you a little about the history of coffee. From what I’ve read, coffee originated in Africa, and by the sixteenth century had found its way over to the Middle East. From there it reached Europe and Asia, only coming to the Americas later on. Having first been cultivated by Arabs, coffee shops were prevalent in the Ottoman Empire. In fact, they became so popular in Mecca—not simply because they served coffee but because they became gathering spots, where people could discuss politics—that they were banned in the early 1500s. Imagine coffee shops as speakeasies!

It was about 1645 when the first European coffee shop opened, and that was in Venice, Italy. Apparently, Greeks had an impact on coffee culture, which is no surprise really when you think about the Greek Empire’s impact on history. Johannes Theodat was a Greek who set up the first coffee shop in Vienna. In any regard, coffee houses became the place for artists and writers to meet in nineteenth-century Europe. Again, it wasn’t so much about the coffee—though certainly there was an art to making a good cup of coffee. Much like Starbucks is today, coffee houses back then were places writers could go in, order a cup of coffee, and spend hours writing or conversing. Low on cost, high on value.

Here in America, we can thank Italian Americans for setting up coffee shops in places like Greenwich Village and North Beach. And wouldn’t you know it, these were the places the writers commonly associated with the Beats hung out. Tiny tenements made for cramped quarters, so eager to socialize on the cheap these poets and novelists met up at coffee shops in the 1940s. By the ’50s, they were doing poetry readings there. Today, many cafes offer poetry readings and live music.

Jack Kerouac’s Birthday Celebrations Happening Across the Country

7 Mar

Jack Kerouac’s birthday is coming up on the 12th, and there are a couple of celebratory events happening.

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac has several days of fantastic events centered around what might be my favorite (it’s hard to choose just one!) Kerouac book, Visions of Gerard. They will also be honoring David Amram, who has been a great mentor in my life and work:

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! will be spotlighting Jack Kerouac’s deeply spiritual and Lowell-based book, Visions of Gerard, throughout this 50th anniversary year of its publication, starting with the birthday events of March 2013. March will feature music by celebrated world musician David Amram, musical collaborator and friend of Kerouac, an art exhibition, educational programs, walking tours, poetry, readings, and other cultural events that celebrate the life and writings of Jack Kerouac.

Friday 8 March 2013

Kerouac: People, Places, and Things
Time: 6:00 to 10:00pm
Location: Lowell Telecommunications Center Gallery, 246 Market St.
Kerouac-influenced art exhibition opening reception

The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow
Time: 6:30 to 7:45pm
Location: Lowell Telecommunications Center Gallery, 246 Market St.
A film by Steven Cerio with the director to present, plus a reading from Big Sur played against the director’s newest short

Music for Jack
Time: 8:00 to 9:30pm
Location: Lowell Telecommunications Center Gallery, 246 Market St.
David Amram and friends. A $10 donation is requested.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Amram and Marion
Time: 10:30am to 12:00pm
Location: Welles Emporium, 175 Merrimack St.
Help Lowell Celebrates Kerouac celebrate its new merchandise home at the Welles Emporium. Musician-author David Amram and poet Paul Marion help Lowell Celebrates Kerouac celebrate its new merchandise home at the Welles Emporium. David and Paul will do readings from their books and poetry as well as Kerouac passages with musical interludes by David. They will sign books and CDs.

Jack and Woody: Two American Originals
Time: 1:00pm
Location: Pollard Memorial Library, 401 Merrimack St.
Woody Guthrie and Jack Kerouac life parallels, talk by author Steve Edington.

Mystic Jack Tour
Time: 3:30 to 5:00pm
Location: Meet at St. Louis Church, 221 West Sixth St.
Led by master Kerouac interpreter Roger Brunelle, specially presented this year in honor of 50th anniversary of publication of Visions of Gerard. A $10 donation is requested.

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Celebrates Amram!
Time: 8:00pm to ?
Location: White Eagle Cafe, 585 Market St.
Musical event with David Amram, the Part-Time Buddhas, and guest musicians. A $10 donation is requested.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Walking Jack Loop Walk
Time: 12:00 to 5:00pm
Location: Meet at Jack Kerouac Commemorative at Jack Kerouac Park, intersection of French and Bridge Streets
End at Old Worthen Tavern at 5:00 for toasting the birth of Jack Kerouac in March of 1922

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Kerouac Birthday Walk
Time: 6:00pm
Location: Starts at Centralville Social Club, 364 W. 6th St.
On Jack Kerouac’s 91st birthday, walk with LCK group to Lupine Road birth house for readings. The walk will start and end at Centralville Social Club (364 W. 6th St.) parking lot by the prominent Ace Hardware sign on Lakeview Ave., Centralville neighborhood.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Reading of Visions of Gerard
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Pollard Memorial Library, 401 Merrimack St.
Tour of “Jack’s Library” followed by selected readings and discussion of Visions of Gerard on the 50th anniversary of its publication. This is Kerouac’s possibly most spiritual book as he remembers his childhood years and the deep impacts of his brother Gerard’s death. Sponsored by UMassLowell and Pollard Memorial Library. Funded in part by the Massachusetts Council on the Humanities.

Thanks to Welles Emporium, the Pollard Memorial Library, the White Eagle Pub, the Old Worthen Tavern, Lowell Telecommunications, and the St. Louis de France School for hosting our events.

I also learned via LCK that the Northport Historical Society is hosting a birthday celebration for Kerouac:

Writer/Playwright, Pat Fenton will be reading from his play “Jack’s Last Call, Say Goodbye to Kerouac”, as part of the March is Kerouac Month at the Northport Historical Society. Mr. Fenton will also discuss Kerouac’s Northport years as well as his importance to American literature.

It’s the end of summer in 1964. A major cultural shift is starting to happen in the U.S., and on his last night in Northport, Long Island the America Jack Kerouac saw through a rear view mirror riding along side his “On the Road” partner Neal Cassady is slowly playing again in his mind.

Long after a small going away party that he has thrown for himself is over; Jack keeps on drinking as he prepares to move to Florida with his mother. He reflects back on his fame, his youth as a football star in Lowell, Massachusetts, and the worry that his time has come and gone. As he sums up parts of his life to the audience in a bittersweet narrative, he receives a series of soul-searching phone calls from his daughter Jan.

An obligatory stop at Gunther’s Bar down the block on Main Street, where Jack Kerouac spent much of his Northport Years, will be made by the writer, and the conversation will continue over pints of tap beer.

The birthday celebration will take place on Sunday, March 10th at 3 P.M., at the Northport Historical Society, 215 Main Street, Northport, Long Island.

The Laughing Goat, a coffeehouse and performance space in Colorado, is hosting a poetry reading on March 11:

”So, You’re a Poet,” presents Jack Kerouac’s 91st Birthday Reading & On the Road film screening: The ”So, You’re a Poet” reading series by Boulder’s ”beat book shop” has several Kerouac events on its poetry calendar. Poets who have performed in this venerable, decades-old series include the late Allen Ginsberg, Bernadette Mayer (who will be in Boulder this summer for the Summer Writing Program), Diane di Prima, Janine Pommy Vega, Anselm Hollo, and many more. The series has always been hosted by poet and Kerouac School alumnus Tom Peters, owner of the Pearl Street landmark ”beat book shop.” The series was hosted for many years by the famous Penny Lane Cafe. In the introduction to Poems from Penny Lane Anne Waldman writes ”One thinks of the legendary Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich where the Dadaist movement was born, or the cafes and bars in San Francisco which spawned the Beat Literary Movement, also the cafe Metro and the Nuyorican Cafe, both in New York City’s East Village.” The series currently takes place in the new Laughing Goat Coffeehouse, which has strong ties to the original Penny Lane. Amiri Baraka, Miguel Algarin, Lewis MacAdams, and other poets read there during last year’s Summer Writing Program. The Laughing Goat is surely a Boulder literary institution in the making.

Are there any other Kerouac birthday celebrations we should know about?

How will you be celebrating? If you can’t make it to one of the events, maybe you could write a poem or read a passage from one of Kerouac’s books or stop by the Beat Museum in San Francisco.

 

Official Synopsis for Burning Furiously Beautiful

6 Jun

You probably have a pretty good idea by now of what Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is about, but here’s the official synopsis:

Fueled by coffee and pea soup, Jack Kerouac speed-typed On the Road in just three weeks in April 1951. He’d been traveling America for the past ten years and now, at last, the furious energy of his experiences flowed through his fingertips in a mad rush, pealing forth on a makeshift scroll that he laboriously taped together. The On the Road scroll has since become literary legend, and now Burning Furiously Beautiful sets the record straight, uncovering, among other things, the true story behind one of America’s greatest novels.

With unprecedented access to Kerouac’s journals and letters, Burning Furiously Beautiful explores the real lives of the key characters of the novel—Sal Paradise, Dean Moriarty, Carlo Marx, Old Bull Hubbard, Camille, Marylou, and others. Ride along on the real-life adventures through 1940s America that inspired On the Road. By tracing the evolution of Kerouac’s literary development and revealing his startlingly original writing style, this book explains how it took years—not weeks—to ultimately write the seemingly sporadic 1957 novel, On the Road. This revised and expanded edition of Jack Kerouac’s American Journey (2007) takes a closer look at the rise of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation.

Paul Maher Jr. is the author of the critically acclaimed biography Kerouac: His Life and Work and Empty Phantoms: Interviews and Encounters with Jack Kerouac.

Stephanie Nikolopoulos is an editor and writer based in New York City.

Maher and Nikolopoulos are currently co-authoring Visions of Kerouac for Rowman & Littlefield (2014).

Places to Write, Drink Coffee, and Buy Books in Grand Rapids

18 Apr

As most of you know, at the Festival of Faith & Writing I’ll be leading a Festival Circle called Holy Grounds: The Role of Place in Your Spiritual and Literary Life.  One of the things we’ll be discussing is the idea of how where you write can actually affect your writing.

We’ll be talking about writing in such places as quiet home offices, caffeine-fueled coffeehouses, musty old libraries, in the serene beauty of nature, awe-inspiring churches, on the subway, in prison, and while you’re traveling.  Where do you like to write?

I’ll be providing those who registered for the Holy Grounds Festival Circle with a list of literary(-ish) places near Calvin College in Grand Rapids.  Places to relax, get inspiration, study Midwestern scenery and characters, and write.  A lot of us are traveling from out of state so I thought this list would be helpful.  There are plenty of places on campus to write and grab a cup of coffee, and the Festival will probably keep everyone busy enough that they won’t need this list, but sometimes it’s nice to break free from the bubble and see something outside the Festival grounds.  This list may also be helpful to writers who live in the area and are looking for a change of scenery from where they normally write.  I haven’t actually been to any of these places, so tread carefully!  Haha.  If you’re a Michigan writer, tell us your recommended writing places, coffee shops, bookstores, and literary havens.

Literary(-ish) places in Grand Rapids:

Ladies Literary Club (now a performing arts center)

61 Sheldon Blvd SE

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

(616) 459-6322

 

Bookstores in Grand Rapids

Argos Book Shop – Grand Rapids’ Oldest and Largest Used Book Shop!

1405 Robinson Rd SE; Grand Rapids, MI 49506-1722
616-454-0111

argos@argosbooks.com

Business Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10am to 6pm; Sunday: Noon to 3:00 pm


Family Christian Bookstores

3343 Alpine Ave. NW, #A; Grand Rapids, MI

 616-784-7179

 

Literary Life Bookstore & More

758 Wealthy Street SE (the southwest corner of Wealthy and Eastern); Grand Rapids, MI

Business Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10am to 8pm; Sunday closed

 

Schuler Books & MusicCelebrating 30 years as your local, independent bookstore!
2660 28th Street SE; Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-942-2561
info@schulerbooks.com
bookgroupsgr@schulerbooks.com
Manager: Tim@schulerbooks.com

Business Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9am to 10pm; Sunday: 10am to 7pm

 

Schuler Books & Music
40 Fountain N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Phone: 616-459-7750
Promotions: Emily@schulerbooks.com
Manager: Neil@schulerbooks.com

Business Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 9am to 6pm; Thursday and Friday: 9am to 8pm; Saturday and Sunday: 11am to 5pm

 

Coffeehouses in Grand Rapids

76 Coffee

1507 Wealthy St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

616-301-2226

 

Ferris Coffee & Nut

227 Winter Avenue NW; Grand Rapids, MI 49504

616-459-6257

 

Rowster New American Coffee

632 Wealthy Street, SE; Grand Rapids, MI 49503

(616) 780-7777

info@newamericancoffee.com
Business Hours: Monday to Friday: 7am – 7pm; Saturday: 9am – 5pm; Sunday: 11am – 3pm.


West Coast Coffee

55 Monroe Center NW; Grand Rapids MI 49503

Business Hours: Monday to Friday: 6:30am – 5:00pm; Saturday: 9am to 5pm; Sundays: closed

  

Clip: Coffee and Portraiture and the Associations We Make

27 Dec

Associations are revealing.  This morning, as I was drinking a cup of horrid office coffee, my brain leapt from the specific brand and flavor of coffee my mom drank when I was growing up to a seemingly unrelated bit of biographical information about a photographer I’d researched while working on a blog post on his efforts to Save the Whales.  The photographer is Louie Psihoyos, the film director of The Cove, the Oscar Award-winning feature documentary that uncovers the horrifying mass slaughter of dolphins.  Psihoyos is from the Midwest, as is my mom (he was born in Iowa, my mom in Minnesota), and his immigrant parent came from the Peloponnesus, the same region of Greece my dad grew up in and where both of my parents now live.  That wasn’t the association I made this morning, though.  Instead, I was recalling that I myself had recently taken a photograph of my coffeemaker and a bag of hazelnut Eight O’Clock Coffee, while photographing some other food in my kitchen, and that I always associate hazelnut Eight O’Clock Coffee with my mom.  From there, I remembered I’d recently read about a photographer who’d photographed people with their possessions.  At first I didn’t even remember that the photographer was Psihoyos.  As I started to write the blog post about how I associate coffee with my mom, I kept thinking about the significance of Psihoyos photographing people with their possessions and what the objects we’re associated with impart about our identity.

Read the rest of the article on Burnside Writers Collective.

Gift Guide: For the Swede or Lover of Swedish Culture

21 Dec

With Santa living in the Lapland (the Finnish side), give a gift from Scandinavia is a wonderful way to make Christmas festive!  Here are a couple ideas from Sweden or inspired by Sweden.  If anyone knows any authentic Sami vendors, please add them in the comments section.

 

 For the person who loves Swedish crime literature:::

 

The Millennium Trilogy Series (starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) by Stieg Larsson

 

 

 

 

 

The Inspector Van Veeteren Series (starting with The Mind’s Eye) by Hakan Nesser

 

 

 

 

 

The Kurt Wallander Series (starting with Faceless Killers) by Henning Mankell

 

 

 

 

 

The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Box 21 by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom

 

 

 

 

 

Red Wolf by Liza Marklund

 

 

 

 

Bonus tip! – If you can afford it, give the whole set!  If you’re not sure the person will like the book, you may want to give one of the books plus a gift card to their favorite bookstore.  You can also accompany the book with a coffee mug and Swedish coffee, a book lamp, or a cozy blanket from Swedish chain IKEA.

 

Gift ideas for the Swedish food lover:::

 

Swedish Breads and Pastries by Jan Hedh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet and Savory Swedish Baking by Leila Lindholm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hash by Torgny Lindgren

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swedish coffee basket by Anderson Butik

Coffee and sweets gift box by Anderson Butik

Swedish pancake basket by Anderson Butik

Bonus tip! – Select a coffee and food product that naturally go together and give them as a pair.  The gift baskets make shopping and wrapping easier!

Gifts for the Swedish home:::

Swedish table prayer tile

Iron candle holder with hearts

Iron candle holder with wild horses

Swedish blessing

Algfamilj tea towel

Bonus tip! – A gift card to IKEA would go nicely with any of these.  A lovely handwritten message or something that is personal and has sentimental value is also nice to give with gifts for the home.

 

Gifts for people on the go:::

Carrie Swedish lace bicycle basket

A Volvo

Bonus tip! – A nice key chain would go well with either of these.

 

God Jul! Merry Christmas!