In my kitchen there are two kinds of coffee pots. Four, actually, but I never use the Moccamaster Jesse and I bought in San Juan, or the French press we bought at IKEA.
The Nespresso is used first. I drink a shot of espresso while I read and journal about a poem. These last few months, I’ve been reading Jeanne Murray Walker’s book of sonnets called Pilgrim, You Find the Path by Walking.
Later I will use my large coffee pot, the Japanese one Jesse bought me for Mother’s Day a few years ago. I make three mugs with whole beans, and on writing days I will take thirty minutes to drink one mug at a time. That will give me ninety minutes of writing time. On the days I work I fill a thermos to take with me and sip while I sit next to little friends and help them with their words.
We have a thick wooden cutting board I use everyday to cut fruit and vegetables. When I’m not using it, I lean the board against the kitchen wall because I saw a picture in HGTV Magazine with a wooden cutting board against a kitchen wall, and I liked the way it looked. I’m always trying to make my house look like an HGTV magazine. I have an incredibly long way to go.
We have a cast iron skillet I use almost everyday to fry eggs. Jesse bought it when he first moved to Ann Arbor. He moved alone, so he could start his job and so that the girls and I could finish the school year. In his apartment was a NOAA mug he was given from work, a lawn chair, air mattress, a fork, a spoon, a knife, and the cast iron skillet. “You can make just about anything in it!” he proclaimed to me on the phone one evening during our many long distance calls, both of us equally excited about what life would be like in Ann Arbor and also about everything and everyone we’d need to say goodbye to in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia.
It is the cutting board and the skillet that make me want to write every morning. Perhaps this is because the Nespresso and the poetry get my blood flowing, but all sorts of thoughts and ideas bubble up from a pat of butter sizzling in the skillet. All sorts of stories come from taking inventory of what I have and then writing from it.
This week, stand in your kitchen and take inventory of what you have. Then write a poem about it.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here’s one from Sandra we enjoyed.
The Sheet Cookie
Dough globs gathered into
one chocolatey rectangular sheet
glistening with a measure of salt
that should have been sugar.
Daughter Abby and her friend Alicia
cooked it up one bored afternoon,
the original sweet and salty,
or mostly salty and a little sweet,
chipped in pieces from the pan
Dad ate it all.
I helped some.
Photo by Yann Coeuru Creative Commons, via Flickr. Post by Callie Feyen.
Browse more poetry prompts
A Writer’s Dream Book
“Callie Feyen has such a knack for telling personal stories that transcend her own life. In my years in publishing, I’ve seen how hard that is—but she makes it seem effortless, and her book is such a pleasure. It’s funny, it’s warm, it’s enlightening. Callie writes about two of the most important things in life—books and clothes—in utterly delightful and truly moving ways. I’m impressed by how non-gimmicky and fresh her writing is. I love this book.”
—Sarah Smith, Executive Editor Prevention magazine; former Executive Editor Redbook magazine
- Poetry Prompt: Monarch Butterfly Sleepy Transformation - June 5, 2023
- Poetry Prompt: How To Write A French Poem - May 15, 2023
- Poetry Prompt: Create by Feel - May 8, 2023
Sandra Heska King says
“I’m always trying to make my house look like an HGTV magazine. I have an incredibly long way to go.” Ha. I want my house to look like Country Living–even though Coastal Living would make more sense. The world needs a magazine called Country-Coastal Living.
Thanks for sharing my poem. 🙂
As for my kitchen… My words could be long.
We were delighted to see the red and blue, heavy
blown glass rooster “gift” left for us on move-in
until we discovered
it roosted on an egg-shaped hole
in the counter’s formica that had been
camouflaged with a candy dish during staging.
Well, that was depressing.
Today my mother-in-law’s amber-gold glass
hen-on-her-nest vintage candy dish nests atop
that grayed depression.
Even more depressing,
at least for some,
the dish remains empty
in spite of the fact my daughter told her girls
“that dish always holds M&Ms.”
The day granite (or quartz)
makes all things new
my daughter will inherit that chicken.
I could continue all along that counter and the one parallel to it. But I’ll stop here and save more words for another day. 🙂
L.L. Barkat says
You make me smile. 🙂
I think instead of trying to make your house look like an HGTV magazine, you might consider making it Callie’s Cool Place and coordinate it with your clothes. Or maybe turn it into a writer’s lair, and decorate like your favorite authors from the past or stories you love. (What would a Hobbit’s kitchen look like, for instance? I’d love to see that. I’d love to cook there, or visit there. 🙂
Maybe that’s the thing that’s occurring to me here: is there a way to craft our own story in/through our homes? What’s our personal narrative, or what would we like it to be?
(Sorry, I know we were directed to write a poem, but I got inspired thinking about how we live, and how that might be a lot less pressured and a lot more intriguing if we created the narrative instead of advertisers and outside designers. 🙂
I started doing that with my yard this year. I’ve long thought I wanted to live in “a secret garden” (i love that book!), so this year I started rewilding both the back and front yards. It is working, and I love it. And? Unprompted, somebody who visited this past summer even told me she thought my house felt like it was nestled in a secret garden. 🙂 )
Bethany R. says
Obviously, I’m loving the reference to a Hobbit kitchen. 🙂 And this:
“Maybe that’s the thing that’s occurring to me here: is there a way to craft our own story in/through our homes? What’s our personal narrative, or what would we like it to be?”
Thank you for this post, Callie, it’s fun to think of what inspires us in our homes and why. 🙂
L.L. Barkat says
Today, Sonia was telling me she’d like to own only things she loves and that match who she is. (She has a lovely water bottle that someone gave her that she realized is a perfect match for who she is, and this inspired deeper thinking on the subject.)
Not sure what narrative that is. Something old-fashioned I think. Something lovely. (Maybe that goes with Maureen’s Little Women observation. Maybe Sonia is one of the sisters.)
Jody Collins says
well this was fun! thank you for the prompt, Callie, and the inspiration, coffee-wise.
First Things-an A.M. Inventory
Does a light switch count as a thing to be
counted? Morning’s first touch is the ‘on’
that brings light to amber-colored floor
and almost-yellow walls. Next is the
(obvious) electric tea kettle, empty
(as always) awaiting its early morning
refill. Held under the faucet, water
pours in as I glance at the fill line
etched on the edge. Is water a ‘thing’
I wonder, vanishing as it does down
drains, evaporating into steam or
vaporizing via clouds. Given its
characteristic addition to coffee grounds
rendering a hot beverage I’ll enjoy in
these morning moments, I’d say
water is clearly a thing to be counted
here in my kitchen.
I mark its invisible ness in the early dawn
and asterisk my entry.
Light and water. They definitely count.
I love your reflection on light and water and what counts in early morning in your kitchen:)
Yesterday, on my drive home from NC I stopped to get a chai tea. The barista asked if I wanted water in it. This question I’ve never been asked before at a coffee house. I’ve been asked “Do you want whole or 2% milk?” or “Do you want any toppings?” but never if I wanted water in my chai tea latte.
I replied, “I thought chai tea was made with milk.” to which he said something about water bringing out more of the chai flavor. I said something like, that’s a new one on me. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw the other barista making a sour face and shaking her head like “I don’t know what he’s talking about.” So, I just said, “Sure.” knowing that she would make it my way and the guy taking the order wasn’t any the wiser;)
Jody Collins says
Thank you Katie for your kind words and sharing this snippet about water.
And aren’t you grateful that baristas who are in the know are in the know? I’m a tall flat white drinker myself. 🙂