Beethoven, Gustav Mahler, Francis Bacon, and the legendary coffee drinker and author Honore de Balzac all could not begin to get their creative juices flowing without coffee. Balzac drank, on average, 50 cups of coffee per day or he could not write! He even wrote about how coffee was part of his daily morning ritual before he even picked up a pen and wrote anything:
“Coffee glides into one’s stomach and sets all of one’s mental processes in motion. One’s ideas advance in column of route like battalions of the Grande Armée…Were it not for coffee one could not write, which is to say one could not live.”
Johann Sebastian Bach actually wrote a short opera about his obsession with coffee entitled, “The Coffee Cantata”. In it, he tells the story of a young, energetic woman, named Aria, who loves coffee so much she pleads with her father, who is against her drinking the caffeinated devil, and tells him it is, “…more delicious than a thousand kisses.”
Benjamin Franklin hung out at coffee shops centuries before it was popular with millennials. He carried out political meetings, played chess, and even sold his own coffee beans! When he stayed in London, he instructed his sister to send all of his mail to one of his favorite coffee shops there where he would be doing all of his writing and other correspondence.
And if coffee alone doesn’t seem to give an author enough energy to get their creative juices flowing, think about Soren Kierkegaard who added thirty sugar cubes to each cup of coffee he drank.
Those are some seriously committed coffee-drinking authors!
A Lesser Vice
Caffeine is considered one of the “lesser” vices for authors compared to many who chose much more potent alternatives such as alcohol or Benzadrine for the authors Jack Kerouac and Jean Paul Satre.
The Atlantic Monthly published an article in June 2013 that debunked the idea that coffee had an adverse effect on creativity. It talks about the molecular makeup of caffeine and one of its main ingredients, cyclic AMP, which gives your body energy. Phosphodiesterase, an enzyme our body manufactures, breaks cyclic AMP down. Caffeine blocks this enzyme, thus allowing the cyclic AMP to stay around in our system even longer. Hence, more creative juices for a longer period of time the more caffeine we drink.
You can check out the entire article at: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/06/caffeine-for-the-more-creative-mind/277069/
Slight Drawback – Nothing that Can’t Be Fixed
If you follow this advice, and coffee becomes your author’s vice of choice, you will need to be extra diligent in your oral hygiene. Coffee’s “extra juices” also include more opportunities for your teeth to succumb to dental issues.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), flossing daily is one of the best ways to alleviate oral hygiene problems caused by excessive coffee consumption and tooth-decaying bacteria. Most dentists have found that people do not use the proper technique with string floss, so, they have found better results with water flossers. Water flossers can reach areas where tooth bristles can never reach. Water flossers also help remove plaque and food particles from under the gum line that brushes usually miss. I personally prefer a water flosser over airfloss and string floss.
The ADA also discusses how many of us are improperly brushing. They say that this specific part of our daily oral hygiene needs to be done twice daily, (morning and bedtime), and with the proper technique for the best deterrent to tooth decay. The motto of the ADA is “Two minutes, two times daily”.
A Perfect Pair
Authors and coffee have a history together. Some authorities have tried to disprove the creative element that coffee contains for a writer, but many great authors, passionate about coffee being the foundation of their creative juices, seem to count among them an overwhelmingly successful group of authorities as well. Who would argue with the coffee-driven content of Balzac or Beethoven? Would you?