Coffee House “Church” – The Sunday Trigger

In their book, “What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers,” Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter offer a brief exercise called: Sunday: Discovering Emotional Triggers. 

They wrote that “most people feel at loose ends on this day—even those who spend time in church . . . a lot of us tend to overdo it – overeat, oversleep, overreact. Sundays bring out the worst in people . . . Things happen on Sunday that wouldn’t happen on weekdays. So if you want to examine domestic dynamics close up (this being offered as a fiction-writing experiment for your characters), set some action on a Sunday and let her rip,” their writing prompt offers. They suggest you title this writing prompt, “Sunday”—and write 550 words, letting this Sunday theme serve as the trigger word for the exercise. 

For a period of time, a friend and I met at our favorite coffee shop every Sunday morning to write. We were more into journaling practice instead of fiction writing practice at the time, however, and I dubbed our weekly sessions: Coffee House Church. 

I agree with the two ladies; Sunday writing, fictional or not, is emotional. I unearthed the following bits from one of our sessions: 

Last night Porch Kitty showed up in the glider and seemed to be enjoying himself. He stayed longer this time than he usually does if he spies me peeking out the window at him. His wide, wide eyes always make me feel so bad. I always wonder what it is that made him so fearful. 

I didn’t want to him to get up and leave, but he did as soon as he saw me, and I hated that I’d disturbed him. He is welcome; he can stay as long as he wants, and I wish I could find a way to convey that to him, but no doubt it is too late. Whether he is simply feral—or was abused—the damage appears set in stone. Damn, damn and damn. Always the sad again. 

On the drive over this morning I saw the neatest critter. Sitting all alone in the middle of a vacant lot full of grasses, was a red fox. He was sitting there looking around as if contemplating his choices. Well, that’s what my imagined take on it was. And guess what my first thoughts for him were? Concern; worry on whether he’ll live through this day and not get hit by some car; that he was not already hurt and sitting where he was because of it. I will be watching for him on my way back home— 

The party last night was all that I’d wanted it to be. Hard work and Intent. Pays off. Always. One way or the other. Very satisfying. Everything is about Intent. That is the word to focus on: in prayer—in work—in play—even nothingness. It’s like intent takes you to the core—your core—and therein lies all the energy. Maybe you define it, but I doubt you can control it. Or—should I say—control the result. The expectation vs. the result. Can be a dangerous combination if not kept in a proper realm of perspective. 

Sooo—late last night that violence of nature fight you heard out in the trees . . . raccoons fighting most likely. The cry of a life taken so another can live. I hate that. Period. I can’t change that reaction. Having one’s cake and eating it, too? What a god-forsaken statement! Could be the ultimate writing theme, when you think about it. Ish. 

The red fox will be okay today. 

He will need to eat; you hope he is able to. You hope it is over quick. 

Today’s Gratitudes: 

A friend in a coffee shop

Hot chai

The foaming sound of a coffee machine

Acoustical guitar music

Quiet patrons

The sun

Someone at home

Elbow braces—and help to put them on

A cat who insists on saying good morning each day

In defense of the emotional Sunday blood-letting sessions, I don’t think I was any worse for the wear. It felt like I cleaned the white board for Monday. 

Give it a whirl; fiction or non-fiction. See what you think.

Reading and drinking your way through summer

     You’d have to be living under a very, very, very large rock to not know that we here on the mainland are being boiled alive in our skins this summer. 

     Yesterday I took the day off. I laid around and read a fairly lite novel the whole of the day; finished it late last night. It helped take my mind off the ongoing blast from hell taking place outdoors and my continual moping and griping over shut windows and stale A/C’d air on top of checking in with the news to see how the Financial Circus in Washington DC was, or was not, moving along.

     It’s been way too long since I’ve taken such a day, and I have to tell you: it was the thing to do. The desire to bite the back end out of a charging grizzly bear was absent when I woke up this morning; this being a reeeeeally good thing. 

     I read one of the novels I bought on the after-Christmas sales last January: Gil McNeil’s – the beach street knitting society and yarn club. Booker Prize fiction it is not, but as I love anything that puts me into a small English village I was able to hang with it and it made for good fast entertainment. If you are offended by the f-bomb, or are British and shun the b-bomb word they use in place of our American f-bomb you might want to pass on this one. The way the protagonist relies on these words in her private thoughts as she continually gets pulled into doing things she doesn’t have time for, made her seem—well . . . maybe a tad bit frustrating at times. But it’s fiction; I got over it. 

     I’m offering you several marvelous cold drink recipes here today. When it’s this hot, we need something to comfort our misery. Sipping one of these and reading some lite fiction might be just the ticket for a break from whatever it is that is currently driving you up a wall. 

     Tonight I start on something completely different; The Professor’s House by Willa Cather. I love good introspective writing, and I have a feeling Willa will not let me down. I’m probably going to need a stiff drink while I read as the documentary I watched about her life suggested she was dealing with her own mortality as she wrote this book. 

     Hope you treat yourself to some of these delectable recipes.

Raspberry Lemonade

Makes 6 servings


2 cups (about 10 ounces) raspberries, rinsed

8 cups water

Juice of 4 lemons

½ cup of sugar, or to taste 

Mash the raspberries in a medium-mesh strainer with the back of a spoon until all the pulp has passed through, leaving the seeds. Combine the raspberry pulp with water and the remaining ingredients. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add more sugar or lemon juice, if you desire. Serve immediately or chill for up to 2 days. Always stir before serving.

Lemon Milk Shakes

In a covered electric blender, and on low speed, blend:

3 cups milk

1 – 3-3/4 oz pkg. instant lemon pudding mix

½ pint vanilla ice cream  

Blend this until mixture is frothy.

Makes four 8 oz. servings 

Iced Tea Slush 

Boil 8 tea bags in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes 


2 cans large frozen lemonade

2 cans small frozen orange juice

14 cups boiling water

2 cups bourbon or vodka (I fail to see why rum wouldn’t work, too!) 

Freeze and then thaw to a slush before serving.

Skip and Go Nakeds 

Combine the following in a blender: 

1 6 oz can lemonade concentrate

6 oz. of vodka

6 oz. of beer (not dark)

6-7 ice cubes. 

Blend it well and enjoy! 

Strawberry Spritzer 

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen strawberries, thawed

1 bottle white wine, chilled

14 oz. soda water, chilled

Fresh strawberries for garnish

Place undrained strawberries in a blender, cover and blend until smooth In a large glass pitcher, combine blended strawberries with win and soda water. Pour into wine glasses and garnish each with fresh strawberry. 

Daiquiri Punch


1 6 oz. can of limeade

6 oz. rum

12 oz. water

1-1/2 cans of Squirt soda pop

Combine and serve on ice.

                   Blended Peach Slush

1 6 oz. can pink or regular lemonade concentrate

6 oz. vodka

2 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced.

10 ice cubes 

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until well-mixed. Serve immediately in stemmed wine glasses. 

Of course you can make this slush without the vodka . . . why, I don’t know, but you can if you feel you must. :-p