Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Cup of Tea and a Book

I came across a quote today, and I wish I knew who said it.

"The secret to a well balanced life is a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other."

When I thought about it, I realized that maybe the author of this quote wasn't simply referring to a flavored hot drink and some paper threaded together. I came up with my own interpretation of tea and a book and couldn't agree more with this quote.

Let's start with the latter. Every time I look up advice from writers (or really, any inspiring, intelligent person), they always make sure to emphasize the importance of reading. How else would you learn to write in such a beautiful way without learning from others who have published? I never quite grasped this fully until I was assigned to read The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker. I was whole heartedly inspired by Baker's style, and I believe it has impacted the way I approach stories that I write in a significant way.

I'm sorry. I'm babbling a little bit. The point I am trying to make is that books are the truest representation of intelligence. One of the smartest people I know goes to the library every two weeks and checks out four books to read in those two weeks. I believe that reading so much is a significant reason as to why she is so intelligent. We live in a world where ignorance has become more and more of a person's choice because of how easy it is to grasp at least a small bit of information.

"We are really as blind as we want to be." - Maya Angelou

She's right. I believe that learning is so important and so did the author of this quote. A book in one hand will take you miles in life. Whether that book is a mystery fiction or a biology textbook, read it cover to cover and then find something new. You can't just read the same book over and over again and expect to know everything about the world.

Now let's address tea. I am perpetually grateful for the relaxed and go-with-the-flow characteristics that I have received from my father. I realized that very few are blessed with such qualities. With this, I have come to appreciate and acknowledge the importance of slowing down. Tea is a great representation of this. With tea, you are taught to not gulp it down in heaves like coffee. You are told to take small sips and savor its calming effects through your body.

I can truthfully say that every time I have had the pleasure of sipping on a hot cup of tea, whether it was by myself or with a friend, it has always been a lovely and relaxed experience. Even if it is three in the morning and I am having a serious discussion with someone while two of my friends are asleep on the floor in the other room after a night of drinking, the tea gave this comfort that everything was okay. It wasn't a comfort of ignorance, but more of hope. It forced me to take a second and to breath. I consider this a very crucial part of my life and for anyone's life. If God rested on the seventh day, I think we deserve a little rest every once and a while.

Drinking tea brings a clarity to life that we so desperately need.

So if you're at a loss or maybe you know exactly where you are going, remember to live your life as the unknown author puts it: with "a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other."

Molly Steckler