Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On John Updike and Coffee Mugs

"[T]hese mugs, with their painted parrots and red-and-green stripes, have that quality pets do, of sharing your innermost domestic existence, so that you come gracefully home to them from a venture into human society. They give you back yourself after others have dirtied and addled it."
I was reading John Updike's Seek My Face before the venerable author died yesterday (a friend suggested I stop reading living authors on the chance that I am a bad-luck charm or something), and so it seems appropriate to post the above quote, which is from the novel and which I really liked (I also am really liking the novel).  
It may just be because I am a coffee drinker addict, but the quote rang true to me. Mugs do seem more sentimental than kitschy to me—there is something calming not only about the hot, dark, addictive liquid I put in them, but about the mugs themselves.
Perhaps it's because the mugs make me smile because they come with memories of the people who gave them to me and why or of where they are from. The mugs I use most frequently (all gifts) are: a Starbucks mug; one that says, "Peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart"; a cool one that looks black but shows photos when you pour in hot water. When I'm home, I use a Columbia Mom mug that is totally rubbed off so that you cannot even tell what it once said. I tell my mother it's a segulah that my kids should go to Columbia.
I'm not sure what any of this says about me other than that I am easy to buy gifts for—buy me a coffee mug and you're set.


At 1/28/09, 4:08 PM, Blogger K said...

also, you make fantastic travel mugs. i use it nearly every day.


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