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Drama Teens & Young Adult Funny

Real writers drink tea. 

I want to be a real writer, not just someone who pens as a pastime. So I wake up at writer’s-time: 7:00am, when the sun is bruising a soft periwinkle. The birds are chiming on the utility power lines and I know my body will be destroyed by this change to my sleep schedule. However, we writers make sacrifices all the time. 

I stay in my maroon sweatpants, overly large tank top, and mismatched socks. Fitting my glasses to my nose, I type “how to make tea” into the blinking Google search bar. Another note: real writers never capitalize unless it is completely necessary. I click on the first website and skim through. While I’m reading, I tie my hair into a messy bun and crack my knuckles. Each pop sound wakes me up and reminds me that today can’t be like any other day. 

This website is formatted as a numbered list, something I should hate as a writer. Writers are complex and tangled and confused and chaotic—almost every minute of their lives. Writers are loose leaf tea, I think, and realize I’ve crafted my first metaphor of the day. I smile proudly and bound over to the kitchen. 

A pot filled with half a gallon of babbling water is set on “high” above my old stove, and it takes a few minutes before all the flames click on and dance a slow, tangerine tango. I stoop over the pot for a few seconds, letting myself breathe in the steam and giggling when my glasses fog like a normal San Franciscan day. This moment is not only for the writer inside me but also the person, who wishes they were still asleep. 

I hear a raucous bark before my French bulldog, Hamlet, comes bounding in. He wears a pink collar and a pissed-off expression, if that’s even possible for a four-year-old dog. He’s probably vexed that I woke him up before 9:30am. Writers must have pets, it’s one of the most important rules. Especially pets with quirky names that in some way match their personality: Hamlet is melancholy and cynical, just like . . . dog Hamlet. But he’s got some upsides, like when you feed him pancakes and when he kills his Uncle Claudius. 

Another writer-rule: you’ve got to know your Shakespeare. And other authors, of course, and lines from great novels. Being a writer is more than writing. 

Hamlet stomps over to his bowl and growls at it, his eyes narrowing into little doggy-slits. I sigh and pick up his bowl to fill it with disgusting coffee-colored kibble. Oh, coffee. I’d kill for a good cup of coffee right now. He gobbles down his food aggressively fast and I try to ignore him when he whines for more. After all, the water is almost boiling. 

Almost boiling is what the tea website calls for so I collapse into my desk chair to re-read the directions. Scoop 3-4 tablespoons of loose leaf into the water. It sounds easy enough. I wrench open the little container I picked up at Whole Foods yesterday and take a whiff of the leaves inside. It’s Lemon Ginger Tea, and it smells citrus-y enough. Like fireplaces after the fires and 50¢ lemonade stands run by kids just trying to get by. 

Additionally, writers think, speak, and write in their own certain rhythm. My rhythm seems to be run-on sentences and odd descriptions that make you question yourself, but I don’t mind it. It’s like having my voice transfer onto the page to make my pen-voice. It took me a while to master it, but every real writer must have one. 

I carefully measure out four spoonfuls of tea leaves and pour them into the water. The next step calls for steeping. What’s steeping? I’ve already poured in the tea so I quickly open a new tab in Safari and type it in. Steeping means to soak, but I wish I hadn’t found the definition because part of being a writer is living on the edge. 

While I wait the four minutes of steeping, I notice Hamlet has sunk onto my wooden floors, asleep, and demonstrating the deepest snoring, just as loud as my broken HVAC system that spits cold air into my apartment on winter nights. 

I decide to, in this small break, try to write. I sit at my desk, shut my computer, and push it aside. Real writers always write by hand, and then transfer it into their device. My favorite pen sits regally in a plastic Solo cup on my desk, and I take it into my right hand. Writers should be ambidextrous, but I’m working on that right now. I take some lined, wisdom-tooth white paper from my desk drawer and put pen to paper. 

My favorite pen is a sleek Pilot pen that produces a trail of royal purple ink. I got it at Office Depot for $7.99, not exactly a deal. However, it helps me write. Every writer has a favorite pen that guides them through the times of ’block. 

I’m thinking: what should I write? Writers’ stories are meant to change the world—no pressure there. That’s why they get all the fancy degrees from fancy colleges and whatnot. But right now I can literally write anything . . . my mind can finally wander . . . 

Something is not working. I’ve written Once upon a time three times now. In my cloud of boredom, I scribble little purple hearts and stars on my wrist and palm of my hand. Writers’ hands can never be clean. They’ve always got a to-do list or doodle somewhere, just waiting for someone to see it. When I fiddle with my pen, I see the 7:15am-kitten’s-nose-pink morning light reflecting off of it. There, I think, that’s it. Writers can only go on writing sprees when it’s completely dark and no one is bothering them. Writers must be hermits. 

I stand quickly, hurrying over to the one big window that spies on the street below. I tug on the rope to drop the blinds, and suddenly my one-room apartment is blanketed in a thick, heavy graphite gray. It’s silent for a second. Then, I remember: tea, steeping. Oops—the four minutes are probably up. I stride back over to my desk and log into my computer. The screen flashes on and shows me those last two steps. It says to pour the tea through a strainer and into a jug. What jug? I know I have a strainer, but what jug? 

Writers must ask lots of questions. I find a baking bowl and set my small metal strainer over it. The handle of the pot is warm but I grab it anyway and force the water and tea leaves through the strainer. What comes out is a brownish liquid, like caramel corn and young brunettes. I stare warily at the big bowl and go back to my computer. 

Mix a few scoops of sugar if sweetness is desired. I do desire sweetness, like every real writer should, so I scoop just a little more than the recipe requires. I take a rusting spoon from the kitchen drawer and mix until my arm gets tired. 

When I’m done, I take a step back and admire my handiwork. There’s intense water vapor coming from the bowl, which probably isn’t heat-safe, so I wrap my hands in towels and lift the tea into the refrigerator. Just to cool down for a minute, I think. 

I head towards my computer and decide to browse through some possible literary contests I could enter. I make the filter “no submission fee,” because who really has that sort of money to burn? Not me, and not other writers. I know I’ve got to build up my name, so I continue scanning. Many contests have prize money, and oh, it’s so tempting. Writers don’t focus on the money, though. They focus on the writing. 

It’s only the glow of my computer that illuminates my face and the objects around me. I glance up, distracted, my eyes landing on dozed-off Hamlet and the dishes from last night that I didn’t wash. All of the sudden, I feel so . . . lonely. That’s another sacrifice for becoming a real writer: being alone. Most of the time. 

Slowly but surely, I make my way out of the chair and to the fridge. There, the Lemon Ginger tea waits, still reasonably hot with ghostly mist hovering above it. I remove it and retrieve a clean-ish mug from my tiny dishwasher. The tea smells nice as it cascades into the cup. I grip the handle tightly, maneuvering the tea over to my desk so it won’t spill. 

I shut my computer and move it aside, making room for my favorite pen and some paper in case I have an epiphany after tasting the “holy” drink. All right, I think defeatedly, tea time

The liquid slides over my lips and makes me inhale sharply from the temperature. I gulp it down real fast so I don’t have to taste it but it lingers in my mouth. I want to gag, it’s too sweet with lumps of sugar resurfacing in each sip and has a big kick from the ginger. And then the citrus mixed into it all—it’s like a bowl of pot-bellied burps and lemons on the supermarket floor. And lots of sugar. Yuck

My face must be contorted into an insanely twisted expression because Hamlet’s eyes pop open and stare at me. I gurgle and dash over to the sink, not bothering to clean the tea I spill on the rug. The mug is emptied and I’m searching under the couch for my dog’s stupid little leash. C’mon, c’mon, I’m thinking, reaching my hand under all the furniture. Hamlet loves to hide his leash so we don’t have to go on walks. Every writer’s got to go through a bit of trouble, right? 

When I find it, I clip it to his pink collar and shove my feet into my flip-flops. While I’m opening the door, I wonder if I’ll ever take this bad situation and laugh about it or write about it in the future like every writer should. Probably not, I tell myself. 

Hamlet, a bit displeased, waddles out the door. C’mon, Hamlet, I think enthusiastically, hoping he can hear me, we’re going to Starbucks. 

January 09, 2022 22:25

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49 comments

Mia S
21:21 Jan 14, 2022

I love that you wrote a story about writing. As a writer, this feels super relatable. I feel like there's this whole idea of being a "real" writer who drinks tea and writes in fancy pen and somehow exists in a world where it's always raining, and while that's all well and good, I think that being a "real" writer really just means writing as much as you can. But I don't have to tell you that—you would know all about being a real writer, seeing as you're totally one yourself :) All in all, another great story! So glad you're posting again.

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Scout Tahoe
04:10 Jan 15, 2022

❤️ Thank you so much, Mia. I am proud of this because I want to share the message that anyone can be a writer and they don’t have to be or act a certain way.

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22:35 Jan 12, 2022

I really, really love this. I wish I had written it! I just love all the references to what real writers do, because I think in many aspects of life we expect that if we do what we're supposed to, we'll become what we want to, rather than just following our own path and method. My favorite line was about the dog, "and when he kills Uncle Claudius."

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Scout Tahoe
22:57 Jan 12, 2022

Thank you, Rachel. I'm glad someone pointed the line out because I find it quite funny too. :))

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Scout Tahoe
01:14 Jan 13, 2022

By the way, do you have any title ideas (or just choosing from my list)?

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01:20 Jan 13, 2022

Real Writers Drink Tea. I don't know. I'm terrible with titles.

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01:20 Jan 13, 2022

I just wrote that without realizing it's your opening line. Now I like it even better, haha.

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Scout Tahoe
01:25 Jan 13, 2022

Rachel - you're great with titles because your most recent one is pretty impressive. 😉 Also, thank you! I shall go back to my list and reread them again.

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K. Antonio
21:31 Jan 16, 2022

"So I wake up at writer's time: 7:00am...." why do I wake up at 5am to write then? xD. By 7am I'm already a teacher and not a writer anymore. *GASP* I don't have pets. 😫 I also know nothing of Shakespeare, haven't read Romeo and Juliet since middle school. I enjoyed the sense of humor in the story, because it does help push the story a long, making it funny while mocking certain writer stereotypes was a nice way to maneuver around the prompt. I don't know what was the ending before, but seeing as Abby has mentioned that it's changed ...

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Scout Tahoe
01:28 Jan 17, 2022

K., it is so great to hear from you! I don’t wake up at 7am either, haha. I actually also wake up at 5. The other ending was when the character ended at “tea time.” I’m glad you like the new ending. Yes, I purposefully wrote it without a ton of descriptions because I wanted to hint at the fact that this writer wasn’t the best and couldn’t do all the “showy” stuff. I can see how making it showy would have made it funnier, and I would have added descriptions if I could, but while I was writing this I didn’t intend for it to be funny. It tu...

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Ernie Olson
15:37 Jan 15, 2022

Hi Scout. How about "Writers Must" for your title? I read your story out loud, and my wife couldn't stop laughing. Honestly, I had to take a moment or two myself. I suggested the title because when I finished reading your little tale I thought 'Writers must be good at inspiring emotion in others', and you are a writer ... a good one. Seriously, sentence structure and length are concise. Each one is descriptive, without being overly so. Humor, intrigue, suspense and drama too! Thanks for sharing.

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Scout Tahoe
19:07 Jan 15, 2022

Thank you so much, Ernie! This comment made my day. I’m still deciding on a title but I love your idea so I’ll add it to my list. :)

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17:26 Jan 10, 2022

Hi Scout! This made me smile throughout. You've capture the gorgeous solitary agony of writing so well! The references to Shakespeare and Hamlet charmed me. (You know how I am about those two...) This is my favorite line, but it calls out for a stronger verb: "Writers are loose leaf tea, I think, and realize I’ve made [crafted? conjured?] my first metaphor of the day." The last paragraph doesn't do it for me. This builds so nicely and enfolds the prompt so cleverly -- I was waiting for a big payoff. I almost wanted to see the MC toss the te...

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Scout Tahoe
00:00 Jan 11, 2022

I specifically included Shakespeare as a reference to you. :) I am changing that sentence right now... after I get off this stupid Zoom that I'm supposed to be paying attention to. Hmm I thought a lot about the last paragraph and concluded that I'd leave it a mystery. However, I've been re-reading it and it does seem incomplete. You sealed the deal, though. I will write the ending... after this Zoom. I just felt like having the character make their own decisions was so cliche. Do you know what I mean?

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00:29 Jan 11, 2022

Don't listen to me. You write you. You are an excellent writer and I cheer whatever ending you decide. The Hamlet stuff -- can't get enough. The answers to the universe are in that play :) Excited for you to be in the group next week. It's a great group of people!!

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Scout Tahoe
02:05 Jan 11, 2022

... I still don't know about the ending, though. I'll think about it... I just don't want my stories to end up with people being "okay" anymore. But I also don't want this story to be unfinished. I want to gather opinions, though, so what do you think? Also, title ideas? Sorry to ask so much of you. I've been in Hamlet 3 times now as Hamlet, Ophelia, and Hamlet again haha.

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Scout Tahoe
14:47 Jan 11, 2022

Can't wait to be in the group too!! (Also I wrote & posted the ending...)

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15:05 Jan 11, 2022

Title: "Coffee, Tea, or Hamlet?" I'm terrible at titles!! I really like the ending. Warms it up. A writer and a dog and a trip to Starbucks. Sounds like a perfect morning :)

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Scout Tahoe
22:29 Jan 09, 2022

Needs title ideas: - On Becoming A Writer - To Become A Writer: (current) - Writers Are People, Too (or Writers are people, too) - A Writer’s Craft - Writer 101 - The Little Things - Writing For Dummies - Write and Wrong (haha) - Insert Your Idea Here Happy tea-drinking!

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Tay Mor
14:08 Jan 18, 2022

I love this. It's relatable and hilarious. I love the protagonist's determination to be a bit pretentious, and then just giving the whole thing up at the end ahahaha. I chuckled throughout. Well done.

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Scout Tahoe
14:17 Jan 18, 2022

Thank you so much!

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Delia Tomkus
21:51 Jan 17, 2022

I love the quote "Being a writer is more than writing," so true

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Scout Tahoe
23:38 Jan 17, 2022

Ha it’s one of my favorites too. My old writing teacher said “to be a writer you must write” so that’s exactly what I’ll do. Thanks!

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Lorna Carruthers
09:11 Jan 17, 2022

This was great to read, I love how you express all the rules for living as a writer that people painfully hold themselves to. I think it is relatable to non-writers too, as we all live with our own personalised 'musts' 'shoulds' and 'ought tos' that restrict our lives in so many ways. Lovely work.

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Scout Tahoe
16:18 Jan 17, 2022

Thank you for stopping by, Lorna! I can totally relate to your comment.

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Lorna Carruthers
08:22 Jan 18, 2022

:)

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Tess Kohen
16:46 Jan 16, 2022

Hi, I was reading this to my family out loud and we all laughed and loved it. It was so amazing, I hope you win, but as you said writings not about the money. You should win because it's an amazing story and it's so well written, it has a side of laughter and seriousness. It's a joy to read! For name ideas what about I like "Writers Craft"

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Scout Tahoe
00:07 Jan 19, 2022

Thank you, Tess! I thought I responded to this comment but I guess it deleted. I love your title idea!

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Heather Mc Guire
14:37 Jan 16, 2022

Being a writer is more than writing. Great line... maybe a possible title? Great piece. Made me laugh, gave me such a clear picture of your morning, and so relatable. Loved it!

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Scout Tahoe
15:33 Jan 16, 2022

Heather, I really like that title idea so I'm going to add it to my list. I want to decide on a title by Wednesday (because even though the contest is over I can still change the title). Thank you so much for reading!

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Heather Mc Guire
14:36 Jan 17, 2022

Looking forward to what you decide! :)

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Achor .
06:56 Jan 16, 2022

My fav. (excuse me) my favorite part was, "doggy-slitts". that and the part about the writer "living on the edge". A fantastic snippet of what EVERY (it's needed here) writer's day looks like.

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Scout Tahoe
15:31 Jan 16, 2022

Thank you so much, Achor, it was based off my own experiences.

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09:16 Jan 12, 2022

The old ending was okay but I think this is better. I, for one, will settle down for writing and tea and think otherwise and just go out instead. I like this piece because it feels like looking back at my reflection. It is just so powerful and real and honest and I love it. I find the character's indecision intriguing, made me want to read to the end. The story is good and I love it.

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Scout Tahoe
00:08 Jan 19, 2022

Thank you so much, Abi! My comments are being weird - I wrote a response but perhaps it deleted. I miss you . . . come to our doc soon!

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Dorsa S.
20:05 Jan 10, 2022

happy new year, scout! i really enjoyed this piece. i could relate to most parts of it as if it held a mirror towards me! the reclusive creative process is like no other. :) one of my favorite lines has to be, "It’s Lemon Ginger Tea, and it smells citrus-y enough. Like fireplaces after the fires and 50¢ lemonade stands run by kids just trying to get by." fireplaces and 50¢ lemonade are completely different things, but just by reading that, it made complete sense. here are some title ideas as well. - writing for dummies - sweet tooth - an ...

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Scout Tahoe
02:06 Jan 11, 2022

Agh!! Writing For Dummies is my absolute favorite. I love it and I love this comment. Thank you so much!!

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Calm Shark
04:30 Jan 10, 2022

I smiled all the way through this story! Like always another great story!

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Scout Tahoe
04:31 Jan 10, 2022

Thank you!

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R. K.
01:41 Jan 10, 2022

Hey, you! Happy New Year! 🥳Loved this! It's no coincidence that as a fellow writer (I'm leaning more towards poet these days ac), I internalize with this so deeply! It was like you peeked into my mind, the details about inky hands, lowercase morning scribbles, that sweet tooth. One nitpicky thing: "the 7:15am kitten’s nose pink light" --> I'm assuming you mean the early morning light? The kitten metaphor is AWESOME, but maybe add some dashes? - I thought it was a real kitten lol :) SUPERB job! We NEED to talk soon, catch my drift? ;)

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Scout Tahoe
01:47 Jan 10, 2022

RU RU RU WOW. Thank you so much and yes I already “talked” back if you know what I mean.

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R. K.
03:10 Jan 10, 2022

title ideas! - tea time - tea & ink (stains) - the little things - a writer's craft - writer 101 - sunrise scribbles - just my cup of tea - teacups and writing hiccups - guilty pleasures - that little bit of sweetness *uppercase/lowercase --> doesn't matter :)

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Scout Tahoe
03:40 Jan 10, 2022

Ru I love these and will add them to my list.

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Katie Kanning
22:36 Jan 22, 2022

Scout! I love this story. Like the many others in the land of your comments, I too relate. I'm wondering if I could read your story on my podcast, "Unpublished, not Unknown"? It's all about giving voice to indie authors' short stories and spreading their reach a bit further. You retain the credit and I find fun ways to promote you and your story. I'll credit you and link your profile in the show notes. People can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Youtube, and 5 other locations. If you're in, just go my website unpublishednotunknown.co...

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Colleen Pinner
17:41 Jan 20, 2022

Oh my gosh! Were you a fly on the wall in my little office? I hate tea and at my advanced age, my hands shake too bad to write with a pen. I do have the requisite dog (actually 2) and I often play Bookworm when I'm supposed to be writing. However, I still tell everyone I am a writer and have the piles of first drafts collecting dust to prove it. This was a fun read and a good wake up call to get busy. Thank you!!!

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Allyson Jamison
20:43 Jan 18, 2022

I read the title of this story and knew I had to read it! I must say, it lived up to its expectations. I found this whole story highly humorous and very relatable as a whole! Great job on it!

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Scout Tahoe
00:08 Jan 19, 2022

Allyson, thank you!

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17:33 Jan 18, 2022

Why does this feel so relatable! I love it! There’s so much personality and interest to your writing. First person point of view was a great choice! I can almost imagine I’m the speaker, preparing for a day or writing! Great work :)

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Scout Tahoe
00:08 Jan 19, 2022

I can relate to this story as well. Thanks, Katelin!

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