Summer Hibernation, French Press Coffee, & My Learning Addiction

I’m not humble-bragging, I do have a severe learning addiction. If there is a system, a theory, an app, or a “life-hack,” out there, I need to investigate it.

Case in point: I own a Keurig, a traditional coffee machine, and a percolator. (The last is in the event the power goes out, or the world ends, and I need more coffee.) Still, yesterday, I devoted two hours to reading and watching YouTube videos to learn all about French Presses.

Why two hours?

Well, the advice varies regarding the amount of coffee to use, the types of coffee to use, the time to steep, and several other specialized techniques the at-home barista might employ for the richest, tastiest cup of coffee. And I needed to have ALL the information to determine my preferred method.

All well in good except—I don’t own a French Press.

So, step two was to investigate all the pros and cons, prices and varieties, accessories and add-ons one might need.

Oh, but did you know that the best French Press coffee needs a water temperature of 195-205 degrees?

Which is not a problem regarding accuracy because Amazon sells electric kettles that allow you to program the exact water temperature. (Yes, I have one in my French Press wishlist.)

During our Summer Hibernation whilst SK did about 99% of the work on our new website, I had plenty of free time on my hands. Free time that proved problematic.

You see, when I’m “storytelling” on blogs, podcasts, and videos, I have to limit my learning consumption in order to maximize my creative production.

Without those outlets I’m pretty much like a dog with unlimited access to the kibble—I will consume until I explode. Like any good addict, I believe if a little is good, then a lot must be better.

There is little evidence to support the idea that one’s head can literally explode from the overconsumption of information. However, for someone who likes to both learn AND share, a certain amount of anxiety builds.

Especially in deciding, when the opportunity arises, as to “what” to share first. Because my “learning” addiction is a comfortable partner for my “storytelling” addiction.

I’m not so full on nerd-geek that I don’t understand the conventions and niceties of social correspondence.

Although, admittedly I do time the “how are you/how you been/me fine/and you” to properly gauge when it’s okay to segue into something like, “your new job sounds great but hey did you know it’s best to “pre-heat” your french press before adding the coffee?”

My point is that the communication muscle is one I need to flex on a regular basis. A casual observer might believe I just want to show off what I know. But the truth is that I don’t think I know enough. In fact, I’m intimately aware of all the things that I still don’t know.

The desire to communicate what I learn is driven by the joy I feel in learning and discovering. A pleasure I assume at least some others might share. I’m fascinated by knowledge of both the most complicated things and the simplest of things. So intrigued that I have to tell others.

And my summer hibernation has filled the coffers of both interesting and totally useless facts I now harbor.

The French Press, how to properly light a video scene, I learned HTML and CSS coding, I read the Getting Things Done Method, The Psychology of Mindset, Happiness Psychology, two books on Habits and Self-discipline, and literally hundreds of articles on copywriting, weightlifting, marketing, meditation, nutrition, and the best face wash and moisturizers for men.

And the best damn part of all that learning and information is: You then need systems and processes to process, organize and find it all.

Which means hours of investigating new apps, new systems, and new workflows all of which require . . . New journals for your notes . . . And new pens of course.

This morning my wife mentioned that she needed to buy a new calendar. I spent an hour introducing her through my experience and YouTube to the utter bliss of Bullet Journals.

This is why one needs the energy level only a great cup of coffee can provide. Like that which one would get in a freshly brewed cup from a French Press.

And all of that is at least part of the reason for the small shift in focus for Writers After Dark. Yes, we love talking about writing. You’d be hard-pressed to stop us.

Storytellers, however, want to talk about far more than mechanics and writing news (although I nailed that Amazon Firing Create Space thing).

We want to talk about life. A story is after all just a reflection of observations pulled from the real world. It’s where we dump all the little things we know, and we’ve learned into a new place, a new world, and new fictional people. (In my next story characters will know how to make a better cup of coffee for sure.)

I think, but don’t know, that storytellers, even if they’re not writers, see the world in a slightly different way. They see patterns and connections that others don’t see or that don’t actually exist.

Storytellers collect tidbits and pieces of everything. Information, personalities, interactions, images, voices, music, hopes, dreams, and fears. It’s all poured into a repository waiting to be brewed into something others can enjoy.

So, just writing about writing isn’t enough for a storyteller. Or at least it’s not enough for me (and probably not for SK either). I want to talk about the story behind the story.  I want to talk about other people’s stories. I want to talk about what people believe. I want to talk about what I believe and why.

And boy do I have a list of things we need to talk about.

Yes, the list is overambitious, as is my planned delivery methods.

(SK often sighs when I present my next “new and improved” idea. But in time it equally consumes her too.)

And what about that fourth and final book of The Creepers Saga? That’s coming also. With a bold idea for re-publication inspired by the opportunity provided through the dismantling of Create Space.

The summer hibernation was excellent for my idea and list building. It was the perfect rest stop for refueling my ambition. It got me over a two-year slump which I’ll address in my next post.

And because the Autumn is my New Year, Summer ends at the perfect place for me to begin new endeavors.

As I said, we have a lot to talk about, and we’ve got a brand new website to talk about it on.

Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin. I think I’ll get my thoughts together while I let the coffee steep for precisely four minutes in my French Press.

And in case you’d like to join me:

Simple French Press Coffee

◆    Medium Coarse Grind your whole bean coffee

◆    Use one to two tablespoons ground coffee per 8 ounces of water

◆    Add coffee to French Press

◆    Swirl in water at 195-205 degrees F

◆    Cover but do not plunge

◆    Let coffee steep for 4 minutes (no less than three, no more than six)

◆    Slowly plunge

◆    Pour and enjoy

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