On the left is the Dairy Queen of small household appliances. There was a time, not too many years ago, when the percolator was standard equipment in every household that had a coffee drinker. Like Dairy Queen once owned the fast food franchise business, percolators owned the home coffee making business.
In the early 70's, the first drip coffee makers were introduced. Because they were faster to set up and easier to clean, drip coffee makers quickly captured the market. No one, including me, seemed to notice that the coffee they produced didn't taste as good, they all but eliminated the incredible aroma of brewing coffee, and they totally eliminated the perking sound that set the rhythm for a new day.
I might have never remembered what I'd given up when I changed from a percolator to a drip coffee maker if our drip machine had not passed away a few weeks ago. I searched Amazon for a replacement and couldn't find one that met my requirements. Out of frustration, I decided to check out percolators. The percolator in the picture is the manifestation of that search. Are we satisfied with our trip back into time? You better believe it.
What has that got to do with writing? A lot. As a group, we writers have taken the drip coffee maker direction in our writing. We've shifted our focus from stories and characters to impossible scenarios and unbelievable protagonists, all held together by cliff hangers. We’ve given up the heart and spirit of our stories for speed and ease, just as we switched from percolators to drip coffee makers.
I believe that it’s time, and way past time, to take our writing back to another place – a place of beauty and love, heroes and heroines, and pride and passion. Listen closely and you’ll hear that idea perking, and if you raise your head and take a deep breath you’ll smell the sweet scent of it.