April 1, 2013

mugsStraw Dog mugs have arrived!


With the arrival of spring has come a flock of shiny new Straw Dog mugs! We love them… and already they have inspired the inevitable, irresistible urge to wax poetic:


My very own Straw Dog mug!

So happy I give it a hug.

My muse is Caffeine – she thrives on The Bean!

I write better the more that I chug.

–  Macci Schmidt


The day the mugs arrived, Blog Editor Missy Wick (MW) interviewed Publicity Coordinator, Kathy Dunn (KD):

MW: Why did you decide to create the mugs?

KD: Writing and mugs just seem to go together. Coffee, tea, hot water, hot chocolate – whatever it holds, a mug filled with something warm and delicious somehow helps writers settle in to their work. Maybe it’s comfort; maybe it’s an element of certainty; maybe it’s the feel of smooth ceramic curving into the palm – or maybe it’s simply the caffeine.

Whatever it is to each individual, it seems to me that habit – or ritual – has a lot to do with it.  Writing always involves elements of familiarity and risk. The dance between the two – that’s where writing takes on a life of its own.

So, though I’m waxing poetic on the act of writing (thanks for asking….!), I have long noted the synchronicity of writers and mugs.  People write in all kinds of places – in cafes and libraries, at the kitchen table, on the bus….  Wherever you spot a writer, more often than not you’ll see a warm drink within reach.

So what better way to support area writers and readers, than with a writer-ly mug?


MW: What does the phrase on the mug “word by word” mean to you?

 KD: We wanted a tagline for the mug.  There were several suggestions floating around, each having mixed responses.  When the deadline for ordering arrived, Jacqueline Sheehan suggested “word by word,” and it stuck.

I take it to be a play on Ann Lamott’s wonderful book, Bird by Bird.  Whether that was Jacqueline’s intent or not, it holds that sense of how writing happens – it’s not a miracle, it’s a practice.  It’s sitting down to write whether the words are flowing or not, and creating a phrase, or a sentence, or a paragraph or a novel:  all of them come one word at a time.


MW: Are the mugs local?

KD: A great, local company, Print Associates created the mugs.  I searched for mug-printing options on the internet. When I found one I liked, I began the process of obtaining a quote and creating the design.  Eventually, I noticed that the street listed in our emails – which I thought was mine as the customer – was actually the seller’s.  …So now I simply walk down the street to go over color samples and designs. Print Associates supplies local customers including UMass and Hampshire College, as well as organizations all over the US.


MW: How do you plan to use yours? 

KD: My mug will hold tea.  Favorite for writing: a mix of Ginger and Breathe Deep.

Further inspirations, from Straw Dog Members… 

  • I will use my mug for tea, unless or until is gets broken somehow, and then I will use it to hold pens on my desk. Also, if I take mine out to the Garage Mahal, it will, by itself, without any help from me, complement the colors of the GM.  – SD Treasurer, Becky Jones

  • Two for tea.  My best friend and I are tea drinkers, and we sip endless cups of tea while writing and bouncing ideas off each other – word by word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   – Volunteer Coordinator, Mary Ann Scognamiglio

  • I plan to fill one with strong coffee and have it keep me company while I write.  – Membership Coordinator, Jacqueline Sheehan


How will you use your mug?  Send your ideas to Editor Missy Wick here,  and we’ll post it on the Straw Dog Blog…!


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