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THE COMFORTING GURGLE


Lately I’ve decided to change my K-cup approach to coffee. I've bought organic coffee, a regular coffeemaker, and now grind my own beans. It’s more trouble, but the taste is oh-so-much better, and that pesky stomach lining irritation is gone. Still, it takes a while to work into a new morning routine that includes cleaning the coffee pot, grinding the beans, putting in a filter, and making sure the ground coffee beans and water are accurately measured. Whew! It’s been years since I traded my coffeemaker for a Keurig! This is what surprises me…the comforting gurgle of fresh coffee streaming into the carafe triggers a feeling of security. Family. Comfort. All the feels. The sounds and rich smells of brewing coffee strike a deep chord. I didn’t realize how much I missed that! A Keurig does its job, sputters a bit, then stops. Plus, the coffee (to me) tastes stale and is never hot enough. I always have to put it in the microwave to heat it up. Quite frankly, K-cup coffee is not my idea of a savory experience, it’s a time-saver—an excellent one, however, I may be well on my way to a rebound of the comforting-gurgle season. As I write this, I think about the encroaching AI debacle, which seems to me more of a Keurig time-saver than a comforting-gurgle experience. I cannot imagine taking the blood, sweat, and tears out of

the writing experience, or exchanging words with a mechanical, force-fed, infomercial on steroids. When I begin to structure a story, my personal ritual is deciding on theme, visualizing characters and working out backgrounds, writing a long and painfully constructed synopsis, tweaking characters, editing of synopsis, research, and more research. All to say, after breathlessly emailing all this to my editor for a yea or nay, I take a little time to savor the rich aroma of a writing break if I don’t have another work-in-progress going! Do you relate to the comforting-gurgle feels of a break from deadlines and butt-in-chair focus? There are many comforting gurgles along the path to publication. For instance, that halcyon moment when I receive a compliment from my editor. A big, fat, juicy compliment that makes up for all that developmental edit-snark business and the generic comments (why do you write in such an awkward way?) that I have no idea how to process. After struggling through developmental-edit-weeds for weeks, I take heart, for the gurgle moment is nigh! The editor loves it. (Yes, she actually used the ‘L’ word. Once, anyway.) The sound of an editor’s unabashed approval is a definite comforting-gurgle moment.

How about that cover design? How often have we chewed our fingernails, moaned, and whimpered while waiting for the unveiling of the most important hat trick in our arsenal to attract readers? Maybe, I thought, the artist will make sense out of the ten cover samples I sent and kind of crush them all together in a creative masterpiece that utilizes the best elements. (Right. I think it just confuses the design team, and someone needs to tell me to stop doing that.) Boom. The cover design arrives! I like it! This is a KILLER comforting-gurgle moment for me. Let’s look at another: the dreaded final pass. (Gasp) The final edits, the last chance we have to catch errors. I know I’m supposed to barely touch them…a missed comma replacement, or a change in direction of quotes, or a double word that needs removal. But I see a zillion things to change. Is it too late for a rewrite? A new ending? A chapter deletion? A different title? . Or…the final pass arrives, and I sail along blissfully, noting how wonderful my story turned out. With a yawn, I casually flick a red circle around an extra word or missed capitalization. Perhaps an errant comma. I turn this edit around in record time…three days! Wow! What a gurgle-worthy moment! JUST KIDDING. This never happens. I want to change many things and morph into a human gnat-swarm. All my publisher wants to do is bat me away. I’m getting better, though. The only true, gurgle-worthy moment for me, at this point, is when I shoot out the final email to the editor with my final edits before pub day. At that point, the knot of stress in my gut unwinds and I sniff the sweet, sweet, fragrance of the comforting gurgle. The path to publication is riddled with moments to savor. It’s also riddled with gritted-teeth moments, frustrated cussing, whispers of plot corrections in the night, missed deadlines, and bad reviews. My brand-new, Wal-Mart coffeemaker and fresh-ground coffee beans (organic!) jerked me into a place of contentment and peace that I’d missed. It’s reminded me to stop and sniff the coffee once in a while…and in the midst of a crazy writing day… enjoy the heck out of those comforting-gurgle moments.

Kerry Peresta spent three decades in the ad business before she started writing full-time. She is the author of the Olivia Callahan Suspense series and Back Before Dawn, a standalone suspense, all released by Level Best Books. Kerry is the mother of four, Gigi to a flock of grandkids, and lives on Hilton Head Island, SC, with her husband, Jim, and two cats. Find her books here.

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