A reasonable question
“Are you mad at Starbucks?”
My editor asked me over the phone. He had just finished reading an excerpt from Tripio. I had sent him an excerpt from in middle of Tripio. He offered that it had been his experience in editing that writers most often refined the beginnings and ends of their manuscripts. He felt that an excerpt from somewhere in the middle of a manuscript offered him a clearer picture of the job ahead. So, I had send him a what he asked for.
Another reasonable question
“Why are you calling Starbucks the “Cosmodemonic Coffee Company”?
I had not thought about it all that much when writing Tripio. I think because it is how I referred to Starbucks throughout the journals that I kept during the early 1990s when I worked at Starbucks. Those journals were the source material for Tripio. It should obvious that I could only be referring to Starbucks when I subbed Cosmodemonic. I saw no urgency or reason not to call Starbucks by the name Cosmodemonic when writing Tripio. Tripio is the authentic telling of how I interacted with and related to Starbucks when I worked there. But no, I was not mad at Starbucks.
Why Cosmodemonic if you are not mad at Starbucks?
My future editor was fine with that but was also interested in the “Why?’ So, I explained further. In Tripio, the Jay main character and his new lover Kati, who also worked at Starbucks, both had read lots of Henry Miller at the time their romance starts. Henry Miller briefly worked for Western Union and referred to it as the Cosmodemonic Telephone and Telegraph Company. In Tripio, Jay and Kati use Cosmodemonic as a nickname more out of homage to Henry Miller than anything to do with Starbucks. My editor was not at all sure readers, even readers of Henry Miller, would get the reference. He said that he would like to see me provide a clarification of my use of Cosmodemonic. I told him I would do so.
In Tripio Starbucks is Cosmodemonic
Since Tripio is at least part memoir and there are many passages where Jay is taking notes or reviewing his SotMs, he also uses Cosmodemonic, “to keep work out of my mind as I take notes and go about my off hours”. This shows the struggle the protagonist Jay faces in Tripio. Jay moved to Chicago to “test his metal as a writer, not to find a career.” He is also actively questioning whether he has what it takes to actually succeed as a novelist. The safer but less writerly option is climbing the ladder at this fast growing coffee company he has been working for over two years. In using the word Cosmodemonic in his personal journals Jay is identifying himself more as a writer, like Henry Miller, than just as cog in the growing Cosmodemonic/Starbucks machine.
I just checked an on-line dictionary site and found that no definition for the word Cosmodemonic exists. Since Henry Miller is no longer alive, I can’t ask him for his permission to use the word. Too bad, because I would also liked to have asked him what he thought about the Cosmodemonic Coffee Company.
“May I help who’s next?”