If you polled writers around the world and asked what one thing they consider indispensable to their craft, their answers would be as varied as the genres in which they write. For some, it might be a reliable laptop or simple pen and paper. For others, it could be writing courses or even time and solitude. And still, a great many might insist they do their best work with a glass of wine or two.

These are all perfectly fine answers, but I suspect coffee might be one of the most popular—if not the absolute top—picks. At least, that seems to be a common sentiment among the writers in my Twitter feed. Count me among their number, for I find a steaming mug of coffee, with just the right amount of cream and sugar, provides the kick in the pants I need to get started on my early morning writing sessions (including the one in which I am writing this.)

With that in mind, this month’s “Know Me By My” features my collection of mugs, each of which says a little something about me. So grab your own cup of joe, wake up and lean in, and get to know me through the mundanity of mugs!

kmbm mugs.JPG

Three mugs in this picture harken back to the days I worked for a space-related organization, a job I both loved and hated. I was thrilled with the opportunity to work for them, and the day-to-day mission kept me blissfully busy, but the daily commute sucked. I put up with a two-and-a-half hour soul-sucking drive for nearly three years for love of that job. I found the ULA mug (which stands for United Launch Alliance), abandoned in my office on the first day of that job, and it came home with me on the last day.

If you follow my blog, you already know I’m a science geek. My Atlantis and Radiolab mugs are more proof of that. I purchased the Atlantis mug from the gift shop at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Seeing one of these retired ships up close is pure magic, and I think the era of the space shuttle defines my generation. My other geeky mug is unusable with a hairline crack at the bottom on one side, but I cannot throw it out. It’s my favorite, and a donor gift from the WNYC Radiolab program. If you’ve never listened to Radiolab, check it out. It’s a beautiful, brilliant and entertaining podcast.

Speaking of favorites and gifts, my Starbucks Halloween mug was a gift from a man I briefly dated. I didn’t care for him, but Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I kept the mug and ditched the guy. And I don’t think I’d be a proper author if I didn’t have at least one self-promotion mug. Beach Pulp is my first official, traditionally-published publication credit (more about that here.) I bought the mug at the publisher’s book launch party, because I had to, right? The book cover, which is featured on the mug, is amazingly retro.

The dark blue and yellow mug is a marital inheritance from my spouse. His mother, once a professional chef, worked for a time at a well-loved restaurant in Hallowell, Maine. The motif, an eight-armed woman, was designed by the restaurant’s owner. We had the opportunity to eat there once years ago, and the food was wonderful.

Look closely and you’ll notice two Philadelphia-based mugs. One is a graphic of the iconic LOVE statue in downtown Philly, and the other comes from a coffee house in Center City. These were both gifts from my in-laws who happen to live there. We tend to get a lot of Philly swag from them, which is fine—it’s a great city!

To balance out the Philly vibe, my older daughter sent me a Texas mug, which defrays bouts of homesickness (and when that doesn’t work, I remind myself what it feels like in West Texas this time of year . . .) And literally balancing out the other side on that bottom row is a vibrant gift from my younger daughter: a reminder to recognize the wonder and beauty of everyday life. There’s more adventure in the seemingly mundane that we think.

Come back next month for KMBM: Bookmarks!