A good raw pu-erh is an emotional experience. I don’t mean this in the sense that the taste reminds you of things (although it might) or that it brings up nostalgia (it can). I mean that the chemicals contained it are heady, and that drinking it literally makes me feel things.
In that sense, it can often feel like the aftermath of a good book: that cathartic feeling when all the conflict is perfectly resolved, and you sit back and think, wow. That was amazing.
That was this tea. The flavor is light and subtle, but it had intensely strong tea energy. No, I didn’t make up that term—cha qi is the word for feeling like the tea you’re drinking is a living thing with its own energy. And for me, it’s that feeling—the feeling of sitting with a session of tea, of seeing what happens to it over time, and coming out the other end feeling like a new and better person.
I got a 25 g sample of this tea, which is called notes, maybe just to confuse anyone who makes notes about it and then wonders why they didn’t write down the tea name and just called it “notes.” Anyway, now I’m eyeing the full cake, which is annoyingly expensive, wondering how to fit it in the tea budget.
Her Good Side, by Rebekah Weatherspoon
I can’t think of a better pair for this tea than Rebekah Weatherspoon’s amazing young adult debut, Her Good Side. Rebekah was kind enough to send me a copy ahead of release date, and I spent this weekend reading it.
Every page made me feel something. Bethany captures perfectly that feeling of young adulthood, of having feelings that feel too big for you, and you don’t know what to do with them, of not knowing where you fit and being afraid the answer is “nowhere.” The friend groups were amazing, and Jacob, as the once scrawny, tiny kid who grew hot over the course of one summer of puberty, was perfect with her.
It was the kind of book that was sweet and almost unassuming, but the energy of the two, the sheer raw feeling of running headlong into a mess of your own creation, and feeling that resolve with perfection, was the perfect catharsis.
There are some books that are enjoyable books with words arranged on paper. But there are other books where it feels like magical alchemy happens, and the book has a life force of its own. This is absolutely the latter. Her Good Side has such great book energy and I loved reading it.
I know that my experience writing a book (whether it’s easy or hard—and some books are much harder than others) very often doesn’t have much bearing on how readers find the book.
But there are sometimes books where, once you hit on the central thing between the characters, seem to take off. It’s always a magical thing when a book seems to write itself—when the energy just comes together.
This was one of those books for me—a book where, once I started writing it, I found that it had life that I hadn’t intended, and things just started coming together.
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