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Friday, February 17, 2012

"a steaming cup of coffee"

I was too tired after dinner to read anything challenging so i picked up a ancient paperback of a best seller that has been hanging around in the family for over fifty years and decided to read it again. I wasn't more the ten pages into it when I ran into the expression "a steaming cup of coffee" which I have seen numerous times in stories published in the last decade.  Why is "a steaming cup of coffee" a standard prop in English fiction that has survived for half a century or more. I seem to recall that Hemingway had better way of saying it. He could make you experience the steam, the taste and the aroma without telling you about it. The secret of good writing is what you leave out.        


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