Monday, April 27, 2020

Do You Have To Be Shy To Be A Good Writer?


Per @AdviceToWriters, Jhumpa Lahiri opined:

Shyness often blossoms into a creative calling. Actors are often shy people [...] And writers too, because they mostly are people who, in their childhood and adolescence, have read a lot, alone and in silence. Solitude is an essential element for a writer.

And Joe Moran wrote in The Daily Beast article "Do Shy People Make the Best Writers?":

Nicholson Baker, Alan Bennett, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, J.K. Rowling, and Garrison Keillor are just a few of the contemporary authors who have written or spoken about being shy.

Lahiri's use of the word "often" shows that she's not implying that all shy people blossom into a creative calling. 

And if you don't believe that "[a]ctors are often shy people". Here's the title of an article Dalya Alberge wrote for The Guardian: "‘It feels like I’m choking’ – actors reveal crippling effects of stage fright" The irony! 

Coincidentally, I'm a writer, and I was an avid reader - alone and in silence during my childhood and adolescence. But does that make me a good writer? Probably not. 


Monday, April 13, 2020

Non Dutch Processed Hot Chocolate Recipe


We use Navitas' cacao powder to make our morning mocha (i.e.,  a 1/2 cup of hot chocolate + a demitasse of Turkish coffee.) Suspiciously, the back of Navitas' packaging doesn't have a recipe for hot chocolate. I'm assuming that's because Navitas' cacao powder is processed naturally, and it's not processed using the Dutch method. 

"Dutch process chocolate or Dutched chocolate is chocolate that has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a milder taste compared to "natural cocoa" extracted with the Broma process." (Wikipedia)


Consequently, cacao that isn't processed using the Dutch method tends to lump when making hot chocolate, but we, thank God, have a solution, which is to mix the cacao with warm - not cold milk, because it appears that the warm milk prevents the cacao from lumping. 

Here's my mocha recipe: 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of (grass fed organic whole) milk
3 teaspoons of cacao powder
1 teaspoon of honey
0.5 teaspoon of (organic cane) sugar [This reduces the honey to a subtle taste - just a hint.]
1 demitasse cup of (Turkish) coffee

Directions: 

1. Place the milk and (Turkish) coffee in a pan and heat slowly
2. Place the cacao powder, honey, and sugar in a mug 
3. Add three teaspoons of the heated milk and coffee to the mug and stir until smooth like chocolate icing
4. Add the remaining heated milk and coffee to the mug and stir until mixed
5. Optional: Strain the beverage into a different mug
6. Enjoy

Guittard Dutch\ Processed Cacao Powder

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Number One (#1) Mistake of New Writers?


My view is that the number one mistake that new writers make is trying to write something out of thin air. I totally agree with Sylvia Plath who, per @AdviceToWriters, opined:

Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.

Every novel is some sort of roman à clef or is based on a previous work. For example, Lolita and Humbert appears to have been based on Sally Horner and Frank La Salle. And per Wikipedia, at a minimum, The Lord of the Rings is based on:

[...] philology, religion (particularly Catholicism), fairy tales, Norse and general Germanic mythology, and also Celtic, Slavic, Persian, Greek, and Finnish mythology. Tolkien acknowledged, and external critics have verified, the influences of George MacDonald and William Morris and the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf.

Only God can create out of thin air. Consequently, humans must improvise creatively.