Chocolate Whipped Cream

Sean's Whipped Cream Experience

Today I’m thinking about chocolate whipped cream and that, sometimes there really can be too much of a good thing. I asked the young barista at Bloomsbury Coffee House in Ashland for “just a little” whipped cream. She proceeded to pile a chocolate whipped-cream mountain atop my almond milk mocha. I’m not quite sure why she did that. Maybe she wasn’t listening. Maybe it just looked pretty to her. Maybe she loves whipped cream and despite the “just a little” she thought–more is always better. Maybe she just wasn’t paying attention.

My favorite barista of all-time, Diana, back in Honesdale, PA, was the queen of whipped cream. Her whipped cream was all about connection–the more she loved you, the more whipped cream you got. As we became friends, getting a mocha from Diana was like getting a mugful of Mt. Vesuvius in full eruption. You had to have a saucer under the cup and then you had to take big gulps out of the saucer or it would run over onto the table and spread across the floor and out the door onto the sidewalk and down the street all the way to the next town. Yes. Diana had a love-affair with whipped cream. And it didn’t matter that most of the coffee boiled out of the mug with the whipped cream. What mattered was that the gesture warmed my heart and made me feel as if someone out cared that I existed.

Human connection . . . really, that’s what writing is all about. The writer connecting with the reader, or the writer revealing something about her inner world, or the writer illuminating something about what it means to be human. If your stories don’t say “human” in some way, then dig deeper. Put yourself inside your characters. Is the young barista passively aggressive? She really hates her job and does the opposite of what customers ask because she wishes they’d just go the heck away. Is she generous? Does she want to make an impression? Is she hungry? What emotion is behind all that whipped cream? Without emotion, humanity, the writing will be flat. So next time you sit down at your keyboard, write yourself a whipped-cream eruption.

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About kimgriswell

I'm an author, an editor, a writing coach, and a workshop leader. I spend my days asking questions and looking (or listening) for answers, and thinking up ideas for new stories to write for my favorite audience: kids! I guess I'm just about as curious as Rufus Leroy Williams III, the intrepid pink hero of my picture book series from Sterling Publishing, is persistent. Did you know that in 5000 B.C. people blamed 'tooth worms' for their cavities? Neither did I until I developed THE HAUNTED OUTHOUSE for the Bathroom Reader's Institute. Turns out, ancient dentists filled the wormholes with metals like gold or silver. Except the Aztecs. They used a mix of iron, water, and belly-button lint. As you'll discover by reading RUFUS GOES TO SCHOOL, RUFUS GOES TO SEA, and RUFUS BLASTS OFF! I believe that reading opens up worlds for young people. Books did that for me, and I hope my books will do the same for today's kids.
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2 Responses to Chocolate Whipped Cream

  1. Kathy Doherty says:

    Kim,
    Sean has got to be your son! You owe him BIG TIME for posing with whipped cream on his nose!

    This post of yours is why you’re my writing coach. You put words together in ways I can only dream of. I love your use of hyperbole. And I love your writing tips.

    P.S. I don’t think there’s such a size as “just a little” in our country. The last time I was handed “just a little” was when I ordered a kiddie size.

    Like

  2. kimgriswell says:

    You’re right. Sean is my middle son and all I had to do was say “Wait! I have to take your picture!” Since I’d already gulped my own mocha down, of course. And, you’re right. Ain’t no such thing as small in our society. Small is now Tall and Large is now Colossal!

    Like

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