the Unending Journey of the Wandering Author

A chronicle of the unending journey of the Wandering Author through life, with notes and observations made along the way. My readers should be aware I will not censor comments that disagree with me, but I do refuse to display comment spam or pointless, obscene rants. Humans may contact me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com - I'll reply as I am able.

Location: New England, United States

I have always known I was meant to write, even when I was too young to know the word 'author'. When I learned that books were printed, I developed an interest in that as well. And I have always been a wanderer, at least in my mind. It's not the worst trait in an author. For more, read my writing; every author illuminates their heart and soul on the pages they write upon.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Rich and Complex Brew

Over the years, I've read many accounts of events during the London Blitz. With the exception of official 'incident reports', every single one was interesting. Even a few of the official reports managed to capture and hold my attention! There was something about the conditions, the circumstances, and the attitude of the British people that makes for fascinating reading.

Even a person of mediocre talent could write up a collection of anecdotes on their experiences during the Blitz and make it a success. There are other subjects like that, of course. Thrilling events, extreme situations, intense drama, all make the job of grabbing and holding the reader’s attention much simpler. But, delightful as they are, such distractions can also hamper an accurate estimate of an author’s ability.

The truest measure of a writer's talent is taken when they are writing about ordinary things. Only the best of authors are such keen observers, such discerning connoisseurs of detail, and such careful craftsmen with words that they can take the ordinary and mundane and transform it into something wonderful. Anyone capable of this sort of alchemy is a writer worth watching.

The blogosphere is packed with people who write about their jobs. They whine about their bosses, their co-workers, and their customers. Most visitors to these sites read just long enough to see they’ve found yet another blogger bored with their dull, dead-end job before they depart to seek something more colourful, or something funnier.

Generally, only those who work at interesting or exciting jobs write blogs worth reading. Now, working as a barista at Starbucks is not the sort of career I’m inclined to consider exciting. Getting discounts on coffee has its temptations, I admit. Nevertheless, the only kind of buzz I ever expected from a Starbucks was, of course, the one you get when you drink their coffee. Working there? That seemed as likely to prove interesting as drinking decaf.

Most baristas would probably agree with me. But there is one barista who not only finds reason to write about her job, she even makes it sound interesting when she writes about it. She serves up a rich, complex brew of stories, blended from the choicest moments plucked from each fresh workday. I find myself looking forward to the next installment of her adventures. On those days when she doesn’t post, I miss my flavourful cup of insight into what, in anyone else’s hands, would be a very dull world indeed.

Only someone with serious talent is capable of transforming this type of job into the delicate aroma of life, filtered through a writer’s mind. I hope she publishes a book soon; I have only two fears. The first is that I won’t know about it in time to be first in line at the bookstore the day it comes out. The second? If she leaves her job at bux, I’ll miss my daily fix of barista brat even worse than I’d miss my daily fix of caffeine.

The absurd thing is, I don’t think anyone else at Starbucks even knows about the best PR they’ve ever had. There’s a lot of irony there; one incredibly talented person, working an ordinary job and writing about it for the sheer love of writing, has done far more to make me think fondly of Starbucks than every penny they spent on advertising ever managed to do.

diigo it


Blogger Atyllah said...

Thanks for that great link - I really enjoyed reading the bux stories!

August 28, 2006 4:29 AM  
Blogger BluJewel said...

You are so very right in your discernment of writers. Many of are write for the sheer joy in it whether we become notorised of not. I've been writing almost my entire life for one reason or another and I've often been asked why I do it. My answer is simple, it's what I do. It started as escapism and a way to make new "friends". Now, it's simply an art I think I was blessed with and my best gift is to share it with others. My blog chronicles so many varying things and it's also been a productive way to minimize lifes stressors.

Thank you for recognizing us all (yourself included).

August 28, 2006 8:10 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Blujewel said it wonderfully. I'm going to check out this wonderful blog to see just how intersting she can make it seem.

August 28, 2006 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Amin said...

That barista link proved very fruitful. The writing is delicious - she can obviously whip up a delicious latte and a great read to go with it.

August 28, 2006 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Starbucks addict trying to go cold turkey at the moment...I'm not sure it'd be wise for me to visit! ;) I also believe there's a book sold at Starbucks, certainly here in the UK, based very much on events like the blog you mention.

I actually work in a job which would make for a highly fascinating blog I think...but unfortunately I'm signed up to the official secrets that makes it a non started for me!!! :D

August 28, 2006 3:37 PM  
Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Of course you know that comment just makes me want to head on over to London, take you out to a pub, get you roaring drunk, and pick your brains. I'm a sucker for a good story.

On the other hand, if they caught up with you, you wouldn't be writing any new stories, would you? So I guess I'd better stay here.

August 28, 2006 4:43 PM  
Blogger barista brat said...

you have left me speechless with your kind words.

thank you so much for the compliments.

August 29, 2006 2:50 AM  
Blogger Zeus said...

This is my first time to your blog, and I found it by way of the Carnival of the Vanities!

I truly appreciated the paragraph concerning the "truest measure of a writer's talent" as it is something that I attempt to aspire to every time I sit down to compose a post. Reading your description of what it takes to captivate an audience inspired me to try harder, be better, and overall, deliver what my readers want. When the day is done, I want to know I made someone's day brighter because of his/her visit to my blog.

Thank you for the great link to barista brat. I look forward to reading it, and with the tremendous review you gave her, I am sure it will be worthwhile in every regard.

August 30, 2006 5:46 PM  

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