A Rich and Complex Brew
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.