Monday, April 7, 2014

You Are Not a Whiner


Soon we will move on to other topics, but for now, the subject is still writing about painful or difficult life events. 

Maybe one of the things holding you back from writing is that you don't want to sound as if you are whining or complaining. Here is a simple way to avoid that: write about what sustained you during your time of trial.

(Were any of you actually on trial? Hey, we want to hear about that. Sorry. Just kidding.)

What helped get you through your difficult time?

Did you spend time in nature? Solitude?

 Did a friend help you? Family? What did the person do? What was your relationship? How did it help? Describe the person. How did you meet?

 Did you change your lifestyle? Begin a healthy diet? Shuck the coat, tie, and cube for more meaningful work?
 Did you garden? Did someone give you flowers?
 Was there a pet who helped you?
 Music is healing. Were you helped by playing or listening to music?

Include yourself in the stories, of course, but including other people and other things can make the writing bearable and honest and powerful. 


Have you written a sentence every day? Keep going. If you haven't, start today. For example: 

The first person to call me was Maria.

Or - Every morning Snowball tugged on my covers, eager to start the day. She needed me. I needed her.

Or - I quit shaving, changed my suit coat for a jean jacket, and started growing carrots.

You get the idea. 

Next post, a most important point, and then we will move on to another topic.

Chocolate Inkwell 

Looking online for a waffle cookie recipe I had heard about, I came across this one called Boot Tracks. How cute is that! Cocoa powder. And you are set. The recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour. I think I would just give plain old flour a try if that is all I had on hand -- and it is. Much as I love coffee, I would probably opt out of the espresso powder too. Straight chocolate. That's for me. I'll have my coffee on the side. 

boot tracks
Photo and Recipe Courtesy of

Boot Tracks Cookies


  • 1/2 cup(s) salted butter
  • 2/3 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup(s) whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 6 tablespoon(s) cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon(s) canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) espresso powder, (optional)
  • Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

  1. Preheat a nonstick (not Belgian) waffle iron.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa powder, oil and espresso powder (if using). Beat until thoroughly combined.
  3. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto the preheated ungreased waffle iron. (To avoid burnt fingers, use two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape dough onto the waffle iron.) Close and cook until the cookies are puffed and cooked through, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Waffle irons vary, so watch closely and dont let the cookies get too dark. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until just warm. Dust the cookies with confectioners sugar while still slightly warm (see Variations). Variations: Instead of confectioners sugar, drizzle cooled cookies with melted bittersweet and/or white chocolate. Or make a peppermint drizzle: Mix 1 cup confectioners sugar, 4 teaspoons water and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract; add natural green food coloring, if desired.

Thank you for your comments. I welcome questions or suggestions. 

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All photos are by Carol Newman unless otherwise noted.