Writing Your Heart Out

Here is more from the writing workshop series.  First, the coffee stories.

Coffee by Carole Bilina

I was a mini-adult for sure when my mom let me have my first sip of coffee.  I was seven or eight years old when she relented.

Coffee was a magical brew reserved for grownups.  I was so excited to taste it for the first time.

Yuck!  It was bitter.  I kept giving it another chance through the years and grew to love it.  Come to think of it, I did the same thing with cigarettes.

I’ve quit coffee and cigarettes many times.  I’ve stayed away from cigarettes, but I’ve always come back to coffee.  Now that it keeps me awake, I drink decaf beginning in the late afternoon.

My favorite brands are Jamaican Blue Mountain, Hawaiian Kona and Starbucks’ Light Note roast.  The first two are expensive, and Starbucks no longer makes the Light Note blend.

In college I took caffeine pills to stay awake.  One time I took several No Doz pills and went right to sleep.

The strongest cup of coffee I ever had was on a Greek freighter in the South China Sea off the coast of Malaya, where I was a Peace Corps teacher.  It was a great adventure boating out to the ship, climbing up a dirty rope ladder and receiving the captain’s invitation for coffee in his quarters.  But what I remember best was the teeny, weeny cup of muddy liquid that he served – my strongest cup of coffee ever.

Coffee has been frequent gift to me: coffee cups, mugs, giant cups, coffee candy, Starbucks gift cards.

I’ve drunk it with cream and without, with sugar and without.  Last year I went to a California health spa.  No coffee was allowed.  On the American Airlines flight into Palm Springs, I had my last Starbucks.  Then it was cold Turkey for seven days.  It was torture.  I came back indoctrinated to healthful living and drank Yerba Mate, a healthy South American herb, as a coffee substitute.  That lasted about a month.

Dr. Oz says coffee is better for you if you add sugar.  Maybe it is actually healthy.  Thank you, Dr. Oz.


Coffee Beware by Tery Veras

Another thing that pops up when I think about coffee is what I went through when I quit drinking it.  I had been diagnosed with hypoglycemia, a condition where sugar is hard to metabolize properly, and the doctor informed me that caffeine was OUT as well.  Although I selectively and conveniently forget that there is caffeine in chocolate, I knew that I must quit the brew immediately.

At this time, I worked at an ad agency in downtown Chicago.  One of my jobs there was to make the coffee every morning.  Many days the first pitcher of java would be gone and I or someone else would crave more.  That was when I’d make a whole ‘nother carafe.  At the end of the day the glass decanter might still contain maybe four to eight more shots, which I would not let go to waste.  So…here I was going cold turkey after consuming all that Joe on a regular basis.

And I did just stop. But, the next morning I began typing a script for one of the writers and then attempted to proofread it.  Who had amassed countless mistakes on the page?  Was my computer faulty?  Was there a true ghostwriter or ghost typist present?  I tried again.  “Dumb mistakes,” I muttered confoundedly.  I had to face the facts.  MY EFFICIENCY WAS COMPROMISED WITHOUT COFFEE.  I was helpless.  I needed a support group.  I frustratingly managed my loss of control, and it seriously took about three weeks to detoxify and receive some amount of mastery with my typing again.  Coffee Beware!


Coffee! by Jeannie Radel

I drink coffee only in the morning before noon, or I’d have to count sheep to go to sleep at night.  Each morning I’d make myself a cappuccino when I woke up.  I’ve had a Krupp’s espresso machine for many years, but I only recently started using it regularly.  It was fun experimenting with making the best foam milk for the cappuccino.  I tried skim, low fat and half & half, and I finally found that fresh whole milk with a few drops of water is best.  The depth of the steam nozzle’s immersion in the milk is the trick for fluffiest foam.  For the coffee, I use Italian espresso’s darkest beans ground to the finest powder.  I sweeten my cappuccino with agave nectar, top it with cinnamon and cocoa powder.  I drink this concoction in my breakfast nook reading the daily newspaper.  That’s how I jump start my day.


Untitled by Lillie Gylling

There is this thing that I love.

I am addicted.

I can’t live without it.

I get a headache if I don’t have it.

I like it strong.

No, it’s not a man.

It is coffee.

And now, about Hair!

Hair by Lillie Gylling

My mother told me many years ago that I had been a very pretty baby, but I had such unattractive hair that she would always put a bonnet on my when she took me outside.

When I was a teenager I thought that maybe a permanent would make my hair look better.  At that time, they would put your hair in rollers.  There were electric cords coming down from the ceiling, and the beauty operator would attach electric cords to the rollers.  As I sat there, with my head burning, I was afraid the cords would catch fire and I would be unable to get out of the shop.

My mother used to tell me, after I got the permanent, that I was lucky to have any hair left at all.


About Hair…That Itchy, Gorgeous, Shiny Stuff by Dorothy Soltys

A relative of mine lives in a house that was built three life-times ago.  Great grand dad was a dentist, and some of his office furniture had been stored in some closets that were incorporated in the outside shell of the house.  My niece and I went exploring one day and found the secret area.  There was a large cabinet facing us.  Curious, we looked inside and found some family papers and a paper catalogue from a five story factory in Chicago that made wigs.  Inside we saw various hair pieces, curls on elastics or ribbons, lengths of hair that could tumble down, rolls of hair and supports to wear under the hair.  We saw full wigs and partial pieces.

According to the information given, the hair was all natural and had been gotten from women who were entering convents.


  1. Iwa Iniki says:

    If you drink your coffee with a little sugar, sprinkle a lot of cinammon on top. Cinammon counteracts the sugar. It also tastes delicious.

    I like your hair style.

What do you think about that?