Do you like chocolates? You know … truffles, turtles, peanut butter cups, and all the varieties available in the gourmet chocolate shops? I sure do. I wouldn’t say I’m a hopeless chocoholic, but I’ve eaten my fair share. According to the Tri-County Health Department in Colorado, Americans eat an estimated 11.64 pounds of chocolate a year. I’m in!
What benefits are all these smiling chocolate consumers getting? According to About.com (part of The New York Times Co.) and the information on its page called Longevity, dark chocolate can aid heart health by lowering blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure and by reducing the bad LDL cholesterol. Okay, so chocolate can be good in the physical health department.
The About.com post also gives information about the psychological benefits of chocolate. Since it contains caffeine, it can act as a stimulant and give an energy boost. It can increase endorphin production which produces a feeling of pleasure. And because it contains serotonin, a natural anti-depressant, it elevates mood.
Well, I’m all for mental health. I don’t know of a writer anywhere in the world who wouldn’t mind these psychological boosts, especially if s/he is stuck plotting out a scene or staring at a shitty first draft.
Writers wisely stimulate the senses to help the reader “feel” the scene and identify with a character. But what about stimulating the senses of the writer to boost ideas, energy, and creativity? And with what better device than chocolate?
Therefore, here’s a little plan to engage the writer’s senses and produce a feeling of well-being. After all, we writers have to look after ourselves. Let the sense activation begin. All you need is a cocktail napkin and a piece of dark chocolate.
As you sit at your desk (or wherever you like to write) …
1. Peel off the wrapper or press down the sides of the candy cup or open the foil on a piece of chocolate. A truly fetching sound. Place that piece of chocolate on the cocktail napkin.
2. Inhale the aroma. Nothing like it, anywhere.
3. Enjoy the sight of rich, shimmering dark chocolate.
4. Run a fingertip over the chocolate surface for just a moment. Feel its smoothness or gently rolling contours or its persuasive chunkiness.
5. Ease the chocolate into your mouth. Let it stimulate the ideas lurking in your brain. Let it perk you up. Let it be a reward for a mission accomplished.
Remember the character Brenda Johnson played by Kyra Sedgwick on the TV show The Closer and her love of chocolate? Just enjoy every moment.
Of course, if you’re feeling a moment of desperation, let’s be real. Grab that hunk of chocolate and chomp it down.
Whatever’s the case, you should be able to handle anything that paper or computer page might throw at you.
I experience this sensory stimulation on quite a regular basis. My husband is a chocolatier. The aroma of chocolate often fills the house … and I’m the number one taster.
In fact, he’s celebrating his birthday this month. Happy Birthday, Tony!! Love you … and all those wonderful chocolates that keep family, friends, and this writer very happy!