Monday, August 12, 2019

The Best Chocolate Comes From Côte d'Ivoire by Peter Leavell

We want more from ourselves.

I mash the remote to watch someone make chocolate cake with chocolate chunks, chocolate frosting, and chocolate candles.

I’m on the couch and reach for the Peanut M&Ms on the coffee table. I drop the remote. Argh. I lean over and pick it up and set it on the armrest. Thankfully, I didn’t have to drop the raised footrest.

I refocus on the food connoisseur, who is taking the time to choose chocolate either from Ecuador or Côte d'Ivoire. I admire the stock snapshots. The cook makes his decision.

When it comes to flour, Europe is worried about Brexit, so their grain may be stressed. Russia is currently outproducing the U.S. in grain exportation, but the cold war is heating up again, so best not buy Russian flour. U.S. flour is the staple, but the chef is feeling like a change. He goes with flour made from Canadian wheat. We’ll see.

He never changes where he procures the eggs. The Buff Orpington chicken gets moody during the summer and longs for human connections, so the farmers bathe, massage, and council every chicken in hopes it lays the highest quality eggs. The hens have a great 401k, four weeks paid vacation, and double chicken-feed-and-a-half for two eggs.

Non-GMO, pesticide free, classical music playing during harvest of rapeseed produces the highest quality canola oil.

Mixed together and lovingly poured in a handmade Chinese stoneware dish, he bakes it in an equally handmade kiln to evenly heat.

There’s an admiration party at the end, when they light the chocolate candle which turns out to be ten-minute-long fireworks show.

I admire the cook’s dedication. The unrelenting focus on perfection and quality. If I was a chef, I would give it that much effort.

But no. I’m a writer.

I slog through another draft. I ignore a section that could be heightened with more research. I don’t rewrite the section that needs it. And the first page is fine as it is.

Meanwhile, somewhere, a mediocre chef turns on the TV and watches a show about the time it takes to write a book, admiring the effort of the author who recreates scenes at locations to get everything right, and rewrites three drafts, and the chef thinks if she were a writer, she’d put that much effort in.

Writers, here’s your permission. Go all in with your writing. You already admire the people who are obsessed. That admiration means it is inside you.

You admire greatness. That means you have greatness waiting inside of you!

Now, go be fanatical.

Cooks can be fanatics, writers can too! Click to tweet it! @peterleavell #writerslife #motivation #seriouslywrite

The Best Chocolate Comes From the Ivory Coast! Click to tweet it! @peterleavell #writerslife #motivation #seriouslywrite

You admire greatness. That means you have greatness waiting inside of you! Click to tweet it! @peterleavell #writerslife #motivation #seriouslywrite

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and currently enrolled in the University's English Lit Graduate program, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. A novelist, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at