“The only thing I’ve got better at as the years have gone by is I’ve grown more resigned to the fact that it comes hard. You realize that hesitation and frustration and waiting are part of the process, and you don’t panic. I get a lot better at not panicking. I get up every morning early if it’s a writing day and I will do nothing else but write that day. But the secret is not to panic if it doesn’t come.”
Mentalfloss.com comes through again.
Such as, from the nation of Georgia, shemomedjamo–the inability to stop eating a food item or meal. Usage: He reached for the unopened bag of kettle corn, knowing full well that shemomedjamo was inevitable.
Or, from Ghana, pelinti–to move hot food around in your mouth. Usage: Viewers were subjected to a full minute of pelinti when Guy Fieri chose to dive right into the queso that came straight from the oven.
I dare you…weave a few of these gems into a conversation this week.
Austin Kleon encourages us to be attentive and diligent in writing down all our thoughts and sift through them for later exploration.
How about ratcheting up your powers of attentiveness?
Here are a few ideas from Cris Freese in this Writer’s Digest article.
Reminder: Simply restricting one or more of the five senses will heighten the others. [Try closing your eyes while eating. You will most likely hear your chewing more distinctly and I’ve found more flavors are pronounced. But hey, maybe that’s just me. But really, try it.]
Anxiety lurks around every corner.
War ain’t great.
Ditto nuclear devastation.
**And painful alliteration? The worst.
But that all pales compared to…
cinnamon rolls without the ooze.
And there it sat, taunting me…Do I have enough cinnamon/sugar/butter goo coursing through my folds and crevices? Or am I just a lifeless, arid mass of flour and yeast?
Taunt away, dough boy! I’m ready for you!
Thank you, Ree Drummond. [And thank you foodie friend, L.O., for the recommendation.]
To quote the Food Network star: “It really should be called ‘Brown Sugar Sauce’.”
Not one to quibble over semantics, I share with you, The Pioneer Woman’s Easy Caramel Sauce.
• 1 cup Brown Sugar
• 1/2 stick Butter (4 Tablespoons)
• 1/2 cup Half-and-half Or cream (Cream will make it thicker.)
• 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
• Pinch Of Salt
— Mix everything in over medium heat. Whisk gently for about six minutes.
— Stop when you’ve reached a desired thickness.
— Serve warm or cold.
- I’ll be mixing in cinnamon to a portion of the remaining sauce before reheating.
- I may well add a little maple syrup to another portion.
- Well, gee, how about some pre-reduced brandy or amaretto to another portion?
Conclusion: Whether it’s straight or doctored caramel, dry, disappointing cinnamon rolls are now a thing of the past.
Two other relevant photos:
Lest you think I’m leaving without another little morsel on writing…
I appreciated Mary Gaitskill’s wisdom in this item I gleaned from advicetowriters.com
Here’s an excerpt from the excerpt:
“When you’re writing on the computer, you don’t cross it out, you just delete it. But now, if I’m not sure, I don’t delete it. Instead of making the revision, I just put it in a bracket and write my second idea, and I can look back and see which I think was better, because sometimes the first thing is actually better.“
Get your writing done first because it’s not easy to crank up the momentum and confidence needed to fill your pages.
After breakfast, I launched into decluttering…even before shaving and cleaning up. Not only did I feel grungy [counterproductive in its own right]
- A. I wasn’t writing.
- B. I was wasting that precious morning buzz [i.e. creative energy] on sifting through and boxing ‘stuff’.
- C. I didn’t crank out that initial ‘first 100 words’ on paper, a practice I started when I homed in on mindfully ‘showing up’ to my creative projects.
- D. I was getting annoyed by A. and B and C.
Luckily, choosing to reconnect with a former student and a former teaching colleague, I did get my keyboarding fingers moving and real words [with value, even!] danced across the screen. AND I’ve even resisted the urge to turn on the AFC Championship game. AND I’ve chosen to not answer a text message till today’s words are done. [Thank you, thank you. You can stop rolling your eyes now.]
So, I guess the lesson for today is: Don’t give up hope. You can rise above all kinds of obstacles, even the self-imposed ones, and move forward with your projects.
NOTE: If your word processor offers the ‘Focus’ feature that displays just your text–no distracting menus, programs running in the background–give it a try.
- Okay, I admit it…on my DVR, I still have 40 minutes of Hallmark’s A Happy and Friends Yule Log. Gotta say, it’s nice to watch cavorting puppies and kittens to break from the daily chaos and mayhem…and I’m just talking about my latest forays in the kitchen. Such as…
Recipe at bottom of post
2. Could someone please tell me where the TV remote is? I know, I know, one of you out there is going to snark that I’d track it better if I didn’t mindlessly pop it in my pocket and drop it off, say, in the garage.
3. I know, I know…snark is a noun. Language snobs notwithstanding, it works just as well as a verb.
4. Shouldn’t there be holsters for TV remotes?
5. And finally, here’s a very useful and interesting language website that answers the age-old teacher question of, ‘How is that word used in a sentence?’.
Sunshine Squash Pie
I picked up this recipe from denisonfarms.com, our CSA supplier.
Sunshine squash makes excellent “pumpkin” pie. This recipe comes from the 1975 edition Joy of Cooking:
1. Line a pie pan with pie dough.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
3. Mix until well blended:
- 2 cups cooked, mashed squash (see newsletter week 20 for instructions to bake squash)
- 1 1/2 cups undiluted evaporated milk or rich cream (or coconut milk for dairy-free)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar & 1/2 cup white sugar (I usually reduce the sugar, since squash is sweeter than pumpkin)
- 1/2 tsp. salt,
- 1 tsp cinnamon,
- 1/2 tsp dried ginger (or 1 tsp grated fresh ginger),
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg,
- 1/8 tsp cloves,
- 2 slightly beaten eggs
4. Pour mixture into pie shell.
5. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 45 min. longer.
[Notes from TH: Blind baking the crust worked out pretty well for me. I also add lots more spice than recipe calls for.]
I ran across a very interesting item by Sarah Laskow on Atlas Obscura about writers’ approaches to world-building.
Favorite quotes from some of the authors discussed…
“I begin every story I write by drawing a map because it is only when my characters start moving from place to place that a plot unfolds.”
–Abi Elphinstone [Dreamsnatcher]
“Writing is a matter of sullen toil. Drawing is pure joy. Drawing a map to go with a story is messing around, with the added fun of coloring in.”
— Phillip Pullman [His Dark Materials]
This is a strategy I will add to my prewriting course…and will experiment with as I draft The Next Page, my current school-based middle grade novel.
Other project work…