Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Secret Gardens, Secret Lakes

My son wanted to grow pumpkins this year. I told him that summers probably aren't long enough here. He was startled when I showed him the seed - it looked just like a pumpkin seed.
Every day I run to the back yard to see if we've achieved orange. Not yet.
 Secret gardens, secret lakes
I planted beets in tall, thin containers, without considering how much depth they'd need for roots. The first few I pulled had curled roots, spiraling at the bottom of the pot. This is the first to bolt.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


I'm not of an artistic disposition. Not of a stereotypical artistic disposition, at least. I'm only spontaneous about the most mundane of things. I keep a tight rein on my moods (they do swing, but since they tend to veer toward "rude" and "nuclear" more than "whimsical", I don't feel that they're generally fit for public consumption). I'm idealistic, but also practical because I interact with other humans daily and those fuckers know how to keep a girl's feet solidly on the ground, if not buried ankle deep in mud.

I love to create and, when I'm really in the swing of things, I truly do think and view everything differently (read: better, more interestingly and on a more encompassing basis). But I also work full time at a demanding, analytical job, and have a spouse whose job creates some political friction for us, and am raising a child in a society that doesn't seem to have much regard for encouraging children in their growth and learning. In other words, I'm spread too thin and generally tired and frustrated. Not the best mental environment in which to grow stories, with the exception of depressing stories about exhaustion and frustration. Because everybody wants to read those, right???


So I'm putting myself back into the rigid routine that allows me to produce two novels+ a year, the same routine that makes me write even when I don't particularly feel like it or there's a better offer to be had (sleep, usually, or books that other people have made themselves finish). The nice thing about the routine is that I don't have to give myself deadlines; they're organic to the process. If I follow the routine - 1-2 hours a week night and 3-4 hours a weekend day - then the stories will be finished. They'll get edited. They'll get into the greedy, outstretched, clawed dove-wing soft and glorious hands of my beta readers. And they will get themselves into various submission queues. After that? It's out of my hands, but at least I'll have gotten to that point.

That's my trick. My muse is dedicated time and quiet. Boring, I know. But I currently have four complete novels in various states of polish that were produced by this process, and it's time to do something with those. Then, of course, there are all the other Shiny New Babies to be plunked into the routine for shaping.

That metaphor sounded gross, like I'm starting a new job on a glossy baby conveyor belt, which I am not.

So I have a bit of news that I'll share later on, and I'm hoping to fit in some time to revise one of those novels and release it in an experimental fashion. And another novel, one that I'm so proud of that I can't even talk about it (anyone else have that? the things we like the most are the things for which we have the most heart-palpitating trepidation), will be published later this year.

So, yeah. Routine. Cranking. Production. Completion. Repeat. That's the wave I'll be riding.

Friday, December 27, 2013


Christmas was pretty sweet this year. My mom gave me, from my late grandmother's kitchen, the Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking by Meta Givens. If you don't know about this things, it's epic. I've always experienced it as two hard-bound volumes full of classic recipes and food preparation/storage techniques and the science behind from-scratch cooking. This version, published in 1953 (its original copyright date is 1947) is a single volume. 1700 pages, illustrated and full of opinionated musings and straight-up strategy on how to work your kitchen like a tasty machine.

It also contains a menu for a full year, breakfast lunch and dinner. If I had the time, I'd attempt to follow it, starting with the first night's dinner: stuffed beef hearts.

I don't have that kind of time, but I'm going to explore this thing at every opportunity. Starting, of course, with appetizers. After all, who can resist morsels described thusly:

Canapes are midget open-face sandwiches charmingly decorated.