( So this is poison... )
Welcome to #inktober. Welcome to October. Welcome to comforters and socks and darker mornings. Welcome to longer sleeves and the bite of hot tea. Welcome to the snap of apples from the tree, the crunch of dying leaves between shoe and sidewalk.
I am hoping for new poems, for playing around in a fantasy world to fix up a novella, for charting a course on an airship. I'm looking forward to cake, a Fall Feast with good friends. It is time to shine back all of summer's light for friends and loved ones and for reminding myself that it's in me.
What about you?
Last Friday the roses were flashing their bright pink petals in a BATSIGNAL to come smell them. And after doing so, I realized how many red ready cherry tomatoes were dangling on all my plants. So I picked them and, then curious how many they were, styled them. Ha. Then I roasted them along with all the other leftover tomatoes in the house.
Today I am trying out a recipe for peach koresh and we will probably go ahead and make the saffron rice because why not?. I will also be putting chicken tikka masala in the crock because we need more things to eat with all this rice. There will be futzing with electronics and the final episode of Mystery Queen and, if I can find the time and energy, the start of a new poem.
I hope today you too have good beginnings and happy endings and boon companions for all the bits in-between.
We are having the most wonderful weather, with the exception that it is worrisome to have nice autumn weather in August. But it was nice enough to make it back up the hill from the farmers market carrying All the Veg [and blueberries!!!] [and canteloupe!], so that was a good morning.
Today also included beating Omnitron in the Wild Wild West, making matcha almond shortbread cookies, more Mystery Queen, and scribbling. I am all-over tired but it is a good tired. I am so thankful.
I'm thankful to uilos for the amazing grapefruit marmalade that capped off this morning's breakfast of scrambled asparagus egg, oats, and biscuits. I will forever be spoiled for all marmalades.
I'm thankful for all the new technocolor blocks in Minecraft. I'm thankful for words written down and for words written down while hanging out with a writer friend. I'm thankful for the energy I had this weekend and for the good sense I exhibited to triage when necessary.
I am looking forward to the heat breaking, for upcoming birthday parties, for the words I will write this week.
I hope you've got sunshine and warm—if that's what you're wanting—wherever you are now. I raise my mug of tea to you. Now, back to the words.
The past few days have mostly been downs. The experience of making and eating and sharing these sandwich cookies was certainly an up. Also an up: reading my poems to a group of folks in a new venue.
Today I have turned on the fancy lights that help lift my spirits and maybe the retaining wall is getting fixed. I hope there are some good things for you today, too, even if it is a Monday [here].
Okay, so I made the beans in the crock on Friday—from dried in the pantry and a chopped onion and dried spices—and yomikoma picked up scallions on the way home, but we had salsa in the fridge, and cheese, and a handful of not-quite-stale corn chips, plus half a chopped cuke and ten leftover cherry tomatoes, along with that overripe avocado I bought Monday, and this is what dinner was. Totally fab. I can't believe I threw all this together and this is what we got to eat.
Along those lines, I gave Bird in the Hand one more chance and we tried the "forrester chicken" which also turned out fab, but I also was able to make the whole thing with stuff we had at home already—or fudge it: skip the parsley over the top, add in extra carrots, use the end of the cream rather than the amount it called for, frozen mushrooms instead of fresh, and dried shiitake which were probably not what the "dried wild mushrooms" really meant. I also tossed in a quarter cup of flour at the end to make it thicken a little, since I hadn't the heart to not include all the dried mushroom broth.
Both experiences were kinda amazing.
There has been nonfiction researched, learned, shaped into stories, and deadlines met. There was an unfinished attempt at getting a novel's plot down on notecards—but there is still hope. There has been heavy heavy revision and bright polishing of a novelette. There have been approximately 22 syllables daily, a cinquain each day so far for NaPoWriMo this year.
I am thankful to be writing so much. I am thankful you are listening. If you'd like to hear about the wilds of writing more frequently than I seem to alight on the branches here [and you don't already], there is always my newsletter.
Perhaps next time I'll manage to tell you what good books I have been reading.
I asked a number of my poet-colleagues to write for hope, to help people during difficult times.
The result is a small chapbook of sonnets you can download for free: EPUB or MOBI (Kindle) files here on Gumroad. (Just enter 0 for the price.)
The chapbook contains poems by Carol Berkower, Sherry Chandler, Peg Duthie, Jenny Factor, Annie Finch, Cindy M. Hutchings, Marc Moskowitz, Charles Rammelkamp, and Mary Alexandra Agner.
If you, in turn, should pick up pen to reweave these end-words, originally borrowed from Edna St. Vincent-Millay, to write your own piece of hope, please share it with at Vary the Line by leaving a comment with a poem or a link back to your own post with a poem.
So, now that I've missed the Wednesday reading meme, here's what I've been reading.
I just finished Sarah McCarry's About a Girl which I enjoyed the beginning and ending of; I dislike extended dream states where the main character is continually thwarted because Magic, oh, and also Sex, additionally Just Plain Not There Secondary Characters, it feels nightmarish to me, but your mileage may vary. It had a lot of wonderful physics and astronomy, mostly as metaphor, but it was still good.
I am in the middle of Kameron Hurley's The Stars are Legion. Were I a person who could picture things easily, I'm sure I would be grossed out. As it is, the mystery presented by the story is so far more compelling than the amnesiac main character but sufficiently compelling to keep me reading of said amnesiac's adventures.
I am hoping to pick up Brooke Borel's latest, since I'm sure the library will want it back soon for other patrons, and a how-to poetry book that is not in demand—sigh—and the latest issue of Science which is upside-down staring at me.
Last week I enjoyed Mur Lafferty's Six Wakes and Kathryn Eskine's Mockingbird [not speculative, but a solid realism story with a neuroatypical narrator] and Caitlin Levine's "A Love Confession at the End of the Universe". That last one is short, give it a read.
These were a good thing. So was today's rain. So was most of the email recently that's been triggering me. I hate it when good things are triggers. I am muddling through. I had thought external factors were finally going to slow down and let me go at my own pace, but that's not to be. I'm doing the best I can not to lose myself over my limits. You take care of yourselves, too, please.
Hence we have deconstructed the soup. I think I got this recipe from Diane Morgan's Roots: the Definitive Compendium but I've just got a photocopy, so apologies for misattribution. In this recipe, the author "cheats" by using a rotisserie chicken's bones to make stock, and then throws in celeriac, the rotisserie chicken meat, greens, and mushrooms. So, we divvied all of that up, chopped, torn, etc., and packaged it up to go into the slow cooker later in the week. Tomorrow I'll throw in the stock bits with water and bouillon for a few hours, and the resulting stock can go in the fridge. Wednesday I'll throw the celeriac, chicken, stock, greens, and mushrooms in the slow cooker again and it will be dinner. Woot.
Or so I hope. Have any of you done anything like this before?
We still have pasties and meat sauce and just a bit more pork roast and carrot+parsnip soup, so everything here but the eggs and apples was really a bit superfluous. I also know we'll gobble it up. The tat soi is for the dragon tofu. The bacon is for breakfast. The cheese is for me. I am not sharing.
There have been a number of wonderful foods lately, from this greeny bowl salad [adapted from Sprouted Kitchen Bowl & Spoon, I think I got that name right] and the rutabaga pasties [adapted from River Cottage Veg].
The best thing, though, has been cooking dinner after eating it. I recommend this. It means you're never hungry while cooking which is an enormous plus for me. It takes a moment of planning ahead, because it means that Monday night, say, you eat something you've already made, then after you eat, you cook something else so that you have dinner made for Tuesday. It had honestly never occurred to me before to invert this cooking-and-eating ordering but it has made a difference to our happiness levels. I mean, you still spend the same amount of time cooking but I'm usually in a better mood, and less tired, to do it.
I saw a recipe recently for slow-cooker pulled chicken which then suggested three recipes in which to use said chicken and I thought, I like this idea. Make enough chicken for a handful of recipes but not have to eat the same chicken dish all week? Sounds good. But their recipes just really didn't work for me, so I thought, hey, maybe you folks had some recipes for leftover chicken you'd be willing to share?
None of it tasted belated, even if we had it Thursday morning. The star bread had a crusty exterior and cinnamon sugar inside. There was salt and bite to the eggs. There were creamy Asian pears and supremed citrus [thank you yomikoma] drizzled sweet by maple-lime sauce.
That seems like plenty to call back the light.