My favorite time of year to cook is Autumn, right now. I found a recipe that intrigued me because, 1. It was a soup, and 2. It contained chocolate. But as I began to read the latest and greatest recipe, I felt completely overwhelmed. This would involve some thought and definitely a shopping trip. Whole allspice berries, fresh thyme, Poblano chiles? To say nothing about chocolate that doesn’t have crispies or caramel in it-or a cute Halloween pumpkin on the package.
So, off to the store I go. On my way home I decide on a great ending for a story I am writing. I’m anxious to get back to work, so I park my truck, bring in groceries, and sit right down at my desk. About an hour later I stand to stretch from my atrocious posture (possible blog idea here?), and notice the bag of groceries on the counter, as well as the back door wide open to the driveway. Remembering the other groceries, I head to my truck-the one with the open lift gate and groceries threatening to spill out-and try to remember why I wanted this soup in the first place.
Making a complex recipe is usually only daunting because of the ingredients. I realize I have enough skills to pull off most anything the Food Network can throw at me (maybe not sous-vide and blow torches, but hey, I never said I was Julia Child). So, if it’s about the ingredients, it’s really about the shopping, being prepared.
Being prepared goes for writing as well. Being prepared means having my mind at ease from other concerns. It means becoming distraction free. It assumes a willingness to sit in the chair. Sometimes it also involves new ingredients. I recently took on a sudden fiction project. When someone asked me if I could write a sudden fiction story, I said, “Sure,” and then panicked. I had never heard the term, but assumed it was the same as short fiction, flash fiction. Brevity being the operative word. Brevity is not my strong suit-in any sphere. This blog, for example, is already too long to be considered for most sudden fiction. But when asked, I said, yes, and then I went shopping. The ingredients must be out there somewhere-and I hope they have little pumpkins on the package.
What (large or small) exploits have you taken on lately?