Don’t let the soup scare you…

ingredientsMy 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?






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6 Responses to Don’t let the soup scare you…

  1. Lisbeth Bochette says:

    The taking care of my large house consumes me but I have been conquering it & really CLEANING it room by room – even if it’s a couple of rooms per week, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. What now overwhelms me is…massive paperwork clutter – I need a system that works!! Right now large piles of paperwork/pictures are in splashed piles all over my living room. Closure in sight? Not yet but I do have a trash receptacle that is almost ready to empty & then I shall call it a day!!!

  2. Jim says:

    That’s a challenging style. Hemingway is often credited with perhaps the penultimate example:

    For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

    Banging out a bunch of these is a great mental exercise.

    • Sally Sally says:

      Jim, I am very familiar with Hemingway’s six-word story. We’ve used it many times in classes as a great example of brevity and depth. I have huge respect for poets. Yes, a great mental exercise in our very wordy society! Thanks for checking in. SLW

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’m working on my collection of short stories for my thesis and currently feeling intimidated by trying to look at them as a collection rather than just individual stories. I love what you wrote about the willingness to sit in the chair, which I definitely have, but it’s the distraction-free part that trips me up. I don’t have the mental discipline that I need. I’ll be in the middle of a story revision and suddenly I’m thinking about my niece’s cross country meet or last night’s episode of the Walking Dead. As a matter of fact, I’m doing it now! I sat down to work on a story and here I am commenting on your blog instead!

    • Sally Sally says:

      Jen, We would be a great team. Getting me to the chair is harder than concentration. Let’s write a book together. You sit and I’ll dictate! SLW

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