Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Me and My Menses

Not a happy writing day today. Not a happy day period, actually. Not quite sure why. I got enough sleep. I got up on time. I did my usual morning thing of writing and exercising. I even ate a nutritious breakfast. All of those things should have me coasting on perky endorphins. Instead I am irritable and tense. It is exercise in self control not to snap at everyone who crosses my path. To reduce the risk of homicide, I sequestered myself at a remote café with my laptop and a sequence of very large mocha lattés. I felt like crying for no particular reason. I made it through the day by just focusing on my To Do list one item at a time and ignoring all incoming calls.

The chicks out there will recognize the above description as classic PMS. The fact that I can accomplish this without a uterus is a medical miracle. Somebody notify Lancet.

My foul mood did lead to a realization about the novel, though, which is that I am not really writing anymore... or at least I am not creating anything. There is an issue of diminishing returns when plotting and researching, and I can touch the asymptote from where I am standing. Furthermore, not only is the planning unfinished, but it is also un-fun. I don't mind working hard. Hell, I love working hard. Whatever it is that I'm doing, I'm not loving it, and if I'm not loving it, then it's not working.

So, you know what? Fuck it. Fuck Snowflake Methods and character charts and timelines. Fuck scene outlines and story arcs. Fuck it all. I’m just going to start rewriting the damn novel. I didn't know what I was doing when I wrote the first draft. How much worse can writing the second draft be?

Tomorrow begins today.

Today's writing totals:
Plot: 273 words
Journal: 325 words
Blog: 309 words
DAILY TOTAL: 907 words

JANUARY RUNNING TOTAL: 9,838/15,500 words

Monday, January 19, 2009

How Many "S"es in "Salsa"?

People like my salsa. They ask me for recipes. I never have a very good answer. Salsa simply means "sauce", so there is immense flexibility in making it. There are no fixed ingredients. There are no fixed methods of preparation. For me, it is more of a philosophy than a recipe. I am therefore going to share my philosophy, but first I will share a recipe. This came from my friend, the artist and proud Texan, Susan Medler, who adapted it from the Moosewood Cookbook:

Combine & chill the following:
3 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 scallions, finely minced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
handful of fresh parsely, finely minced
1 t cumin seeds, toasted
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 T lime juice
crushed red pepper to taste
avocado chunks
touch of honey

The above recipe makes a very nice salsa, but it also embodies what I have come to think of as the "Four 'S'es" of salsa. They are: Spice, Savor, Sour, and Sweet. If you stay focused on balancing those elements, then your salsa will be rich and satisfying. Too many people focus on "spice" and "sour." Be sure to balance the bite of the salsa with earthier herbal flavors and a touch of sweetness.

I might add a fifth "s", although it's not related to flavor: "Simple." Although it can be fun to experiment with more time-intensive preparation techniques (caramelized onions or fresh-roasted peppers, for example), it's easy to make a delicious fresh salsa in less than 20 minutes.

Today's writing totals:
Blog: 234 words
Novel: 664 words (plot, plot, plot)
DAILY TOTAL: 898 words

JANUARY RUNNING TOTAL: 8,662/15,500 words