Day of Thanks 2011

Above: my sister carving the turkey. She made a delicious –and gorgeous!– Thanksgiving dinner.
I am grateful for the life that I lead, for the people in it, who support me in following my dreams. I am surrounded by incredible people, and I would not be doing what I’m doing if not for them and their love. I give thanks for the relationships I have, with powerful, creative people, full of love and intimacy and helping each other grow.
A year ago I had completed 100 pages of the first draft of my novel. Now, I have completed 2 drafts. I have given myself a deadline – I start the third draft tomorrow, December 1st.

Pie Procrastination

I finished the second draft of my novel over a month ago, so it’s high time I started in on the third draft. So I’m making pie. Pumpkin pie. From scratch. From an actual pumpkin.
And key lime pie. (From actual key limes.)
And chicken potpie. (With, yes, actual chicken.)
My mother and sister are both professional chefs. I grew up with great food, but I didn’t cook – I just ate. I am someone who is great friends with the microwave.
            It started with a pie pumpkin purchase from Trader Joe’s – I thought I was going to carve it for Halloween, but the recipe sticker got me thinking. I found some recipes online, acquired the necessary spices, and set to it:
I was on a roll, so when a couple of friends gave me a bunch of fresh key limes from their lime tree, my thought right after “margaritas” was “key lime pie.”
I think this one would have been easier if I’d had the right tools. Like a juicer. I made the smart move of cutting my thumb while grating the lime zest, so it was especially fun squeezing the citrus juice.

I love Martha Stewart’s pate brisee recipe – easy and always delicious and flaky. But it does take time, and this pie dough from Trader’s is quicker and comes out well.

I tried key lime squares with graham cracker crust, however, and that was even better. Powdered sugar was also essential, otherwise the tart lime flavor was overpowering.

            My dad loved the key lime squares so much, he asked me to make some for his office potluck.

Chicken potpie is one of the few things I make on a regular basis (by that I mean, maybe once every three months), so I only took the finale photo…

All told, I made six pies in less than two weeks. Moral of the story: if you want to learn to cook, start writing a novel.

Post-Draft 2

Feeling proud of myself for completing the second draft of my novel, I promptly stopped writing. For two weeks.
It was kind of like taking a vacation. There was some relaxation to it, something like a reward. I’ve accomplished something, now I can take a break. I spent my time doing other creative things, like carving pumpkins and making Halloween costumes.
And after two weeks, I felt like a total bum. I was still creating things, and I was still making money babysitting, but what was I living for? I had this vague sense of that question roaming around in the back of my mind: what am I doing with my life? 
An interesting side effect was what happened to my writers’ groups. To one of them, I began submitting chapters from the completed second draft, and everyone else began submitting. Where before we had one meeting with only a single submission, suddenly we had a meeting where every single person in the group submitted. With the other group, about the time I stopped writing, the group began to fall apart. One meeting got pushed back two weeks due to low attendance, and then another meeting got pushed back, and where we had been meeting twice a month, the meetings dropped to once a month. And my blog, where I had been keeping up a steady post rate of 3 per month (usually all squished in at the end), fell to only 1 in October.
So I started writing again. I returned to a couple of short stories, one of which I had received several rejection letters for, and another I felt was close but hadn’t yet begun to send out.
I’ve received some feedback from my readers on the second draft, and I think I will be ready to begin the 3rd soon.