So I got a bit off track last week. I was booked to perform in a staged reading last Friday night so a good deal of my mental energy went towards that instead of towards writing.
I did cheat a bit and gorge on Popcorners, but for the most part things went well. I made the beet salad from Appetite for Reduction. I substituted quinoa for wild rice, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. So delicious. Word to the wise, this recipe makes A LOT, so if you’re only feeding yourself, it may be a good idea to prepare the beets, quinoa or wild rice, and salad dressing in advance, and then just mix together meal-sized portions of the salad as you need it.
I also made a delicious quick and easy ratatouille which I paired with quinoa. Let me stress that this is not the authentic way to make ratatouille.This is the quick, dirty, and delicious way.
1 large, cubed eggplant
1 large, cubed zucchini
2-3 small-medium tomatoes
1 medium, sliced onion
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
(you can also add red bell peppers although I didn’t this time)
1. In a large sauté pan, sauté the onions and chopped garlic in olive oil until the onions start to wilt and caramelize. Add salt and pepper.
2. Add everything else along with a bit more salt and pepper to taste. I also add a generous amount of “herbs de Provence“. Cover with a lid and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes.
3. Eat the hell out of this. It’s delicious. You can pair it with rice, quinoa, or just eat it alone.
The birds that came to it through the air
At broken windows flew out and in,
Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh
From too much dwelling on what has been…
(The Need of Being Versed in Country Things — Robert Frost)
I didn’t write as much as I planned last week, but I am forgiving myself for that and moving forward from that. Thinking about all the things I should have done or the areas where I didn’t achieve is–used to be a favorite pastime of mine. Time to silence the birds.
My playwrighting teacher, Deborah Zoe Laufer, introduced me to “Shitty First Drafts“, a chapter in Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird. It’s basically about taking the pressure off yourself to be immediately brilliant and just to get the words on the paper. No need for perfection, just write. I truly have to read this daily. Now that the staged reading is over, I can turn my acting brain off and refocus on writing.
Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it. Nor do they go about their business feeling dewy and thrilled. They do not type a few stiff warm-up sentences and then find themselves bounding along like huskies across the snow. One writer I know tells me that he sits down every morning and says to himself nicely, “It’s not like you don’t have a choice, because you do — you can either type, or kill yourself.” We all often feel like we are pulling teeth, even those writers whose prose ends up being the most natural and fluid. The right words and sentences just do not come pouring out like ticker tape most of the time. Now, Muriel Spark is said to have felt that she was taking dictation from God every morning — sitting there, one supposes, plugged into a Dictaphone, typing away, humming. But this is a very hostile and aggressive position. One might hope for bad things to rain down on a person like this. (From “Shitty First Drafts” in Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott)
Love to you, reader. Be fearless.