Fall, Change, and Other Fireside Thoughts

Here where I am, we have had the first few days of True Fall. The first snow of the season, so early and such a delightful morning surprise. The first long day of foggy sweater weather. The first day for gloves and the scent of a fire waiting at home. If you have read any of my posts here, it’s probably redundant to say fall is my favorite season. The changing leaves and brisk breezes bring out excitement and maybe even ambition in me, as if I, too, need to squirrel away projects instead of acorns.

I know fall isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s easy to think of autumn as an ending, a closing, the last bar of a song. One of the reasons for this is that it’s one of the times in the year when we really notice change. Continue reading

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A Key to Writing

A typewriter is essential writing equipment. It doesn’t matter if the ribbon’s dried up or if it’s actually a teapot disguised as a Remington—I believe that if you are actively trying to put words together, it’s absolutely necessary to have one.

Even if it’s only a postcard or a newspaper panel of Snoopy typing on top of his little red doghouse. Continue reading

Pie Again

In honor of Pi Day (3/14), I’m writing about pie again.

And (because of the way I am) if I’m writing about pie, that means I’m also writing about words, too. For me, baking and writing are nearly inseparable. They are both things I enjoy doing and experimenting with, and while only one can actually be eaten, both can be consumed. They can both show care for others, bring warmth and comfort, and nourish the spirit.

In my opinion, both are absolute necessities. Continue reading

Atramentous

I need a title.

A new project I’m working on has outgrown its old one, and now I’m left with the task of naming it again. It’s because of this and other bits of life that have got me thinking even more about the impact of words. So here I am, trying to decide which words will set the stage, which ones have the right shades of orange and twilight lavender splashed with stars.

Like many people who love language—the sounds and shapes of it— I keep a list of words I like. Some of them are on the list for their meaning, and others are on the list because of their timbre. Often, it’s a mix of the two. Words are complicated, infinitely loaded with perception, context, and even your own experiences. Continue reading

100 Letters, Pie, and Reasons Why

Imagine making a pie, but this pie takes a year or more to bake. Before that, you spend weeks looking at recipes, reading cookbooks late into the night, and tasting ingredients. You spend months rolling out piecrust and kneading it back together to try again. After you’ve fluted the crust with knife-edge precision, a level, and a ruler, you begin throwing the contents of your spice cabinet together like a mad culinary artist.

By the time you pour the filling into the shell, you’ve mixed up twelve different bowls (this one with more cinnamon, this one with more ginger, less vanilla in this one, this one you tried the butter at room temperature) before it finally smells like perfection. The countertop is littered with eggshells, puffs of flour, dirty spoons, and the sink is overflowing, but this, this is ready.

With a deep breath, you slide it into the oven. But even at this point, anything can still happen. The crust starts to sag. The filling bubbles over. One edge is traitorously turning black. The whole thing is going to turn into a sticky patch of half-burnt, inedible goo.

But then, somehow, the timer buzzes and you pull a beautiful, hot pie from the oven. You set it out on the table, sweaty, proud, and a little nervous, but you’re ready to share what you’ve made. There you stand, clutching your oven mitts together.

The first person you ask says no thanks, they’ve already eaten five slices. The person next to them is more of a cake enthusiast. Someone else is too busy talking to even think about dessert. Time goes by, and the warm steam wisps away from your pie. No one wants what you’ve made.

For a writer, rejection feels a lot like that. Continue reading