I hope you’re well. I have been — at least until a few days ago when I felt a bit of a sore throat that was at first more a reason to laze around than anything else. I’m not much of a laze around type, so when I feel the urge to do that, I take notice and find every reason on Earth to avoid my laundry, the dishes, or taking a trip to the market. But days later, it’s gotten worse, and well, that’s never good.
I feel bobble-headed and on the water logged side of things — the feeling I used to have as a kid when we’d been at the pool or the beach too long and came home with wrinkled skin and sinuses full of water. Ah, the memories.
If there’s a good thing about feeling like this, it’s that I slow down a bit and mull things over. And this has been a good time to do that considering I spent November writing about something other than food. I believe I mentioned it might be time to focus my energy on something else (instead of ten things all at once which is more the case with me) and on the suggestion of a friend, decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month. The goal of this event is to take time to write for writing’s sake — to perhaps slam out that novel you always thought you might write if only you had time.
Well, I’ve certainly had time. In fact as much as the past six years have been quite the education in taking the path less traveled, I’ve realized that some aspects of my time blogging have effectively kept me from doing something I’ve wanted to do for a long time — write a book. No, not a cook book. A novel. And November provided me the chance to begin.
I started a story once many years ago, and can’t remember exactly what got me away from writing it. A change in my job, perhaps? I’ve even lost the nearly 100 pages of writing I ‘d accomplished and have wondered how the woman whose story I was telling feels about being stuck where ever she is with no one to ease her way to a resolution of her dilemma. Poor thing.
But this November, I was able to get a good start on something new, writing slightly more than 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s about 225 pages based on your old English teacher’s expectations of 200-ish double-spaced typed pages in 12 point font. I feel very good about that accomplishment but even more so about a few more things I wasn’t sure of when I started to write.
- Yes, I can write fiction. I’m more comfortable writing personal narrative, or essays — creative non-fiction. Fiction has always seemed frightening. But I did it. And I like the story I’m writing. It’s good to know I’m wondering whether others will like it as well since that’s the entire point of my writing it, correct?
- I discovered I didn’t have to write the story sequentially. I listed potential scenes in an outline of sorts, chose a scene, worked within that scene from start to finish, then moved to the next one whether it was related or not. It was an enlightening experience.
- My story is much bigger than one month of writing and 50,000 words. In fact, it’s most likely twice that. I will be writing and revising for a while, and I’m looking forward to it.
- What’s it about? I’ll leak more about it as time goes on, but for now know there are no vampires, dead presidents, or shades of grey.
Many, many thanks to my friends on Facebook who cheered me on. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to my motivation, which has been lagging a bit since the end of the event, but I am moving forward. There is so very much work to do reorganiziing, revising, editing — and finishing the story. I will be at it for months and months.
So there you have it. Something new for me. Does that mean I will no longer write here? Probably not because I seem to be attached at the hip, but as I mentioned earlier, it will be different. I’ve lost my sass along the way — as well as the basic inspiration from life I rarely struggle with. And life is much too short to look at each day from the perspective of a recipe — at least for me at this point. If you’ve known me for a while, you know that admission is a big one.
If you’re still inclined to still be interested, then look for more life, fewer recipes, and I’ll figure the rest out because diversions are good for keeping inspiration flowing.
In the meantime, here’s some soup I wish I had in front of me right now. It’s perfect for comfort on a cool evening — especially if there is left over turkey or chicken in your freezer. And if you don’t have wild rice, then try a rice blend — but avoid the “instant” or “quick-cooking” varieties. Although I don’t really follow a recipe when I make soup like this, here’s one from the Washington Post that is fairly close you might like for some guidelines.
I used frozen turkey stock I made with the excellent guidelines provided by Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen. If you don’t have homemade stock on hand, then use a good bouillon or pre-made broth that you enjoy. I added leeks, shallots, celery, some gorgeous carrots I bought at the farmer’s market (notice the brilliant color?), and sauteed the veggies in a bit of olive oil before adding the wild rice and some fresh thyme. Because the turkey is already cooked (I used left over turkey) I didn’t add it until the end of the cooking time — just enough to heat it up. Taste to season at the end of the cooking time.
Quite tasty — and light considering it contains no cream or thickeners.
Here’s hoping that you are enjoying the season and that all is well. I’m making some festive bread today, so should be ready to share it soon.