Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Plate to Page Ireland


Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation and a pinch of creativity. 
Bo Bennett 

It’s odd how different one group is from another. More or less bloggers, more or less professionals. They come from all over the world, every continent, but it isn’t that. Each group has its own distinct, unique personality, its own needs, its own dynamics. Each group brings something different to the table. Each Plate to Page workshop weekend begins much like a blind date: surreptitious, curious glances, trying not to appear as if staring; dancing around each other’s words, trying to understand the meaning; feeling each other out in an attempt to capture and understand each persona, each sense of humor, each level of shyness. Curiosity tainted with doubt fills the space, excitement mingled with self-consciousness. Like the first day of school. I often feel like a parent or a Scout leader trying to make everyone feel comfortable and at home, wanting this group, like the others, to form one happy, cohesive family.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lamb Goulash and a Book


A game of cat and mouse, this trying to find the time to skype with a friend, a book agent. Meanwhile, I put words on paper and as the moment approaches to place it on the blog, the fear washes over me and I turn to something else, tucking the words, the bits and pieces of the story away for later. Doubt. Oh, not the doubt of writing the story, but opening up my reasons for telling that story. Which are complex and abundant. Fine line between indignation and telling my truth?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Crémet Nantais


Monday Monday, so good to me, 
Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be 
- John Phillips for The Mamas & The Papas 

As I now sit day after day in front of the screen pulling memories like rabbits from a hat, playing with ideas and jotting them down before they scamper from my head, I cannot decide if inspiration comes just a little more quickly, that much easier when I have so much more to do or if it is harder to find, spread out as it is over so many surfaces. And now one more challenge to brighten up my week. With so much on our collective plates, why would Ilva and I add one more chore, impose one more deadline, foist yet another assignment on an already overcharged workload that demands time, writing and words or photographs?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Whipped Spelt Bread


How long has it been since I have cooked or baked anything? I arrive home from being gone for weeks upon weeks and the chocolate cake I baked just before I left is still on the counter, gone stale amid an army of crumbs and the sausages and lentils I threw together is moldering away, abandoned and forsaken, in the back of the refrigerator, a delicate layer of green creating an eerie, distorted effect on the surface. A conference, a Florida visit and a workshop have carried me away, taken me from hearth and home and the urge to cook or bake, the natural instinct that leads me to the kitchen and crawls all over me in normal times seems to have been left somewhere far away, forgotten along the roadside. I find it awfully difficult to get back into the swing of things.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The (Book) Adventure Begins

Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; 
 then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. 
 – Winston Churchill 

 I dropped the last of the bulging black trash bags onto that Brooklyn sidewalk and rubbed the palms of my hands down the sides of my jeans; I scrutinized these, my worldly belongings stuffed into plastic and lined up at my feet, waiting forlornly to be carried away to the dump, with a touch of regret. I would have preferred that these mounds of clothes, books and memories went to friends, but there was precious little time for that. Like shedding an old skin, I was cleaning the slate of the old me, finally about to close the door of my troubled life. The most important thing at that place and time was quitting my disappointing job, emptying out my apartment, handing over the keys to my landlord, making my way to the airport and leaving this all behind. I was running away to Paris – with a sharp emphasis on the away rather than the to. My life was going nowhere fast and I was just plain tired of working for barely enough wages to pay a New York rent much less enjoy what the city had to offer. I was leaving behind a string of bad choices muddled with sadness. I needed a new beginning, craved a new life. It was time to move.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Home Again


April is the cruelest month, breeding 
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing 
memory and desire, stirring 
dull roots with spring rain. 
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land 

Barren lawns where we used to play, yards once filled with rambunctious laughter, ever-moving children, now there is no sign of life other than the well-trimmed hedges and the perfect lawns, the rhythmic splitter splatter of sprinklers dancing across the green, a chill hit of water painting across unsuspecting legs. No sign of life in this city of mine other than the odd car, hermetically sealed, a faceless driver clutched onto the wheel breathing air-conditioned contentment, the occasional jogger enveloped in an ipod haze.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hook Kids on Fishing for Fish Earth Day


All of a sudden, going fishing wasn’t such an imposition. 
– Tim McGraw, Live Like You Were Dying 

Sofia. A tiny handful of a girl, maybe 6 or 7 years old, pleasantly plump with a blazing personality to match her vibrant eyes. She expertly slips a bit of hotdog on the tip of the hook as if she had been doing this her whole life rather than it being her first time. Feet firmly planted in the sandy grass, she flicks the rod forward and watches as the line flies, the hook dropping elegantly in the water, tiny swirls emanating from the landing spot. She waits patiently, talking to herself in one continuous stream of thought. Suddenly, a slight tug on the rod and a tautening of the string and she jumps to action. No girlish squeal, no yelp for help, Sofia simply reels the tiny fish in to the wonderment of her small brother and the excitement, albeit rather expectant (knowing her daughter as she does) excitement, of her mother.


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