Summer 2011 :: The State of Things

6:30 am

Summer mornings mean writing time. I rise early, stumble out to my office, brew a cup of tea while my eyes adjust, say my prayers to help wake my heart and mind, and then sit in front of words, fiddling, rearranging, composing, and sometimes even rejoicing! Oftentimes the little one stumbles in, and slides onto my lap. Then I have to coax an older sibling awake, and pour corn flakes into a bowl, and ask for help. The help usually comes and the writing recommences… Right now I’m wading through a sailing scene, but don’t know how to sail. That sort of road block is just that. A Word Halter. A Story Buster! Another hurdle to overcome. Any sailors out there just hoping for an interview?

10 am

Laundry, baking, saying hellos to the late risers. Planning for the day. Jumping up and down because I sold a picture book (A Book of Questions to Blue Apple Books)! Jumping up and down because I might even sell another picture book! (on a saint, to Conciliar Press), if I can just get the words right… 10 am is a great time for jumping up and down. Gets the heart moving.

Noon

Lunch! Plums from the tree. Fresh bread and a piece of cheese. A tomato. Hopes that the sun will peek through the gloom. Hopes that the sun will dry my laundry. Hopes that the sun will dehydrate my fruit leather but not get me sunburned. Lots of hopes!

Afternoon

Library for books. Beach for negative ions and sand between the toes. Or, a train set up. Or, shopping for gifts–so many birthdays! Derek’s, Jack’s, Mom’s, Andrew’s, Lucy’s, Miles’s, Asher’s, and little babies being born–like Greyson. He got a blue and green hat 🙂 Logging the yarn projects onto ravelry. Have to find someone to eat that extra bread. The mail comes and lots of sorting happens. And after the news of two potential picture book sales are processed by my meek brain, I am humbled by  yet another rejection. Ah, the joys of being a writer.

Early Evening

Fiddling with yarn. Checking email. Watching Douglas be the mighty chef that he is… Sipping sparkling water, or wine, or nibbling on chips and salsa. Talking about our upcoming fundraising dinners for church–and the trial biscotti I’ve been baking–so we can BUILD our church! (Can’t wait to build our church!!!) Setting the table. I love setting the table. Collecting the crew to pray, eat, laugh, eat, and read from our past travel journals. Allowing the little one to eat his dinner off the pizza peel.

Late Evening

Could be a movie. Or walking the neighborhood with flashlights. We always brew a hot pot of  herbal tea. I dream about the day that is almost gone. Reading, reading, reading (just finished the third Penderwicks–and a Philokalia collection…) Maybe I’ll mix up some dough for the next day, or update my to-do list, or choose a new picture book for bedtime. Brushing teeth, PJ’s. Bugging the big kids to get to bed. Talking about our time with cousins in Santa Ynez, or about the week in LA and the great dinner with the Dimpfls, and the birthday dinner of paella. Still bugging the big kids to get to bed.

Still bugging the big kids to get to bed.

And the lights go out

What about you? What is your State of Things these days. I’d love to know…

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Baking… Books

Two loaves of French bread

Mixed: 2:45 pm

Molded: 5:15 pm

Baked: 6 pm

Gave extra loaf to Glenn

It’s hard to choose my favorite part of the bread baking process. Like writing, there are parts of the process that are prayerful, parts that require patience, and other parts that get you jumping up and down. I love how bread baking and the writer’s life match up in so many ways…

  • Assemble the ingredients, flour, water, salt and yeast=Research and write your rough draft–let the ingredients–and writing–fly all over the kitchen, and don’t worry about the mess!
  • Knead the dough until its silky smooth=Massage the story, play with the words–this is a prayerful time for me, both while kneading and while editing.
  • Let the dough rise=Walk away from the story and let it sit and ferment. This requires patience and a sense of moving on to another task for some portion of time.
  • Mold the dough into its final shape=Edit. I love editing. This part of writing involves finding  just the right shape for a written piece, and refining the individual words…
  • Bake=Give your work to others to critique. Put it to the fire test, to the heat of the oven and allow the criticism to bake out all the impurities of your writing!
  • Eat it–or better yet, give that bread away!=Send out your work. Let others read it and be blessed, or simply say it’s done and tuck it away. But always move on to the next project. If it ends up being published, then that’s just the icing on the… bread!

Today an interview on my writing life has been posted on the Examiner.com, which is an online news service that has more than 7 million readers. I’m humbled that I was asked to do the interview, and another interview, on the topic of this bread blog, will be featured next week. Here’s the link to the interview.

Sending you blessings and love… as I bake, and write…