Reading and Eating
...and not writing
I haven’t felt like writing lately. I mean, as in I don’t even have the desire nor does it bother me. Or does it? I saw a call for micro poems this morning which closes today and began looking through my files. But that’s done writing, not to-be-done writing, so it doesn’t count. I keep seeing calls for submissions and think should I try to write something? but the thought flows away like a cloud with another destination. I have made some minor changes in the essay I’ve been working on from time to time. I have a vague feeling I’d like to sub it here but I don’t know that I’ll make the deadline. I’m not sure if what I’m experiencing is a general malaise or a rebellion. (Isn’t that a provocative statement?)
Speaking of done writing, I have a flash CNF in the wonderful Trampset right now titled “Smoke on the Midway” . It’s a favorite litmag of mine and a check mark on my publication bucket list. Thanks to Editors L Mari Harris, Scott Neuffer, and Mandira Pattnaik. Links are to their own latest (to my knowledge) and excellent published pieces.
An upcoming flash fiction, “Offset Melodies”, will be in Louisiana Literature which I’m thrilled over. Swoon! I’ve never submitted to any of the Louisiana-based litmags. This was my first! Huge thanks to Editor Jack Bedell whose latest “Swamp Thing” piece can be found in Beaver Magazine.
In other writing related thrills, I was invited to read one of my essays in an off site salon at this year’s AWP. Color me gobsmacked! This was a first for me. Unfortunately, I’m not going but it was super nice to be invited.
I’m reading more lately. I just finished Daughters of the New Year by E.M. Tran, which I loved, and have started Another Appalachia by Neema Avashia. I’m also reading poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle in Reading Berryman to the Dog. Gorgeous, lyrical poetry with some of the best ending lines I’ve read anywhere. Endings in prose and poetry are important to me for leaving a lasting impression. A last lines tease:
Imagine us. How it would be to open our ribs, to gather in the small, dark frogs.
One of the Substacks I read and really enjoy is by David Lebovitz. Years ago I discovered his website - don’t remember how or why - and I read it religiously. I loved reading about his life in Paris and his gorgeous recipes, even though I am nowhere near his level in cooking. I don’t really like to cook but I like to read about food and eat food so his writing is a win-win for me. When he opened an Instagram, I followed. Now I read his Substack which I did just this morning. I read it and chuckled. He talks about change and the demonstrations going on, about cafes, bakeries, his move to another apartment, bread and cheese, and…..”Emily in Paris” which is where I chuckled. It seems Parisians are getting sick and tired of star-struck Americans taking the EiP tours, posing for selfies in red berets, gaping at Gabriel’s apartment, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. I nodded. Anyone who lives in a tourist-driven city can commiserate. And yet. We are all tourists. We all travel and look up as we walk, take selfies, and mangle the language. The trick is to do it unobtrusively and with respect.
There was a tiny boutique that sold vintage handbags on Magazine Street back in the 80s and I loved to shop there. There was always French music playing which added to the dreamy vibe they had going on. Thinking about it put me in a mood for French music and I found this gem. Enjoy while you read! (Or after.)
Do I watch “Emily in Paris”? Yes. I watched from the first episode of the first season back in 2020. I watched during the dark, sad days of the pandemic and I was happy for some frivolity, some flash and glamour, pretty young things falling in love in a beautiful cityscape. I’m not a snob about mindless entertainment. Whatever gets you through
the night pandemic isolation. I still watch. I still enjoy. Thirty minutes of Lucas Bravo (gorgeous Gabriel) and Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu’s stellar acting (Sylvie) is reason enough, IMO. (Do not miss her in “Call My Agent!” , a series I loved, loved, loved.) I recommend reading this particular post of David’s because of his thoughts on this and all the delicious food details, such as:
…we had a pot of Fleury to accompany a terrific slab of chicken pâté en croûte, before diving into a Lyonnais classic, quenelle de brochet (pike dumpling) with crayfish sauce, along with a platter of tête de veau, potatoes done two ways, an oozing St. Marcellin cheese…
But don’t miss his link to a NYT article about EiP, if you watch it. It’s soooo funny and the link is free.
So even though I’ve said I don’t like to cook, I actually do like to bake. The thing lately at my house has been my very old and well-used recipe for “Quick and Easy Cheesecake”. It’s really a pie-like cheesecake because it’s made in a graham cracker pie crust but Oh! is it delicious. The bottom layer is cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla while the top layer is sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. It’s served cold and the smooth creaminess is heaven on the tongue. It would be so easy to eat the whole thing if it wasn’t so rich! My husband loves it so much that he fusses whenever I bake another dessert. So guess what I’ll be doing in the morning.
January is a hard month, February too. Today we have sunshine but the wind is as cold as the heart of the Grinch before Cindy Lou Who touched it. Yesterday and the day before were grey and grim - the only hopeful thing I found was my pot of sweet peas that have been steadily growing since I planted the seeds in November and are way tougher than they look. I think about the bright blooms I hope to see in March or April and I know that, no matter how glum I feel now, Spring is coming.
Spring is coming!