Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sauce and Substance

I am trying to decide on the right word for what I want to do – but there is a nick on the little finger of my left hand that bleeps a small hurt every time it hits the keyboard. How to bring random things like that into the picture is, of course, what it’s all about, just as it’s all about coming to the virgin (increasingly keyboard) page without a clear, or any, idea of what one wants to say. The nick on my finger is getting in the way of writing. Life itself gets in the way of writing but on the other hand, “the grave’s a fine and private place, but none, I think, do there embrace” or bash out their novels (sorry, Marvell). So I’m paring down or reducing (which word, which word?) so as to be able to do it now while I’m still, in my fashion, tickety boo. Ideally my day would begin early with a cup of mint tea or glass of fruit juice followed by a brisk walk on one of the many lovely parts of the forest I live right next to, a few hundred words bashed out before a nice breakfast of, say, boiled egg and marmite soldiers (it’s all in the details folks) or just fruit and perfect americano coffee with hot milk. After this I’d bash out another thousand or so words before a light lunch of yellow pepper and courgette soup (it’s a new recipe I was recently given) or Caesar salad (and don’t ask me who prepares these bonne bouches, it’s a fantasy, ok?) and the afternoon would be given over to catching up on reading, correspondence, small household tasks (if I must) editing and, the occasional taking of tea with a similarly-engaged acquaintance, more writing plus cultural pursuits and an exquisitely prepared dinner (Moroccan lamb and couscous?) and wine in the evening.

I think a new paragraph is in order so as to bring myself back. I think I’ve said this before: it takes me most of the morning to incarnate into the day at all or, if I get up early, consequences will make themselves felt later. I am trying to remember how on earth I managed to do all the writing I did when the children were small and I was so ill. Certainly there were times when I simply took pills and managed to override, something I wouldn’t manage now, and I wasn’t able to keep it up. Now I have let go of almost everything that might get in the way. Someone else, a writing friend, is taking over the classes I was to have taught this year which is good for her and for me, though it does feel strange to let go so completely of something that I gave myself to for many years.

Reducing is the right word, I think. It’s what you do to a sauce when you want to intensify the flavour and make it more substantial. I need shoes - my old Birkenstocks have needed replacing for two years. I need underwear – my bras have lost their elasticity. I’ll see to these and other essentials, but clothes will do for another few years, I’ve worn the same two pairs of thin trousers for most of the summer, alternating, and my purple shell suit trousers await the colder weather. I have a poetry café to attend to on Friday, Ros Barber (of Shallowlands) being the invited poet but this kind of activity is of the essence and essential to me.

I am boiling off the excess and am already, though I say it myself, very tasty. And I've stuck a plaster on the finger.


Anna MR said...

That's a fine recipe for life, or writing (which word? which word?) you have written there, Signs. May I also point out that you are currently on my bloggy, saying hello to me. So here's to synchronicity, sweet Signs.

Mwah and wvwll - with various words, like love

and, also, aqvnsuao - aqua vitae non sunt accidental, oracle


Reading the Signs said...

Anna, come back here - how do you know these things? Don't be giving me any rubbish about sitemeter, you are psychic or something, aren't you?

Which word, which word, is just about my mantra, my dear.

(acqua vitae certainly non sunt accidental - non.)

thyou thou and you in one.

Anna MR said...

Yes well, sweet Readingthesignskin, as I keep bringing up every now and then, my gran was from Lapland. It allows me to see the ethereal movements of people I care about, yea (keeping open multiple windows and having an email warning system for comments helps, too, but shhh, I think I'm giving away too many of my psychic's secrets now).

ozrcfhl - Ozymandias rules, charitably flourishing hate and love (I am delirious, it seems)

mafniv - a fake psychic, in Yiddish?

cusp said...

I was just settling into that fantasy and savouring the lamb and couscous (and I'm a veggie !) when you woke me up with a new paragraph. How unkind.

Wouldn't it be lovely if life could be like that. Alas, there ARE all the mundane domestics to attend to and the lulls in energy and the form filling (that's our new job --- or so says Sally's Life).

I shall send strong waves of hope that just a few rays of the fantasy life of writing, eating and musing will filter through the curtains to shine on your actual existence. If they do, can you borrow a mirror and bend some of the rays this way ;-)

Maggie said...

Hugs from Liverpool - too outta things to say more, sorry

Happy to see you posting

That's so pants said...

Hi Signs

You are such a tease. But we love you.



Reading the Signs said...

Hello Cusp,

For you there will be roast vegetables with halloumi.

Between you and me, I do manage to live the life sometimes - just a bit of it - well marmite soldiers at any rate.

Hi Maggie,

I know how it is. But good to see you here anyway. Good wishes to you from the edge.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Pants,

Tease? Moi? I have never been more serious, especially about the substance. But love, of course, appreciated.

Anna MR said...

Siiiiiiiiiigns - don't hand all the veggie stuff to Cusp (hello, lovely to meet a fellow veggiblogger). I adore halloumi, and I bet your roast veg are a treat.


Reading the Signs said...

No worries, Anna, I always make too much food, daughter of refugees and all that - and will give you a jar of preserves to take home with you too. Roast veg is great. You just - well - roast them (in olive oil, of course).

Anna MR said...

Oh yes yessy yes, roast them in (good) olive oil, and, Signs - throw in a generous handful of thyme (I feel certain you do this anyway).

God, I want to be back in my own kitchen. Somehow, my food is never the same in my mother's kitchen. There's something Dr Freud would (like to) know about in that, I'm sure.

(I'm not actually here, ok? I have received a (very welcome) translation job and consequently the blog house is shut today, at least for the time being, while I chew at the end of my keyboard, contemplating how to turn the seventeen cases of Finnish into smoothly flawless yet funnily witty and sparse English, whilst keeping the sarcasm intact. You ain't seen me, right?)

echgfab - gunky-looking food that just tastes too good

Collin said...

I've never been much of a morning person, but as I get older it takes me longer and longer to get motivated to get up and get any kind of work done. I find I do my best writing later in the evening, so I often wind up staying up until hours, which doesn't help the next day.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Collin,

I am an owl by nature but it's no longer practical for me to work owlishly. I am trying to cultivate ordered and sensible habits. Ha!

Looking forward to seeing you in November - at poetry cafe etc.

the periodic englishman said...

Hmm. You are clearly reduced and reducing, Signs, and yet you have never seemed more magnificent. What a stupidly beautiful piece of writing. It makes me want to live inside your head for a bit.

Sorry if that sounds weird.

Good things and then some.....


Reading the Signs said...

Thank you kindly, Mr. Teepee, praise and weirdness always appreciated. You wouldn't want to live inside my head, honest. It is very cluttered. Could do with a bit of Feng Shui.