My muse has finally been making a few appearances lately, usually in the wee hours of the morning. Given her choice of visiting hours, she doesn’t stick around long. So while I have had, or been given, some ideas for this blog, none of them are very fully developed, and I am not sure any of them warrant fleshing out. Maybe they just need more time, just as some meals are better if they’re slow cooked. So perhaps my muse has been a slow cooking one.
The idea about slow cooking came to me one of those nights after my muse had me wide awake. So there I was in the middle of the night, thinking about how my next story might be like a pot roast with the meat, potatoes and vegetables all still intact as separate entities but melded together as a fine meal. Or the story might be more like a chili where the ingredients–the meat, beans, tomatoes, and other vegetables have to soften together with the spices in order for the chili to be any good. Both of these meals are good, and better if cooked for a longer time, but with very different results. Both can leave you with a memory of a fine meal.
Memories, specifically Christmas memories, was another idea the muse left with me another night. Now that it’s almost New Year’s, it’s time to take that idea out of the pot.
In one of her latest posts, my friend “Buttons” wrote about the memories on her Christmas tree, which had me look at our tree more carefully and remember the significance of our decorations. Two that always touch me are the baby shoes and first school pictures of our two sons.
While we can’t add his [current] size 11-1/2 shoes to the tree, we did get our son Eric new shoes for Christmas, and his dad wrote on the tag, “For your new path, wherever it may take you.” Eric is returning to school as he follows his passion for design to learn techniques for video game and animation design. Maybe we’ll have a new school photo to put on next year’s tree. We should get a new one of our other son Jeremy too.
Jeremy isn’t a student, but he is in school. His path has taken him to teach English in elementary schools in South Korea, and he’s now married to a young Korean woman, Jieun, who is a wonderful addition to our family. The small flowers given to us at their wedding this summer have now been added as decorations on this year’s Christmas tree.
We also have house decorations that belonged to my mother, my sister, and two dear aunts who have died but whose memories live on in these decorations.
Another tradition we carry on is baking. Cookies, loaves, muffins, and scones have lovingly been prepared, and eaten, and I’ve made an annual favourite: Peanut Butter-Marshmallow Squares. I got the recipe from my aunt years ago, and have added my own twists. Eric even made a batch this year. My husband made a Christmas cherry pie, just as his mother used to do. That’s inspired me to try pie baking again and see if I can come up with a better gluten-free crust than the nut-crumb crust I made for my post-Halloween pumpkin pie. I also want to get back to making yeast breads in addition to the quick scones and muffins.
*Sorry, no photos. Everything got eaten before I wrote this blog post. Time to do some more baking, I guess.
Whether I am cooking, baking or writing, it seems like the slow muse needs to visit more often and hang around longer. Then I might come up with a more unified post rather than this hodge-podge. But then, sometimes things do meld together nicely, don’t they?
Do you like slow cooking or getting things done quickly? Both have their merits don’t they? What about your writing? Do you wait for “the big idea” or put together smaller ones?
Join the conversation and let me know.