‘Welcome to Camp Run-A-Muck’. This is the sign that hangs on the back porch at our house. It totally describes the back porch and back yard at our house – anything goes. The grandchildren run wild, and the adults do too. We sit out there in the evenings and read, or just talk now that summer has officially arrived in the rainy Pacific Northwest. I have been writing and working as hard as I can to edit Tower of Bones to make it ready for print, but my enthusiasm for work has faded as days have grown so much more pleasant. It is hard for me to concentrate – I am up one day and down the next. One day the words flow from the ends of my fingers as if they were water flowing downhill and the next day I couldn’t write a word if my life depended on it. It is the vicious circle that find myself frequently traveling in. That burst of creative inability is the one thing that writers and artists all fear. We all have tried to develop ways to work around it, some more successful than others.
I make food at that point. Lots and lots of wonderful comforting food, with plenty of carbs and chocolate. Potato salad, and fried chicken, barbecued corn and steaks… Sometimes I get really wild and bake cranberry-orange biscotti, or cinnamon rolls. When I am writing well, I don’t really cook at all, so if it doesn’t miraculously arrive at the table in 1/2 an hour we don’t eat it. But when I am having a hard time with my work I find all sorts of time to bake and make wonderful dinners involving my husband’s favorite foods.
Somehow this last winter The Silver Fox managed to lose 40 pounds. He looks gorgeous. I, unfortuately, did not lose any weight. But on the positive side, I haven’t gained any either. I am resigned to being the ‘fluffy’ grandma, with the ‘comfortable’ lap. I walk, I exercise, but I don’t lose weight. I have come to the conclusion that my ancestors – generations of Irish immigrants who survived the Little Ice-Age and the potato famine – have given me a genetic heritage that would allow me to survive well on a cup of tea and a crust of bread a day, and anything beyond that gets converted in to – um…. reserves. And I do enjoy my meals.
I have been making much more healthy and delicious meals that I ever used to. I never fry anything anymore, and we have salad as the main course often and all of that – but summer comes along and so do the endless barbecues and parties celebrating the glorious blue skies that are so rare and wonderful here. A little pie, a little whipped cream… a little potato salad, and oh yes, I will just have another rib, thank you…
All of these distraction make it so difficult to concentrate on writing.
What were we talking about? Never mind; let’s have a glass of ice tea on the back porch, and we can watch the clouds go by for a while.