Sunday, December 7th, 2003 • 1 Comment on I Need Comfort Food
I’m cold. I’m sleepy. I’m grumpy. I need comfort food.
I think I’m going to make this for dinner:
1 tablespoon diced garlic 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 diced purple onion
1/2 cup chopped (or torn) fresh cilantro
1 can Italian style tomatoes
1 can Cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
1 can Kidney Beans, dark or light
6 oz of small shell pasta
4-6 oz. of spicy italian sausage
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 cup of water
1 cup of white wine
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
Heat oil in large stock pot and brown the sausage with the garlic and onion. Add all remaining ingredients, except for the pasta shells and shredded cheese. Simmer until heated through and beans are tender. Toss in the pasta and cook until pasta is al dente.
Serve with sprinkling of shredded parmesan to taste.
The recipe is courtesy of the multi-talented Joelle. I’ll probably add a few more vegetables and some beef broth to make it heartier.
Yum. I’m hungry. Thanks for the idea, Joelle.
Saturday, December 6th, 2003 • 2 Comments on When Good Trees Go Bad
I decorated three Christmas trees in three days this week. One of them—mine—fell over. I do not think it was a result of my decorating. It is a big, broad, fat tree. A plus-sized tree. A tree that should shop at the Men’s Big and Tall Shop (or Lane Bryant, if it’s a girl, which I don’t think it is). A tree so mighty, my twenty-pound cast iron stand could not keep it standing. It fell with a crash and a jingle of bells at 2:30 in the morning the day after I put it up. Why do things like that never happen during the day? I was awake, I was annoyed. The tree is standing again, but I think it is beginning to list to one side and I’m not hopeful of it remaining upright. It is a big, broad, fat, drunken tree. About thirty ornaments fell off, which I will rehang just as soon as a) I have time and b) I’m convinced the tree isn’t going to toss back a bottle of tequila and take another header. Big, broad, fat, drunken, bad
tree and it is mine, so I love it anyway.
The other two trees, library trees, are still standing because there is no tequila in the library.
Thursday, December 4th, 2003 • No Comments on Writers Write
During the summer I submitted a story for an upcoming anthology to an editor I would love to work with. I heard from the editor a couple days ago. She rejected the story for this anthology but asked if she could hold my story for inclusion in a forthcoming anthology she’ll be working on next year. That’s the second time this has happened—an editor rejecting something for a current collection but holding it for a future one—and though it’s still a rejection, it’s very, very nice to know that editors like my work enough to find a home for it.
Now, if only selling books were so easy. Of course, I can hardly complain about my inability to sell books as I have not submitted a book length manuscript to any publisher in quite some time. I don’t even want to think about just how long it’s been. Years.
While having my name on a book cover is more rewarding than having a story in an anthology, writing short fiction is easier to sell, without the large investment of blood, sweat and tears books require. If a story gets rejected, I have invested only a few hours of my time and energy and there is always the possibility of selling it to another editor for another anthology. In fact, I have only three or four stories that have not been published. Books, on the other hand, require months of work and have a very limited publishing window. A particular book may have only two or three possible places it could go. My backlog of unpublished novels is actually greater than my backlog of unpublished short fiction. Is it any wonder I’ve stuck with the shorts for the past few years?
Having said all that, I still want to write (and sell) books. One of my problems has always been the inability to write to market. In the long process of writing-submitting-getting rejected I have learned that I can’t write for someone else, I have to write for myself. My writing falls flat when I’m trying to please an editor; when I write for myself (or that ‘one reader’ Stephen King talks about in On Writing ), the words flow like water.
I don’t suppose I’ll ever be truly famous for my writing simply because I don’t have the marketing savvy to sell myself or the luck to be in the right place when a particular trend hits. Still, as long as I can keep selling a fair amount of what I write, I’ll consider myself successful.