Over the past six months, I have been beavering away in my little garden studio, writing more words than usual.
To get the creative juices flowing, I’ve dug up old photos and gone ‘ooohh’ at images of our children when they still had rolls of baby fat around their legs. And I must admit I've gotten oh-so-nostalgic at seeing our daughter’s little fingers wrap themselves around a pomegranate. I felt that delicious feeling of re-discovering an image I hadn't seen for a while, and seeing it in a new light.
Photo by George Mifsud
I've written about powerful childhood smells (think old-fashioned milk bars) and borrowed heavily from the ‘Smitten Series,’ a compilation of emails that my then lover (now husband) George and I sent to each other in the first year of our courtship.
And I've salivated anew about some of my most memorable meals. For the record, these include spaghetti puttanesca in a dingy café in Naples, a tiny tub of ricotta in a raucous market stall in Sicily, and sweatbreads in my mother’s kitchen in Collingwood. I was a little taken aback to read that the cute looking (and sounding) sweetbreads are in fact the thymus gland from the throat of a calf or lamb. When I asked my mother about them, she too remembered how nice they tasted. She suggested we buy some and cook them. Can I bring myself to eat them again knowing what I now know? This may have to be the subject of a future post.
The reason why I’ve been so introspective is that I’m writing a memoir, framed through the lens of food. I haven’t dared speak of it to many people for fear that I will put the ‘evil eye’ on myself (this subject in of itself warrants a whole chapter in the book) and thus not complete it.
But after months of disciplining myself to write at least a 1000 words a day on most days, I can finally see the light. I now have a somewhat raw manuscript that is getting close to the required word count. I am thinking that with a fair bit of chopping, pruning and beautifying over the summer, I might actually meet my deadline early next year. Importantly, I hope to have created something that not only resonates with me, but with others.
Segue to another point. I think writing is like exercise. It can be a bit hard at times, but the more you do it, the easier it seems to get. And you feel oh-so-good for having done it. I'm pretty excited to be talking about the writing process and more in a series of workshops at Writers Victoria in April next year titled The Road to Redemption: A twelve-step program for procrastinating writers (read not-so-subtle plug for the course).
Well, here’s to moments and memories that give our lives meaning—thank goodness for the pen, and the lens, that can help us capture them.