Opening the Notebook

Posted by on Sep 8, 2008 in Writing | 5 comments

Over the weekend I accomplished a crucial writing task. It wasn’t ground-shaking, yet it was everything.

Yesterday was one of those relaxed harvest-time Sundays, the kind that lulls me into feeling like I’ll live forever. I hit the farmer’s market and, because dogs aren’t allowed, donated a couple of bucks to a homeless man’s cause in exchange for his dogsitting skills. His “Hooters” t-shirt cracked me up.

I bought kale in hopes that I’d figure out how to season it. I also didn’t know how to prepare fresh tuna, but I purchased a fish steak and asked for an easy cooking tip from the fishmonger (is that word allowed these days?): Marinate for many hours in one part olive oil, two parts soy sauce, and fresh lime juice to taste; then bake.

I also bought my zukes and my various berries. Nothing much on my mind, but I felt my new Record notebook waiting for me in the car.

Then, hungry, I sat around an outdoor cafe with a nonfat latte and a veggie scramble. (I appear to be a healthy eater, don’t I? Don’t be fooled.)

I loitered at this outdoor cafe with dog sunbathing at my feet for longer than usual because I’d brought my new Record notebook with me. I opened that notebook and here is what I wrote:

1. I entitled the notebook “Novel #5 Development Notebook”.

2. I dated the first pristine page and announced to myself, to my inner creative, to the universe — take your pick — my intentions to develop a new novel idea.

3. I noted my initial idea for this new novel, which isn’t an idea so much as a vague sense of direction and one cool, conflict-inciting fact about my protagonist.

4. I listed first steps, which are about reading and research and general exploring for now.

That’s it. Like I said, this task was everything. I officially opened up my brain to the new story idea. I hope it doesn’t keep me waiting!

P.S. The tuna turned out yummy. The kale remains mysterious — any suggestions out there?

5 Comments

  1. New notebooks are good for things like these. I must soon pick up a pen too!

  2. Yes, pens are the other half of the equation, aren’t they? What’s a notebook without the pen?

  3. Back in the day, I fed my miserable pet iguana piles and piles of kale and now I can’t stand the sight of the stuff so I can’t offer any cooking tips, but I can congratulate you on a fresh start. Yeah!

  4. Kale is one of my personal faves. It’s as easy as…well, actually it’s tons easier to make than pie. (Yes, I know. I always say that.)

    Rinse several leaves in a bowl of water (five or six if they’re small). Stem them. (You can either just chop the stem off up to the green, or actually take out some of the stem up into the green. Not to worry; the thick part of the stem is perfectly edible, just sometimes stringy.) Now chop the leaves up roughly into short strips. (This goes faster if you stack them first so that you can chop several at a time.)

    Chop a little onion and/or garlic and toss it into a small kettle with a bit of olive oil. Sear the onions on medium high until they just start to brown. Pour 1/4 cup or so of chicken stock in with the onions (or use some kind of bouillon and water, or just water and salt). I also like to add a light splash of marsala or white wine here, if I have some open. A bit of pepper is good, too. Whatever.

    Toss the big pile of chopped kale into the kettle. Press it all in there until you can fit the lid on. Trust me. It will shrink to a fraction of its volume.

    Turn the heat down and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or so, stirring once or twice. Season to taste. Eat. Yum!

  5. tracer, this fresh start is probably going to take awhile: I’m sooo slow when it comes to developing initial story ideas…

    BigD: Right on, you came through and I imagined you might. The kale awaits, looking a little intimidating, but I shall try out your suggestion tonight! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *