That’s how I felt all last week, and very little writing got done. My mind wasn’t completely on sleep mode, though. I was busy feeding my creative self with other projects. And, sometimes, I was just busy.
In an effort to warm up and watch something develop (especially with my writing at a standstill), I dove back into the world of baking with yeast. Yeast and I are old enemies, in a kind and loving way. Yeast teases me, hints at some level of greatness, then leaves me with some concoction that weighs on the heavy side. The loaf of bread I pulled out of the oven last week, dense as it was, lacked substance, if you know what I mean.
It smelled good. It even looked good. But, all that kneading and watching and hoping yielded a rock-solid lump of grain that took a strong arm to cut into slices. If there was a circle of bakers similar to my writing critique group, I’d had marched that sucker straight to the table and begged them to show me no mercy. What is the secret to raising a perfect loaf of bread? And, can that translate into a good story? Or, at least a good sandwich?
Remember that comforter I mentioned? I wasn’t kidding when I said I went into hiding. Come 9pm most nights, I crawled into bed with a good book. I started and finished reading Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke, a story about what happens when religion and politics mix too closely and women’s rights are thrown to the wayside. If you like Margaret Atwood, you’ll love this book. If you swing to the right, you might not like it so much. I don’t want to push politics here, but, while Jordan’s book is futuristic, much of the story hits way too close to home.
On a lighter note, and to balance my reading experience, I’ve also been sifting through stories of the past. My daughter and I are knee-deep into the Little House on the Prairie series, currently reading The Long Winter (no wonder I’m in hibernation mode). My son and I are halfway through Blackwater Ben, a YA fiction about a boy working with his father in the cookhouse at a lumber camp. Both books are set around the 1800′s, around the same time as that novel I’m finishing up. So, while I’ve been reading with the kids, my brain has been absorbing nuances of the 19th century life and studying the techniques of writing historical fiction.
I’ve been drinking decaf for months now, maybe even a year. I can’t exactly remember, which is perhaps a side effect of cutting the caffeine. At any rate, I poured myself a cup of half decaf half regular last Saturday, and um, wow.
I finally sat down to do some writing and was typing 100 words per minute. No, I didn’t count the words, but who can count when you’re zipping through a draft of something that reads really well on a caffeine high. I even managed to rake several piles of leaves from the back yard all the way down the driveway to the curb like there was no tomorrow and somebody get me a refill on that coffee, would you?
What’s your story? Hibernation, or heavy on the coffee?