Sunday, March 21, 2010

Writers' Meat

Last night marks the first time that I shared any part of my novel with other human beings.  My parents have not seen any part of it.  My friends have not seen any part of it.  My reading of the first two pages of my novel was a world premier event.

It took place at a Writer's Meetup that I belong to, the first meetup for this group I have been able to attend (and that wasn't canceled).  Seven other people shared parts of their stories that night.  All are incredible writers.  I felt my piece did not measure up to their brilliance.  And yet mine was discussed by the others as much as any of the other pieces were.  My child did not falter in his first introduction to the world.  I must not falter in finishing this novel.

The host of this event asked me, since I told them I have been working on it for eight years writing and many more years planning, if I ever worried that I wouldn't finish it.  The answer is "yes."  My other fear is that I thrust it out into the world before it's ready, just to get it out there.  But, at some point past the due date, birth must be induced.  This year the inducing process begins.

The meetup followed a French theme: we ate blood sausage and drank red wine, sampled Israeli cous-cous and indulged in some sort of massive pie with plums in it.  There was also absinthe to try (the legal stuff, not the stuff that'll make you cut off your ear and mail it to a prostitute).  The legal stuff, however, is still quite potent: one of the bottles I picked up was 62% alcohol.  I meant to try some, but the process of drinking it was so complicated that I couldn't be bothered.  It involves gizmos and sugar and cold water and measuring, which should be followed for the full effect, but which can be tiresome to set up.  Also, who knows how powerfully it would affect me.  I mean, 62%!  I often top out at two beers.

Blood sausage is meant to be eaten with horse radish, which I didn't know the first time I tried it.  I ate my second sausage with horse radish, however, and it made it that much better.  Here's what my plate looked like, sans cous-cous, horse radish, and the awesome pie:

I felt energized after last night's meetup, and still do.  I needed that energy, too, as it has been sagging as of late.  Job hunting with a crappy Internet connection will do that to you.  Of course, the view out the host's front window, which encompasses Lake Washington and several mountains (the Cascades?), didn't hurt.  Now I wish I had taken a photo of that view, rather than of this nasty-looking (but rather tasty) blood sausage.

Is this the beginning of the story proper?  Something tells me this is going to be quite a year.

Correction:  Actual absinthe has been legal in the U.S. since 2007 (thanks, desk calendar!), so this was the stuff that, if drunk in sufficient quantities, could cause you to cut off your ear and mail it to a prostitute.


  1. I certainly hope the horse-radish delivers.

    And I have to say, this is a better choice of photo than a landscape; landscapes are so cliched.

  2. Lake Washington would have been better than this picture of "blood"--ugh!--sausage! Probably it's some kind of ritualistic vow to accomplish something--is that so?

    To quote Daisaku Ikeda:

    Never for an instant forget the effort to renew your life, to build yourself anew. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway of life itself. This is not an easy task. Indeed, it may be the most severely challenging struggle there is. For opening the door to your own life is in the end more difficult than opening the door to all the mysteries of the universe.

  3. Landscapes might be cliched, Ronak, but Lake Washington is much more pleasant to look at than blood sausage, and more inspirational. I certainly would never tire of looking at it if I could see it from my window.

    To answer your question, S.M., blood sausage (or boudoir noir, the version I had--which apparently is also the name of an adult superstore) was big among writers in France (the Lost Generation, perhaps?). Also, I love the quote.

  4. Er... I was joking.
    Few people, I'd imagine, would tire of having a lake outside their window.

  5. Thereby proving your hypothesis about humor being regional. ;-P

  6. I empathize: I've been writing my story for years; I've written and rewritten [and ultimately recycled] thousands of pages. I never forget this quote:

    If you're going to try, go all the way; there is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire; you will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.

  7. Great quote! Do you know who wrote/said it?

  8. It's paraphrased from Factotum, an adaptation of Bukowski. I'm not sure if the quote actually appears in the book, since I've never read any of his writing.

  9. It's odd how the tastiest food can look so disgusting! {And vice versa.} Though sometimes, food that looks disgusting just tastes, well, disgusting!

    I wish I had an inspirational quote to share with you as well. But I have nothing. *sigh*
    My dad's been working on a book for a long time too. I'm not sure how long exactly. But maybe 10 years or so? He's just doing it for his own pleasure though, we have no ambition in our blood, I swear!


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