The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

31 October 2013

And so it begins: National Novel Writing Month

The goal:  1,667 words each day; 50,000 words by month's end.
This is my first NaNoWriMo. I am very excited to see what comes of the effort and am anxious to get started.
There is a vague plot roughed out in my mind - working title is 'Stained Glass'.  The idea came to me a few nights ago and it's been hard to hold back, not get started right away. 
Stay tuned for updates!


30 October 2013

Things I've learned in the kitchen

When butchering a duck, it is important to have a very sharp knife.

Using a pot-holder to remove a hot dish from the oven is wise; forgetting heat lingers once the dish is out of the oven will result in scorched hands and blistered forearms.

Cranberries bounce. They bounce far.

Margarine containers shatter when dropped on the floor.

An error of 100 degrees makes a difference to the end result.

There is not enough time to clean the bathroom while also sautéing carrots before they scorch.

It is best to turn off the immersion blender before lifting it out of the smoothie.

You will not remember the next morning that you placed one bowl over another on the drying rack the night before, until one crashes to the floor as you're putting them away.

Singing - the louder the better - makes any kitchen task more fun.

** Late addition:  always, always, ALWAYS label what is in the baggies you stash in the freezer. What seems obviously chicken soup, or grape tomatoes, or strawberries when they go in the icebox, becomes indistinguishable a few weeks later. Chicken soup makes for a very unappetising smoothie.

23 October 2013

Of conundrums and squirrels

This is why  my list of books I'd like to read 'some day' is so long: I may have perfectly good and reasonable intentions of reading one particular book, but another one catches my eye, like a bright and shiny squirrel, too tempting to resist. All the while I'm telling myself, "this will just take a day or two, then I promise you, Cardinal Newman, or Dante, that I will get right back to you, because I really do want to read your book."

You know what happens next, don't you, Reader?

That's right: another bright and shiny squirrel entices me further away from the book of my intention.
Woe to me.

Sometimes, though, the bright and shiny squirrel actually turns out to be a treasure, and such is the case with Conundrums for the Long Week-End: England, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Lord Peter Wimsey by Robert Kuhn McGregor, with Ethan Lewis. Regular visitors to the Lighthouse will know that I have a particular fondness for the detective stories of Dorothy L. Sayers, and that Peter Wimsey is my literary hero of choice. He is, in fact, very near my ideal man.

A book about Lord Peter, then, is nigh impossible to resist. What makes this book so delightful is that it combines a history of England between the World Wars with a biography of Sayers, a literary criticism of the Wimsey novels, and a chart of the development of Wimsey from first to last novel. Fascinating. It was good fun to survey the eleven Wimsey novels in context with history, to have the development of style and intent explained, and to see the chronology of author and character together.

I would always wish for more, that the Wimsey story continued. As McGregor and Lewis point out, however, he was thoroughly a man of his time, and his time came to an end with the Second World War. To take Lord Peter into the modern era would be to turn him into an anachronism. Dorothy L. Sayers respected the integrity of her man (and her art) enough to let him go.

20 October 2013

Write like the beagle


Lift your hands up, put your head down, and just write.

It brings to mind this quote from Hemingway, who, arguably, knew a thing or two about the how of writing:

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

When all else fails, follow the example of the beagle: start with the obvious and don't stop there. Keep on bleeding.

18 October 2013

The month of November - NaNoWriMo

Well this is awkward, isn't it? Rather like not speaking to a friend for nearly a month and then trying to pick up where you left off.

It used to be easier to write often when I lived with the Peanuts (see the 'CTKS' label) because young boys are an unending source of entertainment and amusing stories. My own life is interesting to me, but hardly has broad appeal to anyone else.

Any writing I've been doing in the last few weeks has been for a commitment I have elsewhere. I've been scurrying in spare moments to stock pile enough material to see me through a month and a half because...


I'm going to do the NaNoWriMo challenge in November, which is, essentially, to write a novel in a month.

A novel.

Daunting, no?

No.  I've decided it ain't no big thing.  I'm not going to worry so much about plot or structure or character development, or 'show, don't tell' or anything technical or word-crafty. I'm just going to write every day. I'm going to write in my notebook with a freshly sharpened pencil. I'm going to banish the hesitation and fear that has been lurking in my brain, keeping me from tackling something of this scope, tying my imagination in knots, and holding my stories hostage.

I'm going to write for a month.  And I'm saying so right here at The Lighthouse so I can't pretend I never meant to do it.

Would you consider holding me accountable? Check in now and then, badger me, be a pest, ask impertinent questions?

Writing is such a solitary endeavor, which I quite like, but sometimes it's nice to have a companion on the journey.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?  If so, I'd love to hear about it.  I'm registered as evertess - let's be writing buddies!