There is something about summer – and especially spending a few weeks on the coast of Maine – that makes me want to try new things. I guess it’s the “kid at camp” syndrome where you sign up for riflery even though you’re scared of guns, have never fired one before and probably (hopefully) won’t again.
This year it’s cooking a goose and taking a drawing lesson. And lots of freewriting to warm up for another book. I’ve been talking about that for a while. More below.
My Goose Is [Not] Cooked
I was chatting with the meat man after buying some locally grown lamb chops and steaks at the farmers’ market. He mentioned that he had some fresh geese so I impulsively bought one. My husband loves roasted duck. Goose / duck whatever. Oops. Turns out they are quite different.
I tweeted out a What is your favorite goose recipe? and got some useful replies. Twitter is great, BTW, for asking odd questions and getting useful answers. Particularly if you have a good following and don’t ask too often.
Then I googled around and came up with some not-so-reassuring advice from the ChubbyHubby (Whining, Dining and Marriage) blog:
A [goose] is by no means a dish to be prepared on a whim (despite the fact that I acquired said bird on a whim). You need to have the luxury of time–especially if you plan on serving other dishes with it. I’d liken the process to reading War and Peace. Fortunately, I actually take great pleasure in wading through epic novels.
– Chubby Hubby on her version of Julia Child’s Braised Goose With Chestnuts and Sausage
Eek. Well the damn thing is in the freezer for a few days until my husband gets up here.
A Drawing Lesson
I’m one of those unfortunate folks whose discerning eyes are not connected to my hand when it comes to rendering, say, pine trees on a rocky coast. I can see the beauty. I can write about it. But I can’t draw it. Really. I can’t get the perspective or even the shapes. No matter what I draw it looks like the handiwork of a five-year-old.
So I decided to take a drawing lesson from my sumi-e art teacher, Frederica Marshall. She kindly put up with me last summer for her sumi-e landscape painting workshop. I’ve signed up again. A warmup drawing lesson seemed like a good idea. The course is next week. If I create something that’s not totally embarrassing maybe I’ll post it.
Last summer I experimented with what author and marketing strategist Mark Levy (and others) call freewriting. It means putting your bottom on the chair and your fingers on the keyboard and writing for a set period of time (10 or 15 minutes to start, longer when you’re accustomed to it). You just write. Anything. No editing, no self criticism allowed.
Mark has just published the revised edition of his wonderful Accidental Genius, which I highly recommend. It’s an insightful, useful guide on how to use freewriting to jumpstart idea generation whether it’s to solve a business problem or articulate a book idea. Full disclosure: my blurb is on the back cover. I love this book.
I’ve been freewriting since last summer when I wrote a parody of author John McPhee. This summer I’m concentrating on slowly unpacking my idea for a second book.
I’m not quite ready to talk about the topic yet. Stay tuned.