Monday, June 06, 2011
Random Thoughts' Monday: What's cooking...?
Start of another week... Sigh... You know I'm gonna ask where the past weekend went, innit? With both boys home, instead of leaving them to their own devices with the Playstation (and where they'll bash one another senseless in Tekken or Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat or what else other I'll-kill-you-while-you-kill-me-twice type of video game), so we hit the beach yesterday morning, probably our last stint to the coasts now that winter is coming in.
As for today... just put a dish of lamb tagine to slow-cook in the oven. It's a Moroccan dish - served with couscous - that features in my upcoming release, Walking The Edge. Reading all about it again through the edits last week made me crave the food once again and I set out to make it today. Well, yesterday, to be more precise - for you see, you have to cut and marinate the lamb with specific tagine spices overnight, before you'll combine the rest of the ingredients together after you've browned the marinated meat and place the dish in the oven to slow-cook over 2 hours (or a little more).
Making this dish, I couldn't help but realize how much the systematic and well-organized setup to prepare a tagine is also akin to balancing life and your many duties when you're an author. You cannot simply pull up and decide to do something - it all requires planning, like your tagine meat needs to be marinated overnight. You cannot just do something the way you and you alone want to - there are rules, a certain framework and order to follow, exactly like your recipe, its list of ingredients, and what to add first and how.
All in all, this dish has taken me 1 hour to put together and get it into the oven. Yet, looking at the instructions and the list of ingredients a mile long for tagine, you'd think you need to spend half a day in your kitchen to pull this together.
Life is like this too. You think it'll take a long, long time to get everything ironed out, but until you try, you won't know.
On Friday, I mentioned that I'm collaborating with my bestie Angela Guillaume on a story. We've given each other a deadline set in stone for that one - we have a plan, and we're doing it all ourselves. I now have until July 31 to pen down a 50K story. It sounds doable, or terribly daunting. I'm like, 6K a week? Isn't that madness? You gotta reckon that in the past, I wrote in one single block of time, uninterrupted. I could clock 3-4K words in one morning. But then I wrote only once a week - with my hectic schedule and to-do lists, I couldn't find a free block of time to write every so often. That's why I stalled with my WIPs too.
But I cannot do this now, not for this project! 6K a week, every week. How on earth...? And this got me thinking of the tagine recipe - where a little here and a little there break down the mile-long recipe page into something that's doable in steps, where one builds upon the other, and before you know it, you end up with a consistent whole.
That's what I'm aiming for in my writing now. A little everyday. I clocked down 1.1K this morning, and still found time to do my other tasks. Win-win on all fronts. This'll be my goal every working day now - 1K and slightly more everyday, to add up gradually to 50K come July 31.
My update for now, folks! What are you all up to this week?
From Mauritius with love,