Saturday, December 29, 2007

On This Day 12-29-2007

On this chosen day when Writer Woman debuts her new blog, she decides to cook a German Chocolate cake from scratch. Writer Woman is mostly a fiction writer with sometimes a flair for cooking, but more often just a struggling writer. Her cooking expertise seems to be in fast dishes such as tacos or salads. So why would she choose to bake a cake from scratch?

Last night Writer Woman's daughter was married in a civil service to the “Love of Her Life.” Writer Woman doesn't know “Love of Her Life” too well. She was asked by “Love of Her Life” to make a German Chocolate cake, his favorite. Writer Woman agreed. Why? That's a question she is still pondering.

As Writer Woman gathered her ingredients, she felt sure, confident, that yes she was the best. This confidence lasted until the three layers came out of the oven. By this point, her kitchen was covered with dirty bowls of every size: one to separate the whites from the yolks, one to cream the sugar and butter, and one to mix all the dry ingredients.

She knew she was in deep when the layers refused to let go of the cake pans. The coconut and pecan icing simmered on the stove as she knocked the edges of the pan with a knife. At first this was a soft beat, a rhythm, but then the energy increased into banging when it became evident that the layers would not release and fall to the plate provided.

Finally after much coaching, the layers were free, but not without damage. Writer Woman thought of giving up, throwing in the towel and driving to the bakery, but her husband had the car.

Another hour later, the icing was applied to the cracked and lopsided layers, hiding all defects, or most of them anyway. Writer Woman shoved the cake into the frig and closed the door, vowing not to look at it again. She then proceeded to eat a good size bag of Doritos. The salt enhances the sugar. She has done this ever since she kicked the habit of smoking ten years ago.

What does any of this have to do with writing? Well, for one thing, this piece of ranting and three journal pages amounts to Writer Woman's accomplished writing for the day. Second, cake baking has everything to do with writing.

When one begins a writing project, she has an idea of how perfect it's going to be. Let's say a short story is envisioned. It's simple write down what has been playing through one's head. Ah, but fifty pages later and a whole other story, she is lost and can't release the earlier project from her thoughts. The fifty pages are disconnected and fragmented. She patches here and there with cleaner sentences, an image or two, maybe even a few similes. After stepping back to review the damage, the story is not as bad as she expected, not the same story, but not too bad after all. If she puts it away for a while, the story seems stronger, better than she had ever hoped.

As writers we have to be prepared to make a few lopsided cakes. And on that bit of wisdom, Writer Woman signs off for today.

Oh yeah, she was going to post a picture of the cake, but alas her husband took his digital camera with him. Too bad. Readers will not get to feast their eyes on her cake.

Stay tuned for more adventures of Writer Woman as she fights to remain on the page.

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