Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On writing and beef stew

Yesterday, I went into a momma-frenzy.  That's what I call those days where you do piles of laundry, drive the extra mile to get the good meat at Trader Joe's (also some of those awesome dark chocolate peanut butter cups), make orthodontist appointments, pick up drycleaning, vaccuum the hall stairs...all those things that make the house feel organized and the family content and cared for.  Didn't get much writing done but I was feeling all set up for the week ahead and freed of the guilt of not feeding the family right because I cooked up a storm. Including a giant batch of amazing-smelling beef stew which I promised to feed the kids the very next evening.

Except that, after my ridiculously busy wash-drive-cook day, I tumbled into bed, forgetting the stew was cooling on the counter. This morning at 5 AM, I found the pot and had to throw the whole batch away. As my husband will attest, I was irrationally upset by this. (Details omitted because I don't like to curse on my blog.) And, in truth, I do know that violence and hunger and all kinds of horrible things are happening in the world and that my silly forgotten stew is NOT a real problem.

Still, I was pretty sure that this day, which I had carefully planned to alot five hours to writing, was now going to be a total bust due to my mood PLUS the fact that now the kids were likely to get tuna sandwiches for dinner.  I was about to curl up with a huge bowl of the aforementioned peanut butter cups when, suddenly, I decided to get in the car. I drove back to Trader Joe's while dictating a couple of really solid revision ideas into my phone. Resisting the urge to go straight to my computer when I got home, I went back to the stove, browned a fresh batch of meat, diced more carrots, onions and celery, and so on.

Despite being down to 2.5 hours of writing time, I am happy to report that the house smells great again. I look forward to seeing my kids' happy faces when they eat their delicious, promised, perfect-for-cold-nights stew supper.

I just wanted to share this with you before I open my manuscript because, for me, writing is a lot like that stew. Sometimes you dice and saute, write and revise, labor and love, only to be forced to throw it all away.

The trick is to forgive yourself, get back in the car, and start again.


Laura S. said...

Inspiring post, Stasia! That stew sounds delicious. Making it all again had to be a drag, but I'm sure seeing your kids' well-fed happy faces (and your own!) made it all worth it. Same goes for writing. When we have to throw something away and start over, it's a huge bummer, but that just means something new and better is just waiting to show up on the page!

Molly Hall said...

GREAT POST, Stasia! I am just so jealous that you had such a Powerhouse Mama day! I need one of those! I need ten of those! My kids have way too many nights of gluten-free chicken nuggets... And great advice on writing too. It always hurts to toss out those beef stew pages... but, sometimes there is no other choice!

Stasia said...

Thanks for your comments, Laura & Molly. Must add that the second batch of beef stew was DEEE-licious :) - Stasia