Monday, October 24, 2005

Excitement in the air

This coming weekend is my writing retreat--I may be more excited about this weekend than about my recent trip to Europe. It is one thing to spend time alone with your dear man, it is another thing entirely to have some time alone with your own mind.

All week I've been thinking about writing--what I want to accomplish, what writing techniques and principles I want to keep in mind, digging up my "voice" from where it has been buried since last Memorial Day weekend (when Brian took the rugrats away so I could have a weekend of fiction writing at home).

Of course, I'm also thinking about the food.

I'm lucky enough to be spending this retreat weekend with two other food-loving writers, Ami and Sarah. Breakfast will be provided by the B and B at which we are staying, but that leaves two lunches, a dinner and lots of good, sustaining writing snacks to plan. The food has to be nice enough to please three food-loving people without taking lots of time to prepare since we don't want to cut into writing time. I'm assuming a trip to Big 10 will cover the snack/lunch requirement of good cheese, cured meats, olives, and other small luxuries. But I'm still contemplating dinner and would love any suggestions. Boneless leg of lamb keeps coming to mind since it can be chucked in the oven and left alone for a while without lots of fiddling.

Other good news: I finished Pope Joan yesterday (ugh ugh ugh--excruciating to the bitter end) so it is out of my house now. My sympathies to Lea who is now in possession of the copy and has to read it before our book group meets next week. Last night in a fit of insomnia, I read a third of Kate Atkinson's Case Histories, which I am loving. She has such a sharp voice and dark humor that even when writing about tragedies (the book concerns three different tragedies/mysteries that one private investigator has to try and solve) the book never veers into melodrama. I loved Atkinson's first book Behind the Scenes at the Museum. It also had a vague mystery about it in that the main character, Ruby, suspects that something has been hidden from her, in this case a buried family secret. Case Histories is a bit more straight forward without the footnotes and asides that revealed information very gradually. But then she's taking on a rather different task twisting together three disparate storylines.

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