Writers Horoscope for October 19: Open the confessional.

Admit it, that half-finished crossword puzzle has more allure than that half-completed blog post.

Even the half-mowed lawn has more allure than the half-completed blog post.

Solution: Ditch that blog post and write about the writing vs. anything-and-everything-else tug-of-war. You’re not alone, that’s for sure.

I should have been writing. Instead…Stovetop Chocolate Cake.

 

File_001Yes, stovetop. A challenge worth pursuing.

This recipe came from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street website.

And I have to say, as with Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen [C. Kimball’s most recent endeavor], the accompanying video segments were extremely helpful.

***

As the cake steams–yep, steams– toward completion, some questions and notions:

  • This will be my default ‘baking’ method during the heat of summer. 
  • A while back, I mentioned my tendency to do weird, lame stuff in the kitchen, such as mixing or chopping at the very edge of the counter. Wull-gee, what are the odds something’s going to end up on the floor? I do eventually learn from repeated bungling, however. So this time, the floor was spared the usual cascade of ingredients. Bravo.
  • Buuuut, did that keep me from having my laptop hanging precariously over counter’s edge as I began typing this post? Uhhh, no. Seems like once I hit my threshold of competency, all bets are off. Hide the knives, check the burners, and pray. [Doesn’t matter which god you choose, by the way. They all understand kitchen hazards. And at some point in the process, I become the poster child.]
  • I should have hired a first-grader to cut my circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.
  • With this stovetop strategy, will we still be treated to the warm, enveloping aroma of a baked chocolate cake? Answer: No.
  • I’m not supposed to lift that lid till the prescribed 23 minutes has lapsed. I actually resisted. Decision: It needed an extra five to seven minutes. On the upside, unless the water has evaporated, the risk of burning the cake is minimal. In other words, steam bath: forgiving…oven heat: cruel and merciless.
  • When it comes to chocolate desserts, our mantra: Dark = better. Darker = more better.
  • Always remember: Eating cake by the hunk enhances flavor by 23%. [Margin of error: +/- 5%]
  • My wife rolls her eyes at my Philistine ways, bBut I say, ‘If I bake it, I break it.’ And it’s oh-so-good that way. Besides, she gets to even out the ragged edges.

Final verdict: This recipe is a keeper. The cake came out dark and dense and moist. What more could you want?

 

File_000(1)

The steaming takes place inside a Dutch oven–actually any pot with a tight-fitting lid and deep/wide enough to fit an eight or nine-inch cake pan. The coil of aluminum foil simply keeps the cake above the heated water.

File_000

The chocolate shmeer on the plate is a sure sign of this cake’s moistness. [The added chocolate chunks don’t hurt either.]

Added notes: Apologies to Bitter Ben, whose blog I follow. Rather than bittersweet, I used semi-sweet chocolate chunks from Trader Joe’s.

And to faithful reader Virginia [Roses in the Rubble], try this recipe. It should be a fair payback for the recipes you’ve shared with me.

 

Writers Horoscope for October 18: You rise above nagging fear today.

 

  • “Do you really want to offer readers a peek into the real you?”
  • “That editor doesn’t want to read your query, much less your manuscript.”
  • “That subject’s been covered ad nauseum.”

Yep, the voice of hindrance is back.

What to do? Simplify your task. Focus on process, not product. And these eight other ways to Harness Your Fear and Fuel Your Writing. [Thank you, Sage Cohen]

Want to stay brave?

Here is a go-to daily kick-in-the-seat-of-the-pants book you might be interested in. [Gee, that may have just set a world record for number of hyphens in a single sentence. Very dashing of me**, I must say.]

Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You by Robie Rogge and Dian Smith

***

This just in from the ‘exhibit a little fearlessness’ department, a fellow writer from a Facebook group dared us to share her post. So I am. [I’m guessing her timing is meant to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, though, of course, the message applies all year.]

Certainly, in the most difficult moments of life you realize who your true friends are and which ones really appreciate you.
Unfortunately, like most friendships, FB friends will leave you in the middle of a story. They will post a “like” for the story, but in reality they do not take time to read your post if they see it’s lengthy. More than half of you have already stopped or will stop reading right here. Some may have already scrolled on to the next post in their feed.
Well, I decided to post this message in memory of other family and friends who this awful disease has taken, or is affecting at this time.
It will be interesting to see who will take the time to read this entire post; a little test just to see who reads, and who shares without reading.
If you have read everything so far, select “like” so I can put a thank you in your profile.
Cancer is a very invasive and destructive enemy. Even after the end of treatment for cancer, the body is still ravaged and fights with itself in an attempt to reconstruct and repair the damage caused by radiation, chemotherapy and other agents used to combat the disease. It’s a very long process. Wouldn’t you think it would be nice to see who can relate to what someone is going through?
If you , like me, know someone who is fighting cancer, or if you know someone in remission, or knew someone who sadly lost the battle, please honour them by copying and pasting this post on FB.
I DO believe a select few of my friends will re-post this, to show their support for their family/friend who may be struggling.
COPY and paste – NOT – SHARE this post.
I’d like to know who took a minute from their day to read this and took a second minute to think about and honour that “someone”.
I did. I hope you do too.


** Believe me, inserting that pun took a fair amount of courage as well. ;->

Writers Horoscope for October 16: Today, endure the fickleness of your livelihood.

Livelihood? How about ‘annoying hobby’?

gratisography frustration writer post-it notes

Either way, it was 3:00 AM** and you tossed and turned and tossed again.

Your spouse stumbled out to the peace and quiet of the living room couch.
The border collie followed soon after.

And you were left to brood.

Shouldn’t the plural of ‘low-life’ be ‘low-lives’?

And Snow White’s annoying posse–shouldn’t they be the Seven Dwarves?

Let the brooding continue…and here you had just come to terms with your own flawfulness.


 

image courtesy of gratisography.comgratisography.com

**Why is it always 3:00 AM?