Taking a “Shining” to Writing.

So, speed work and a six miler yesterday did not happen.

Sorry to go all Opera House Producer on you.

skip to the one minute mark.

Why does this happen? THE FECKING DEATH KNELL THAT IS THE YUCK. I can hear the knell. The knell sounds a fuckton like tinnitus. ring.buzz.ring. RING. GAH! I have suffered from massive ear infections my entire life, and this one is a right bitch. For a bit of time on Monday, everyone was lethargic, so I was certain we all had the flu of 2014-15! Alas, no. The kids just stayed up after I’d fallen asleep, and were merely *tired.* (Read: lazy bumpkins who really need to start pulling their weight! ARE THERE NO WORKHOUSES?! ;))

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Yes, she layered her “Let it Go” nightgown with a classy green number underneath.

So it was only me with this unexpected winter gift in the middle of the blizzard that wasn’t. I’m still dragging quite a bit today, but I am going to do my damndest to both write and run today. After Monday and a bit of yesterday, I was actually able to open my eyes long enough to read a bit, and I finished two books. (Yes, I know, “But Cat, you already talked about words on pages once this week!!”) BFD. Hear me out for a minute. I finished one book that just lit the fire under my ass to keep.writing. Every day. Two thousand words.

I’m not spouting hyperbole when I tell you the book was, quite possibly, life-changing. What book was it, you ask?

picture is link.

If you are a student, if you are a blogger, if you write fiction or memoir or long post-it notes that you leave in bathroom stalls, read this book.  I previously read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and that book really altered my perspective on why I write. Stephen King’s book made my reasons feel real and validated. He also imparts some beautiful and concise advice on the doing of things. What to avoid, what to include, what makes him want to cast you as a villain who has tiny testicles that grow from his ears…and this:

The Road to  Hell is paved with Adverbs (1)

I swear, I am having this tattooed somewhere…private. (mutual hatred of adverbs really makes me excited. HA!  see what I did there?)

I have loved Stephen King since the eighth grade.¹ Ok, I haven’t loved him, as I don’t know him. Though, he’s on my list of candidates of people of whom I’d like to second-parent adopt me alongside Joe Biden! A girl and dream, people. That’s all I am, a girl and a dream.

I remember reading Carrie, and wishing I was a fucking telekinetic, instead of the awkward emo kid who can see sounds.

“Oh yeah, Nicole Meaniepantsbitchface? How ya like me now?”

I’d use my fancy powers and write,”I love Marilyn Manson” all over her notebooks. Her shame would’ve been epic.

Either way, I may or may not have read his entire body of work in the span of a year of study halls and detention. I had some time to fill. I suspect the reason I did not read this book until now, is that I didn’t consider myself a *real writer.* Even though I’ve been writing fiction since I was old enough to form sentences–including winning a poetry contest at age 10 about not smoking pot, which was published in the Massillon Independent. A few years later, I believe I used that poem to roll a joint. Oh, teenage angst.

I just felt like “a person who writes;” I never felt as though I owned the title of “writer.”

Seriously, though? Fuck that. I have my demons. I’ve written about them here more often than a teenage boy needs his supplies of Jergens and tissues. My confidence has never been great. I’m the fucking middle child; what do you expect? Hint: we need more validation than most.

As if it wasn’t obvious.

Much of his advice really speared me in the gray matter. It was nice to read that I’m not the only one who is never more than five feet from a book. The itching drive and stark terror of creating fiction is experienced even by the biggest names in publishing. And that life is meant to be lived, and books are written to be read, and pages are meant to be filled–and why shouldn’t I be the one to fill them?

Just experiencing this book–because I don’t feel as though I merely read it–reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.

Because that is exactly what reading this book felt like. I was absorbing the joy of it–of writing–through my eyes and into my brain, and shooting through each of my fingertips as they were motivated to stamp on the keys of my Mac. Truly transcendent and I feel lucky to have read it.

Five Stars, fifteen years late.

¹ apparently, I have also loved his son for a few years now. I had no idea until three days ago that Joe Hill was his son. How funny is it that in that roundup post, I put the two together? HA!

NOW? The food.

Honestly, this recipe came about because I was trying to get the Peanut to eat something other than bread and butter for lunch. Since she loves eggs and salsa and sweet potatoes separately, I wondered if I combined the flavors, would she still be interested? Turns out she was! SUCCESS!

Southwestern-Style Sweet Potato Egg Boats

Southwestern-Style Sweet Potato  Egg Boats Southwestern-Style Sweet Potato  Egg Boats Southwestern-Style Sweet Potato  Egg Boats

 

Southwestern-Style Sweet Potato Egg Boats

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Keywords: appetizer breakfast side snack vegetarian

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 large sweet potato, baked (350F about 1 hour)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar, plus more for the top
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

optional toppings

  • hot sauce
  • scallions
  • cilantro

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F

bake sweet potato until JUST tender

split the baked sweet potato in two and scoop out most of its insides, save a rim around the edge

combine the guts with spices, most of the cheese, butter, salt and pepper and refill the two halves, leaving a divot to fill with the egg

crack an egg into each divot

return to oven

bake 10 minutes

top with remaining cheese

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8 thoughts on “Taking a “Shining” to Writing.

  1. Fortunately for you, I do not have to issue empty threats over this post as I have a well-worn copy on my writing desk already. My first SK was also Carrie. The first one I got caught reading was Christine. My mom banned me from reading my dad's books. So I checked them out of the school library. Not my dad's books. My dad suggested I go with Firestarter as the least likely to damage my my preteen brain. He and I watched "It" together when it was made into a movie. He got scared and had to leave the room. Ahhh....good times.
  2. Your recommendations have not steered me wrong yet, I'm adding this to the neverending list of reads as soon as I finish typing. Also sweet potatoes. With eggs in the middle. Your Peanut is a genius.

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