Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fig Fool

I am a fool for figs. I wait all summer until the stores have them and then I gorge. This year I just couldn’t bring myself to stretch my budget to pay for a pound of the luscious fruit. I was going to do without. But yesterday my best writing buddy bought me a quart. I was so happy I almost cried. In my novel Act of Grace, figs, with little nuggets of goat cheese perched in their moist beaks, appears in one of the pivotal scenes. It is one of my favorite parts of the book:

Dinner arrived at the table like floats in a culinary Mardi Gras parade. First to arrive was a salad of field greens whose creased and feathery leaves had been laid out as a nest for slivers of sugar encrusted almonds and small green figs whose soft beaky mouths had been propped open to hold smooth pebbles of a soft cheese. The salad was a bright introduction to a steaming mound of Jambalaya that was a treasure trove of pearly rice strewn with gems of moist chicken, thick smoky lips of ham and shrimp the size of a big baby’s fists.
From Act of Grace~

In honor of my friend I give you a recipe for Fresh Figs With Goat Cheese and Peppered Honey from Bon Appetit Magazine

1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 fresh figs
1/4 cup soft fresh goat cheese

Combine honey and pepper in small pitcher; stir to blend. Starting at stem end, cut each fig into quarters, stopping 1/2 inch from bottom to leave base intact. Gently press figs open. Spoon 1 teaspoon cheese into center of each. Arrange figs on platter; drizzle with peppered honey.
Of course this is just as good with out the honey, but the honey accents the flavors of the figs and the cheese. I also have served this with a really nice wine.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Soul Work

I’m getting restless waiting for more responses from editors. I use to think I was a patient woman but now I’m being tested. So, to easy my anxiety I thought I would explore some quotes about writing.

My favorite quote is from the poet Sharon Doubiago who taught me how to correctly use poetic language in a novel. She was a wonderful mentor and is a wonderful poet.I love how she describes writing as “soul work". To read more about her click here. I definitely tend toward the hurdle of glibness she speaks about in the quote below.

A successful work of literature is one that fuses spirit and craft equally, has linguistic, emotional, psychological, intellectual, philosophical, aesthetic integrity, involves the full self of the writer, is more honest than clever, is not primarily an artifice, is not primarily from a program or formula, is not primarily for selfish gain in the world, brings pleasure which usually has to do with recognition, is more from generosity than hate (the exploration and highlighting of hate being part of the task, but as Wallace Stevens says “Love tips the scales”), is somehow a contribution to human survival (the writer’s as well as for all); is the best that it can be. Is soul work.

Some writers are born gifted in language. Their hurdle is glibness. Some writers stutter and stammer to the end; their hurdle is in saying it. A successful work of literature fuses the poles of muteness and the gods speaking.