Whether it inspires a story or just makes your day a little more interesting, here’s an image to begin the morning with:
Archive for May, 2012
Whether it inspires a story or just serves to make your day a little more interesting, here’s an image to start the morning with:
Whether it inspires a story or just makes your day a little more interesting, here’s an image to start the morning with:
Lately I feel as if I’m caught betwixt and between, stuck in a liminal state.
Anthropologist Arnold van Gennep defined the concept of liminality as “in-between situations and conditions that are characterized by the dislocation of established structures, the reversal of hierarchies, and uncertainty regarding the continuity of tradition and future outcomes.”
My, Arnold, you do have a way with words.
Frankly, this is always a liminal time of year for me. The semester is over, but my grading isn’t done. Spring is clearly ending but summer hasn’t begun. I’m transitioning from a world structured by my day job to a world without structure. Pile onto that the fact that I’ve just finished a draft of one novel and must begin a draft of another, and the sensation of being stuck between one state and another is complete.
I’m not complaining, per se, but grappling for an explanation as to why I feel so very, very blah. My attempts at grading have been desultory at best. Rather than dive into that new novel, I’ve distracted myself by writing a piece of flash fiction that, in all likelihood, makes no sense. It doesn’t help that it’s been raining and raining and raining.
This will pass. That’s the great thing about liminality. It’s a period of transition. Temporary. Fleeting. I will submit my grades. Summer will come. I will travel (to Spain, New Orleans, Seattle, Boston, and England to name a few) and I’ll frolic in a world of unfettered writing time.
But, for now, for today, I’m stuck. I wallow, my only companions dislocation, reversal, and uncertainty.
Did you know that the world’s oldest evidence for shoe use comes not from preserved footwear but from human toe bones?
Well, it’s true.
Preserved sandals or other ancient footwear don’t appear in the archaeological record until around 9,000 years ago (from a site in California). This is because biodegradable materials tend to preserve poorly. Recently, though, physical anthropologists have speculated that we may be able to determine when humans began wearing shoes indirectly by examining their toe bones.
People who go barefoot develop stronger, more robust toes than those who wear supportive footwear. Archaeologists have found a decrease in the size and strength of toe bones among Homo sapiens in Europe and the Middle East around 30,000 years ago, suggesting it was at this time that they began to innovate new footwear technologies.
Eat your heart out Christian Louboutin!
Here’s the article from National Geographic if you want to know more.
Homemade granola may be the perfect food — sweet, salty, crunchy, fruity, and healthy (though not, alas, low calorie). It’s also relatively simple to prepare, more a concept than a recipe.
This is nourish-the-writer-brain food and makes a saliva-inducing start to the day or a good energy boost in the afternoon.
My favorite kind of granola (and the “recipe” I share here) is one with lots of seeds and nuts in it. I don’t give quantities because this is a fluid recipe — add as much or as little of your favorite ingredients. You will need access to a good bulk-food section or health food store for some ingredients.
Start with an assortment of seeds and nuts – I use pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews – but you can add or omit whatever you like. Mix in proportions that prioritize your favorites.
Mix the seeds and nuts with oats and puffed rice to give the granola some body.
Prepare a dressing of 1/2 cup canola oil, 2 tbs good quality maple syrup, 1/4 cup honey, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Whisk this together and pour it over the nut, seed, and grain mixture. Stir well to coat everything. If you’ve really made a big batch of granola, you might need to double the dressing. The mixture should be damp, but not dripping.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Turn the granola mixture out onto baking sheets, spreading thinly and evenly. Bake the granola for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until well toasted, crispy and golden. It’s important to set a timer and stir regularly so the toasting is even and nothing burns. Use the time between stirs for writing sprints on your current novel or short story project.
Once the granola is well toasted, turn it all into a large bowl and mix with the dried fruit of your choice. I usually include dried cranberries and dried golden raisins, but you can put in whatever you prefer.
If you have the strength, it’s best to let the granola cool before diving in…but if you can’t wait, I won’t tell 😉
The best way to serve this granola is on top of some good plain yogurt with a drizzle of honey.