I ate at a favorite restaurant yesterday, Josephine’s. I love this place so much I used it as a setting in a novel.
Charlie’s Chili was an icehouse. Annie didn’t know what that meant before she became a Texan. The fact that the century old building once housed Finkle’s meat market said everything about its current incarnation.
It faced the end of a freeway exit ramp. That was why the owner left the tree. A live oak once grew up through the ceiling. Now, only the trunk remained, blocking the view from the door and forming a barricade to the patrons beyond. To the left was the bar. Booths lined the opposite wall, and tables filled the space between. The kitchen with its pass-through window anchored the back, and beside it, the hall to the restroom. Texas tunes played on the jukebox–Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, and the Dixie Chicks, before and after their George W. Bush comments.
The food was local. The beer was cold. The crowd crammed in like planks in the hardwood floor, warped and wavy with the shifting times.
Breaking a rule here. A while back, I decided NOT to write about writing. After all, I’m out to recruit readers not writers to my little slice of the internet. Crisply Spoken is supposed to be about developing my voice.
Problem #1: I got stuck. And when I have a problem, I’m miserable until I find an answer.
Problem #2: I found too many answers. The internet is loaded with advice. Most of it—not that great.
I read so many blogs about how to fix my slow drift into the soft haze of apathy, I started looking for a correlation. Wow. That sentence sure sums it all up into a tidy stack. The insight wasn’t tidy. It was NOT a Eureka moment. It was more like constipation. Like the hives. Like lactose intolerance. Definitely unbecoming. Absolutely passive aggressive.
In my search for the answer to writer’s block, the same title appeared again and again. Every creative with half a clue mentioned the same book. Since I don’t want to appear clueless, I’m sharing it with you.
I won’t summarize. If you have a real problem, you need to read the whole book. It’s short. 190 pages. I will say this. Now, I don’t worry if I’m good. I don’t worry if anyone will read my work. I don’t worry about finding an agent or making a sale. I worry about showing up. That’s the goal. Every day, I sit down at my laptop and type. It turns out, showing up works for me. If you’re struggling, I hope it works for you. Read the book, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
My husband never learned to put like things together or anything in the same place twice. In his preschool years, a shape-sorter toy never appeared under his family’s Christmas tree. You know, the bucket with the star-shaped, round, and triangular holes in the lid? Most toddlers are adept at dropping the appropriate hunk of plastic through the correct opening. Not Bacon. In fact, matching of any kind isn’t his forte.
Before he leaves the house everyday, my girls give him a make-over. Cherry in particular’s been know to say. “No. Just. No.” To which he replies, “What?” And Coco answers, “Change your shirt.”
That’s easy enough to handle compared to what happens when he unloads the dishwasher. No kitchen tool is ever returned to its original location. In Bacon’s world, a wire whisk is a refugee, camping out in a nebulous borderland, never to return to its true home.
When Bacon reads this, I can predict his exact response. He’ll say what he always says, “If it bothers you so much that I can’t remember where things go, I just won’t put the dishes away.” So before I go on, let me reassure him, “It won’t work. Pleading ignorance is no excuse.”
We have one utensil drawer divided with IKEA drawer dividers. The immersion blender fits on the left. Corkscrew and wine stopper in a slot. Can opener and apple corer in a slot. Ice cream scoop and small spatula in a slot. At any time, I can open the drawer and reach for exactly the tool I need without a glance. Unless . . .
Despite this innate flaw in his character, we’ve survived twenty plus years of marriage. I suppose things could be worse.