Joys of Veggie

Veggie Bacon

Have you ever had veggie bacon? Truth be told, vegetables and bacon really don’t belong together in the same sentence and it ain’t cheap. Just saying. It is lower fat though and well, it isn’t meat. We have recently discovered the joys of low fat eating. We went from using a stick of butter every three days or so to every three weeks or so. We cut all kinds of high fats foods from our diet. It wasn’t that hard. However, cutting out full Sunday breakfast with bacon, eggs, fried potatoes and toast slathered in butter, did not go down without a fight. We’ve been hunting for new breakfast friends ever since. That’s why this past weekend we tried veggie bacon.
Within a minute of heating, a bacon-like aroma filled the kitchen. I say ‘bacon-like’ because imagination was needed to turn a kind of vitamin-ish smell into hickory smoke. I have an active imagination so I went with it. The strips didn’t crinkle, but they did crackle, like dried cardboard. My husband took one look and wouldn’t even take a bite. I’m stubborn and was not going to give up on the idea so easy. I crumbled some in my turmeric yellow scrambled egg whites and declared it bacon flavored.
That was as close to success as veggie bacon came.
Pulling this experience apart it occurred to me, I could feel cheated or foolish for trying. I could bemoan the loss of the Sunday breakfast extravaganza I dreamt about or I could congratulate myself for delving into an unknown territory and count myself among those brave souls that eat veggie bacon. It’s the difference of wallowing in short term disappointment or packing the experience up as a long term tool.
It’s the same with writing projects. They usually start with a burst of creative joy, all kinds of excitement at bringing new characters to life. Thoughts like, ‘this is the big one’ or ‘my writing is super hot this time’ and the confident assertion ‘I’ve got this’ roll through the mind like the beat of a victory march. But the story hits a snag. A read to someone yields a confused look and tentative smile. Your own perusal causes you to curse about how terrible it sounds. It is veggie bacon, no worse it’s burnt veggie bacon.( I might know a little bit about this too).
So what to do? Ask yourself if you are in it for the short term satisfaction or are you ready for the long road that will require the carrying of tools crafted by disappointment. Totally up to you. As for me, I’m going to try the veggie breakfast sausage. I have high hopes.

Lost and Found

I owe it all to Rose and her curiosity.

September 2019 summer vacation at the Jersey Shore. Twelve hours of drive, drive, drive spurred on by visions of lazy days reading a Hugh Howey novel, starting a puzzle and of course, always, working on my latest writing project. My I-pad waited like a faithful friend tucked into a travel bag that usually held a laptop.  

When we arrived, we breathed in the salty ocean air, stretched our legs, and piled the contents of the car onto a cart. As usual my husband constructed a perfect tower of luggage, grocery bags, extra pillows, and what must have been fifty assorted loose items.  The last thing to go on top was the I-pad bag. Too late I saw the bag slip to the ground and the I-Pad slide out. To my great relief no harm was done. Neither one of us noticed the red and black flash drive skitter to freedom. I would never miss it since I didn’t intend to bring it and had no PC to install it on.

Days later, mission accomplished, I relaxed with my paperback book open, cold lemonade in my Contigo cup and a bag of barbecue chips strategically hidden from seagulls, though there was one standing on one leg looking straight at me. My phone rang. It was the hotel front desk. A guest had called to say she found something that might be mine, but she was checked out. Could I call her?

I wondered if it was a scam.

When Rose answered and we started to talk, we may have well been classmates at school. My husband looked on with a bewildered face. I just smiled at him as Rose explained that she had pulled in next to our car and found a red flash drive. She apologized for taking it with her thinking it belonged to her friend that had been in the parking space last. Later she opened the drive.

“Are you an author?” she asked.

“Aspiring,” I said.

“Well I spent the past few hours reading your story, I couldn’t put it down. I need to know what happens to Darrell.”

I laughed. I wasn’t even sure she had the latest draft for the story that I had abandoned two years ago.

She shared with me what she liked about it. How it reminded her of the show “The Walking Dead”, and did I model the protagonist after one of the actors on the show? I did not. She gave me some pointers, parts of the story that weren’t working and then promised to return the drive.

It was the single most igniting interaction with a stranger I’ve ever had. I immediately started working on the novel again. Rose volunteered to be a reader and wanted to know how the story would end. So began the quest to stop abandoning characters to digital dungeons, and do what it takes to bring them to life not only in my mind but in as many others that would let them in.

If you know a writer, the greatest gift you can give is to read their drafts and give words of affirmation sprinkled with suggestions. I am in debt to Rose. I need to repay her with a free copy of the published book. Would you join me as I keep my promise to Rose?

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