From my study window I can glimpse, through the bristle of roofs and fences, a freight train slowly rolling through the neighborhood. It is strange to live so close to the tracks. I wonder if we are on the right side or the wrong.
Yesterday evening, as the chicken and rice soup simmered, I lit a fire in the woodstove, sat myself on the couch with a cup of coffee, and instructed myself to write. And oddly enough that bossiness worked: my housework essay underwent a sudden burst of progress. While nowhere close to finished, it now seems to have a more purposeful arc, and I am slowly figuring out how to insert my narrative voice and an imagined third-person character in and among the historical details. But slowly remains the operative word. Writing this essay is like wading through molasses.
[FYI, the soup was magnificent. First, I made broth (a half-dozen unpeeled garlic cloves, half an onion, a carrot, a pinch of dried sage, and two dried hot peppers, boiled it up for an hour and then sieved and pressed out the solids); added diced potatoes, carrots, and chicken breast and simmered for half an hour; added a cup of leftover cooked basmati rice and a handful of spinach and heated through; added, off heat, a maceration of fresh basil leaves, diced fresh tomato, minced garlic, fruity olive oil, and grated parmesan. Served with a toasted baguette and a salad of sliced radishes, capers, pecans, and greens.]