I’m home today, writing in my usual spot, wishing I could be sitting in KJ’s sipping my coffee, watching the people move in and out, most with smiles on their faces. Like many, I’m staying close to home these days. It helps that I work here, have all my tools, resources, and laptop. But I miss being out and about, miss the exchange of smiles and ideas, the joy of movement.
Maybe that’s what is impacting my flow of ideas. The book I’m working on has stalled and I can’t seem to generate my usual enthusiasm. My mantra has always been just keep writing, something of value will come, some aha moment will strike, that will move the story along.
One interesting thing that has happened over the last few weeks is that my love of Greece has been re-sparked. I visited there when I was in my late teens. I was on a European tour with my grandparents. I wasn’t blown away by France, or Italy, but as soon as I put a foot on to Greek soil, I felt like I’d come home. I’ve always been partial to Greek food, loved the restaurant in the city I grew up in, that served dolmades, and a dish they called lamb garnish. The meat fell away from the bone, the potatoes were perfectly cooked, the vegetables were flavorful and aromatic. Since I began Tipping the Scales, my chef, Simon Iraklidis, has tempted my taste buds with his menu. (I read somewhere that Iraklidis is associated with the Greek god, Heracles, and it was that precise moment the surname was chosen) I’ve experimented with a lot of recipes since then, making Greek baked ziti, lemon and oregano chicken. I’ve tasted new kinds of cheeses like Halloumi, and Kasseri, and Kefalotyri. The latter added a wonderful flavor to some potato gnocchi I made with browned butter and sage. I even went so far as to purchase a cookbook The Mediterranean Table which boasts the benefits of eating healthy.
It seems with every book written, I get into some part of the story with a vengeance. Through Simon I’ve reconnected with some of the foods I love, whereas Minerva has introduced me to the life of a judge. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always been one of my heroes and I wanted to fashion Minerva after her but Minerva didn’t want to be pidgeon holed. She came from a different background, had a different mind set. She still had to learn what it meant to be a woman in a man’s world and how much of her real self to bring to the table. But her core values of integrity and fairness resembled RBG’s, as well as her strong ethical code which put her in good standing with her peers and the people who faced her on the bench. Minerva is the quality of air, balanced between light and dark, able to see all facets of a situation, find the common ground with objectivity, and her essence is rooted in intellectual pursuit.
There are definitely parts of the story I can plot out, characters I can mold, but when I get to it, the characters, at times, have minds of their own. Writing is part strategy, technique, persistence, and expression. It’s also a flow of words that are strung together, emotions lived on the page, a story that wants to be told. It’s also a way to learn about life, love, friendships, food, and some of the wounds that affect all of us.
Minerva isn’t talking right now. She’s probably thinking, trying to align what she feels with what she thinks. I’ve got some prodding to do today, so I best get to it.