A long-overdue lawn trimming revealed a rabbit’s nest in the yard. There are two babies that we can see. Twins, each no bigger than a child’s hand. A quick internet search revealed some interesting facts: that baby rabbits need only to nurse a couple times a day, and do so very quickly (unlike the seemingly endless nursing sessions I experienced with my own twins). But then, it’s “quick as a bunny,” not “quick as a baby.”
It was a joy to see the excitement on my more tender-hearted boy’s face at his discovery. While the boys left them alone–wild rabbits are not pets–they did name them: Peter and Bugs. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t worry that these rabbits might not make it. Death’s natural, and all that. Only, now I do worry–about that and everything else. I also worry I might not make it through this year without securing a real pet for my boys, something to hold and care for. I’ve suggested a domesticated rabbit; the boys are talking about a dog, again.
I’m chronicling my days of COVID-19-induced isolation here at the blog with the help of WordPress Discover . This post was in response to Discover Prompt Day 6: Hands. Won’t you join in?
Of course, I’m still reading and writing the Rust Belt and beyond. Looking for an author interview, writing advice, or story? See my categories above.
Ever get olfactory déjà vu, and you think: this place smells like home? Or, a person’s accent takes your mind to the street where you grew up? Or the way a loved one squeezes your knee or tucks your hair behind your ear ignites your primitive brain and takes you there, wherever that is, home.
I write fiction to get my characters–and by extension me–home.
I generally start writing when I have that first, budding image of my main character. Before I sit down to write, I feel a sense of unease, even anxiety, rising as I begin to imagine this character’s problem. (There has to be a problem.) Sometimes, I’ll also imagine the final image, problem righted, character home (if not in geography, in body or mind or spirit.)
Between the beginning image and the end is the journey–home.
Wow, when I write it out like this, it sounds simple. (It’s not simple.) But maybe thinking about the fiction-writing process in this way can ease the actual writing part just a little bit, whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo or not.
And here’s a writing advice gem in the TheGuardian from an author with quite a few books under her belt, Kate Pullinger. So, she’s reached home a lot. This quote speaks to so many aspects of my life, really:
Writing is a kind of confidence trick – you have to con yourself into thinking you can do it, into thinking that what you are writing is the Real McCoy.
I’ve started a new WIP, which is a little like falling in love all over again. New plot lines and characters make for new discoveries. All a little exciting; all a little frightening.
Some of those new discoveries come from background research. Many others come from my own memories resurfaced.
As lots of writers will tell you, if I’m talking about it, I’m not writing it. So, I won’t go into great detail. But I was inspired by Lorna at Gin & Lemonade to post on a fall food memory. Think: food memory; think: taste. Right? The first thing I thought was sound.
See, one of my most potent fall food memories is the sound of my mom stirring soup on the stove top as I woke from a dead sleep after some kind of dental procedure, I think it was. The backstory is blurry, but the sound of the steel spoon on a steel pot forever rings in my memory. It’s the sound of care and comfort, warmth and frugality (no doubt there were dried beans aplenty in that soup.)
But back to my WIP and one of my main characters. An eighteen year old girl on the cusp of entering college–and life, really–is losing her hearing.
Imagine losing one of your precious senses.
I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, pondering what sounds I could let go and lose forever. For one, I could stand to forget my yelling-at-my-kids chest voice–one I didn’t even know I had before parenthood. (Lots of interesting discussion on this topic in fiction and nonfiction lately, from Lauren Groff’s story to Lydia Kiesling’s essay.)
Some sounds I couldn’t stand to lose: the sounds of a quiet house; my kids’ voices; and my mom stirring a pot of soup as I awake from a silent sleep.
There is no true silence; I’ve learned that much about hearing loss.
There’s a woman in town here who has lost her sense of smell, and with it, her sense of taste. I feel a little bit like that. I try to remember what my mom’s soup that long-ago evening might have smelled or tasted like, but I can’t–at least not yet.
I regret that I don’t have my mom’s recorded voice, with the nasally accent she passed down to me–along with her veiny hands, her love of puns, and the cookbook of family recipes she made, one for each of us kids, when she was sick.
That soup recipe is likely in there; without knowing it, I may make it for my family this fall.
What are your favorite foods of fall? What foods take you back to your native place?
My native Rust Belt has some distinctive Tastes of Home, if you’d like to explore!