This year I celebrated my birthday with fondue! My personal chef went a bit overboard and made four pots – two with broth and two with oil, one each for seafood and for non-seafood. This was not only fun (and tasty!), it also made for an interesting experience as there were only four people at dinner…
I own a fifth fondue pot, but we didn’t use it this time – which was a very good thing, because there was no more room on the table. 🙂
We used these super awesome ceramic plates my mom made in 1971. And check out that box of forks!
Writing-wise, I finally finished “Gardening for Souls,” a short story I started writing in 2004 – thirteen years ago. Even I was surprised when I looked that up! I’ve worked on it occasionally since then, the last time in 2014, so it was in pretty decent shape, but it still needed some work to get it ready for publication.
It was neat to see how much my writing has improved since the last time I worked on this story – and I can only imagine how much better the story is now than in the first draft! It feels really good to have this one wrapped up, and I’m also quite pleased to be down to having just a handful of old stories that I’d like to spruce up over time. There’s nothing wrong with reworking an older story, but I’ve found most stories I wrote more than 2-3 years ago need a fair amount of work.
Here’s an excerpt from “Gardening for Souls.”
Rebecca watched, smiling, and then looked up as something outside caught her eye.
A squirrel scampered along the top of the fence, and then bounded over to a tree, where something red and blue sat almost hidden by the leaves. Yet another gnome.
The squirrel jumped away from the gnome to another branch, as if the gnome made the squirrel uncomfortable, too.
What kind of person would have this many garden gnomes? And who would keep them inside the house? Rebecca had found them scattered everywhere—under the kitchen sink, in the tiny attic, and even behind the hot water heater.
She had hoped to meet the seller at the closing last week, but the previous owner had been represented by an old, dour man with a power of attorney. No explanation had been given, and he’d been so taciturn she’d felt it would have been rude to ask for details. All she knew about the previous owner was the woman’s name—Nellie Smith.
Why had Nellie had all these garden gnomes? She didn’t appear to have been much of a gardener. The yard was pretty barren—there were a few trees but no flowers, and the grass coverage was sketchy at best. It looked as though the sprinklers hadn’t been run in years.
Regardless of why Nellie had assembled all of the gnomes, they looked ridiculous scattered about the house and yard, the kind of thing a crazy old lady would collect.
And they were creepy, too, with their serious expressions—not a single one was smiling.
I’m busy working on three more short stories. I’m working on a story about Gilroy, a cat who is a witch’s familiar; I’m making notes and thinking about a faery story inspired by the mythological Holly King; and I’m working out some plot details for a fairy tale told from a dragon’s point of view. Obviously I can only work on one story at a time, but I often think through plot details when I’m doing something like hiking with Rosie and Jasper. As long as I keep playing their pine cone game, they don’t seem to mind. 🙂