Monday, May 18, 2009

Lunch and Lessons

*****

Friend Jane came over for lunch and a visit on Saturday. Jane brought an amazing sun dried tomato and brie appetizer. I did up my usual down home – upscale fusion. As we slathered garlicky brie onto crackers and munched hot beef sandwiches, we chatted optimistically about our writing.

Let me say: it’s amazing how much we writers can learn from one another. Not just about our craft, but about how writing exists as part of our lives. As she always does, Jane gave me a lot to think about. About embracing our roots and using them as a creative force for the future. About finite time and how to be a responsible steward of it. About learning everything we can from the resources around us. And about moving on when we’ve grown beyond them.

After she left, I sat in the quiet space she left behind and considered my situation. It’s clear I have some choices to make. Up until now, I’ve done a rather scattered approach to my writing: throw seeds of myself at every opportunity and see if anything viable takes root. The problem is I now have seedlings growing everywhere. Some are dying. Some are neglected, some overgrown. I’m not doing anything well, because I’m trying to do it all.

Clearly, it’s time to prune.

I spent the rest of the weekend considering options. I have too many things that distract me from my writing, too many things that drain my energy. There are things I invest effort in, but receive only nominal return. And one or two things that are just plain more than I can handle. But they’re choices, which means I don’t have to keep saying yes to them.

So thanks, to Jane, for friendship and good advice. You didn’t know you were giving it, but I’d be smart to take it. And just for the fun of it, I’m going to post my hot beef recipe. Now you can have lunch and Jane's good advice, too :)

Shredded Roast Beef for Sandwiches

2 -1/2 - 3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast
1 sweet onion, chopped
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. beef base or 1 beef bouillon cube
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
seasoned salt, to taste

Place roast in slow cooker with onion, garlic powder, water, beef base, thyme, bay leaf and pepper. Cook on high for 5- 6 hours, or until tender and meat pulls apart easily.

Remove meat from slow cooker and set aside to cool slightly. Leave juices in slow cooker. Pull meat apart with two forks. Remove any fat or gristle and discard it.

Return shredded meat to cooker with juices. Add seasoning salt to taste. If too juicy, sift 1 - 2 Tbsp. of flour over the meat and stir. Turn slow cooker to low until serving. Serve hot on rolls.

Serves 6 – 8.

6 comments:

Jane said...

THAT was ME? What was in that tea you were drinking??
It was mutually beneficial, dear. And delicious as well.
jb

Linda said...

Thanks Greta... I needed to hear this. My stuff's looking like weeds cropping up in an abandoned derelict lot... If Jane could please also post the brie recipe.

So what were your time and energy drainers? Peace, Linda

Greta said...

Time and energy drainers: out of control volunteer duty and too many writing groups.

Recipe: originally from Gourmet mag

Jane’s Dangerously Delicious Brie

Wheel of brie
2T minced fresh parsley
2T freshly grated parmesan, or other
4 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and minced (Jane adds more...)
1T oil from the tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, minced and mashed
1 tsp. dried basil

Trim rind from brie. Mix remaining ingredients and slather on brie. (As Jane says, slather directly on thighs.) Serve with fancy, seedy crackers. Snarl threateningly at hubby when he tries to share the leftovers.

JohnOBX said...

An apt comparison, Greta. For the last month or so every time I've had a few hours to myself, I've found an excuse to do something besides write 90% of the time. My energy efficiency is on par with a '60's muscle car. Meh.

--John

Stephen said...

Great post, Greta. It seems that just living a regular life--work, family, friends--is enough to drain the energy out of writing. I'm not complaining about any of those. They certainly hold their place. However, it's all the other things added on top that can push the writing so far away that you're left wondering what happened.

This is why I don't get too involved in many other things in life--things like church. Does it make me look like a schmuck? It probably does. But writing has to come first.

You made the right choice.

... Paige said...

those 2 little letters are right up there on the scale of --if--

Yumm--beefy, we like that in Texas but I suppose everyone knows that as we are all as big as cows... that's a joke people only some of us are that big.