Thoughts for Thursday - Moroccan Mint Tea

Have you all been following Maud Netwon's posts of Recipes from Writers? It's great.

Here's one that especially caught my eye. It was one of the most enjoyable things about my Morocco visit.

Laila LaLami's Moroccan Mint Tea:

Boil water in a kettle. Pour a little hot water in a tea pot to warm it up, then pour it out. Put in a rounded tablespoon of Chinese gun-powder green tea, then add a full handful of fresh mint. Add sugar to taste. (Most Moroccans like their mint tea extra sweet and would use about five tablespoons of sugar in a mid-size tea pot.)

Add boiling water, gently stir, and then let sit for about five minutes before serving (in a small glass, never in a cup.) If you like your tea pretty strong (i.e. Sahrawi style) place the tea pot directly on a very light fire and wait until foam forms at the top, then remove from the stove and serve. That’s about it.

This infusion is perfect with holiday cookies, or alone. I haven’t yet managed to screw this one up, and if I can make it, then, really, anyone can.


Planning a plan

The illustrious Bloglily asked fellow writers (including me, and boy do I feel like a sham) how they go about planning their novels.

Naturally, she and a few other authors have posted some nifty replies.

I'm still planning mine...

See, I don't really have a plan, and that is part of the trouble. To wit:

Plan A: In 2000, I quit my full-time job to freelance, because I had gotten some encouragement from some major authors and their agents. I was supposed to work on The Novel. Well, I was so freaked out by not having steady income, that I pretty much just focused on that. Now, in my defense, I did have a sort of a plan: I managed to join 3 different editing and writing consultant places, covering both coasts, which found me jobs for a small fee. That left me time to 1) write and 2) find other jobs. Which sort of worked til 9/11.

Plan B: When I found a full-time job after 9/11 I still managed to write and do many writing-related activities. I wrote and published several short stories, managed to win some fellowships and travel abroad, and somehow by a miracle, yet another agent contacted me about...The Novel. And, somehow I managed to work on The Novel--but in an uncomfortably haphazard way. That is, I did some free-writing and then I tried to come up with a plan. And then I reworked the plan. And then I reworked the plan. Soon, I was working on the plan more than...The Novel. Then the job became a nightmare of overwork, which left me little time for anything other than plugging the constantly sprouting holes in my soul from which the job sucked all life force.

Which leads me to...

Plan C: Okay, as most of you know, I quit said-nasty job and fled back to the erudite University environment, which has a comforting amount of vitality, learning, and stimulation. Hurray! Though this job has had a strikingly difficult learning curve (okay, I had to learn about 5 different computer applications), I can feel the life force of my soul returning. Therefore, I will be soon coming up with a plan to share with Bloglily and all of my fellow writers out there.

Until then, I am going to rip off ideas from Bloglily, Hob, Debbie, Nova, Relaxed Dad, Mike, and all of the others who post some plans out there. Courtney, are you listening?


Seasonal Invitation: Reading A Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

'Tis the season to explore holiday-related literature!

I invite you to join me in reading and/or listening to Dylan Thomas' "A Christmas in Wales." Just the thing to curl up with in front of a crackling hearth, with a cup of eggnog, hot chocolate or mulled wine.

I will be reading the version illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. I will follow that up by listening to Thomas read in the audio version. You can download this for free at Salon.com.

I will post my impressions December 14. You can email me your comments or links to your posts, comment here or comment on my December 14 post. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Peace on earth to everyone. Hope you can join in the merriment.