14 | Apples, chewing, 2017

Let's have another interlude, shall we?

It’s past midnight on the 15th. I usually have my monthly newsletter ready to go well before this, but lately things have been a little nebulous on the writing front. Hard to talk about in a clear way. It’s happening, but I just have nothing to report about it right now, you know?

I investigated my old TinyLetter to see if I could find some interesting tidbits about Seeker of the Lost Song, which at the time was in its first iteration - in SPACE, of all settings. I did find a couple of things, but I think I’ll save them for later, partly because I want to take a bit more time with my search. I started writing Seeker in 2018, after all, and there’s a lot I could potentially uncover.

Instead, I found a 2017 account of going to an author reading that I’m glad I wrote about. I remember the highlights, but not the details. I don’t remember the taste of the apple, for example, and I wish I did. I wish I’d followed through on my resolution to care more about apples, but here we are.

Oh, and bonus: A mention of writing The Quiet is Loud!

Hi,

First things first: I am still working on my novel! I know you haven't gotten much writing news lately, but I suppose telling you, "I've been losing heart with my novel in a major way" is not the kind of news I'm eager to just blurt out. But, well, I did, so there it is.

It's odd that I'm losing heart, because it's already written! I'm just making edits now. It should be easy, but perhaps that's why it's difficult. I have breathing room now, I've come down from the heights of NaNoWriMo and the jolt of energy it gave me in the months after. The story is done. Everyone has said their part. And I know a lot can change in editing, but I still feel a strange sense of, "Oh, this is what I made now, and there's nothing that can be different about it."

But maybe things will be a bit different now, at least when it comes to me actually working on it. I've written before about the way being in the audience for a writer interview can sort of electrify inspiration for me, remind me how very exciting it is to be a writer. Last week, I went to an event at one of my favourite bookstores, A Different Drummer Books. Helen Humphreys and Kathleen Winter were being interviewed. Their respective books seemed interesting and even though I haven’t yet read them I decided - why not? 

Usually, attending readings at this bookstore is something I do with my mom. We often don't know the author(s) beforehand, but it's always fun to have an evening of it, enjoying a reading with other people. We have never left disappointed. However, this time, Mom wasn't able to make it. I considered not going either, but there was something that kept nudging me, saying, "Go on!" I hadn't been to a reading on my own in a long time, and I remembered the extra-cozy feeling of it, a little nice thing to do for myself. 

I always forget how quickly the space fills up for these readings, but I managed to get a seat at the end of a row (the best, IMO). Almost as soon as I'd sat down, the two women beside me got up and left. At first I was worried that I'd already made some glaring social gaffe within ten seconds, but then I saw that they were making a beeline for the snacks. Snacks! Already this reading was off to a great start. I actually took a picture of my snack plate - a chocolate chip cookie and some strawberries - and that was my only visual documentation. I'll go to a reading alone, but it seems I'll never be emboldened enough to be obviously seen taking a photo. And I sort of regret that, because, as always, it turned out to be a great reading. Helen Humphreys' latest book was about the history of the apple in North America, and I was charmed by her passion for the topic. I love food and I love history, so it was perfect!

She even had some apples with her that she'd picked near her home, varieties I'd never heard of. She carved out slices to pass around, and I couldn't resist trying the apple with the blood-red flesh. Some members of the audience gasped when she cut into it. I got the last piece, about the size of a quarter. It was so beautiful, and I wanted to take a picture. Instead, I tried to make eating it last as long as possible. It had a smooth, decidedly apple taste, despite the nontraditional colour of its flesh. Maybe a hint of something rich. I'm ashamed to say that I forgot the name, and in trying to discover it later, I found out that there are several red-fleshed apples, mostly with names hinting at what's inside: Hidden Rose, Grenadine, Scarlet Surprise. I went home resolving to care much more about apples. Perfect timing, considering the time of year! The consumption of all possible apple-related products is one of my favourite things about fall, and now I'm looking forward to it more than ever.

And yes, I know it's a bit odd that I started this TinyLetter talking about writing and have now veered off into food. I suppose the memory of eating a cookie and the world's most beautiful apple at an author reading seems romantic and faraway to me now. On the weekend I had dental surgery, not a big deal in the grand scheme of things at all, but my capacity to chew things is all but gone. I know it's only been few days, but when you're restricted to liquid or no-chewing-necessary food, you kind of get a little soft in the knees at the memory of crunching into an apple slice, moving it around in your mouth to notice all the possible dimensions of its taste (even if your pea brain can only ever describe it as "smooth and tasting like an apple"). At least, that's how I've felt. I had a minorly rapturous response to the creamy, buttery, impossibly smooth mashed potatoes my husband made for me on Sunday night. Solid food! No chewing needed!The nature of my surgery means I can't make any expressions below the eyes, so imagine this rapturous response delivered with a completely neutral face, in a calm monotone. That's my life these days, people. In any case, writing! Despite everything, it's all happening!

(NB: 2023 Sammy is encouraged to know that writing, despite everything, was still all happening.)

PS, where I’m social media-ing:

I feel I should mention that I actually made a “Twitter is for the birds” joke here but deleted it in shame. But not so much shame that I didn’t also just tell you that I had done it. ANYWAY, my recent Twitter replacement of choice is Threads, and so far I’m having a lot of fun there. If you’re also on Threads, I can be found here!

Thanks for reading,
- Sg.

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