First up, I want to introduce you to a shiny NEW blog, written by my friend and colleague John Walker. Known to many as "Johnnie Walker" from the www.pilgrimage-to-santiago.com website, this guy is a true Camino Head with a navigator´s heart. He´s re-written the Confraternity of St. James Guides to the Caminos Ingles and Portuguese, and he´s now working on the Madrid Route.
He´s a born storyteller. He´s Scottish, but living in London. He´s a musician, a wit, and a ton of fun to hang out with. (Philip and I spent an evening with him and another pilgrim feller in Madrid in December, and a merry time was had by all.) So check him out at here. Tell him Reb sent you.
John is one of several writers I´ve been working with lately. It seems like my Editing Star is on the rise these days, and the projects are pouring in from all over... some of them even PAY something! I sometimes feel the urge to write something original myself, or to pick up some of the stuff I wrote in the past for another look. But taking other peoples´ good stuff, and making it excellent? Very gratifying! Sometimes they even say "thank you." Or like John Walker, they take a chance on a new technology medium and put it up on a blog. (in this case before I could send him the edit!)
Keeping a blog can be really stimulating for a writer. It opens your senses. It makes you listen a bit more closely to what people say, and take better notice of the little environmental details... it´s all everyday stuff, but a writer with an eye for a story will snatch it up and work it into the mix, and sometimes recycle it into a bit of fun, or even a bit of revelation, to share with all 45 of the friends and relations who read him!
Aside from all that, it puts the writer into The Now. He catches himself living his life "in the moment," not all caught up in plans for tomorrow or rehashes of the past. It´s a delicious place to be. Even if you still might need an editor sometimes, to deal with those split infinitives and passive voices.
Enough of my blathering. The sun is shining, the back yard is a morass, but we´ve already achieved much today. We took the dogs on an expedition to the woods outside Legartos, a nearby village. There we found some fresh-cut holm oaks. We made off with a couple bits of freshly-cut wood, which I have been on the lookout for for quite some time. (Who would´ve thought chunks of wood would be so hard to get? All I wanted was oak, beech, or birch from healthy trees cut down since the Autumn leaf fall, 10 to 15 cm. diameter and less than a meter long. Is that so much to ask?)
So when I saw a huge swath of cut oak just lying there, I took three of the less-desireable logs, ones with twists or branches that would make them unsuited for building anything. I felt guilty for a few minutes, even. Back at home drilled holes in them, and innoculated each one with a different kind of mushroom spawn. I chucked them then into the dark, damp, warmth of the bodega, where they will -- maybe -- sometime within the next year, produce crops of Shiitake, Oyster, and Lion´s Mane shrooms!
(Yeah, some people join a bowling league, or the Altar Guild, or they collect moths or comic books or Hummel figurines. I grow mushrooms. It´s better than dealing crack, OK?) ... and if I ever get good mushrooms I will take some to Legartos to share.
Today is Patrick´s birthday, too. I made him a beautiful apple tart using a dead-simple recipe: just flour, sugar, apples, salt, and butter. That´s it! Try it yourself: http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/11/simplest-apple-tart/ . Using brown sugar, and good tart apples like Fuji or Pink Lady, makes all the difference. (I used apples from our tree, but I don´t know what kind they are.) And the leftover apple syrup you can use on pancakes. Mmmm!
Lunch is done, Paddy´s snoring on the sofa, the dogs are sacked-out on the tiles. There´s nothing doing. So I shall, too, shuffle off to Nap-Land, now that I have dutifully blogged of blogging, dogging, logging, and tarts.