Sparkly Hubby walked into the kitchen this morning and sniffed. “What are you doing?”

“Making soup,” I said.

He peered into the steaming pot, grabbed the spoon, stirred the carrots. Sampled the salted rice and onions. “You know, it’s going to be eighty today,” he said mid-taste, as though I couldn’t feel the humid air flowing in from the kitchen window.

“I know.”

“Having trouble with something?” he asked.

I nodded.  “Third to last chapter.”

“Still?”  He closed the lid with a tinny clang.  “That’s what I thought,” he answered.  “At least the soup’s good.”

He was right, the soup’s good. The writing? Not so much. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, the words don’t flow.  Taking a physical break works for many writers.  Me too.  There’s nothing like slathering a fresh coat of paint on a wall to dislodge the verbal logjam, but I can’t do that today: I have a Frankenfoot.  A walking cast, the result of a nicely *don’t ask* broken toe.

So today, instead of ladders and latex, a stainless pot would free my words.  Jerry Seinfeld would be proud, ’cause the guy, well he’s funny, uses lots of words, and he likes his soup.

Beef with brown rice on the menu. I chopped veggies and mixed broth, all the while plotting.  “Do I really kill off  X?” I wondered to myself, “or will a nice maiming do the trick.”  I continued my mental diatribe: “Will anyone notice if I switch point-of-view, because honestly, X’s ‘big scene’ would resound so much better in first person, not third.”  Important things, killing-off and point-of-view, at least to a writer; quandaries best solved over a glass of Cabernet, but not this early. It wasn’t quite wine-thirty anywhere in the midwest.  Maybe in Germany, where they sip lager with their Goetta and eggs, but around here, I’ve got a rep to maintain. At least around my kids: no wine before noon.  Just broth.

Around lunchtime, the rice cooked al dente, the buds still firm but plump and full, we gathered on the deck in swimsuits, and ladled up a steaming bowl of soul-warming, word-inspiring soup.

Served best today with a glass of icy cold tea, because after all, it was eighty degrees outside.

Six words.  Seven Syllables.  Everything shifted every so gently.

Yesterday, I had the honor of attending a workshop hosted by an author whom I greatly admire.  Did I mentioned she is published?  Very published ladies and gentlemen, in the way of three or more dozen novels, not including the novels re-printed in Russian, French, and other languages I wished I would have learned before my brain stopped being a sponge.

The last half of the workshop the author held a critique of our works in progress.  Of the group of five, my critique was last.  Why?  Because of a shoe.  One errant shoe lost by my seven-year old Busy Son (because, after all, I am the Chief Finder of Things, Lost and Hidden).  The shoe was nowhere to be found, and we needed something other than a sock covering his left foot before I could drop them off with Sparkly Hubby and make my way north to the bookstore. I was last to read because I found the shoe, but forgot my manuscript.

I arrived at the workshop, and realizing  my error, my stomach dropped through my size ten Born clogs. I was lucky.  Linda, the goddess of Books Alive, grabbed my SD card and saved the day, printing my work in progress and handed it to me just as the fourth review ended.

So the author read my words.  Midway, she stopped reading my novel, her eyes glistening.  I was concerned that I had erred terribly with my writing, perhaps I included too many adverbs or “ands” or “thens” — maybe it was just bad composition.  I thought the worst — until I realized that my words had made her cry.   And when she was done reading she looked at me and uttered the six words that title this post, the seven syllables that will keep me writing, for another day.

Now, if I could just find that missing backpack . . .