KaBooM WritersKaBooM Writers

Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!

Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!


The KaBooM Writers Notebook: Our Blog

Seeing and Saying

Fog-lacquered,

varnished in thin

pearl glaze,

 

the high dunes unfold,

a smudged sketch . . .

-Mark Doty, “Fog Suite”

 

Lately I have been considering my work.  What do I most need to be doing?  What are my priorities?  Oh, I do the daily tasks that come with keeping a place pleasant enough to nourish my spirit, interesting enough that I am always provoked to thought, and clean enough that I can be at ease there.  And I have other jobs as well — or possibly they’re roles: mother, sister, grandmother, wife.  Each has its delicious duties; each makes its demands.  But my work shapes my life as much as any of these do.

 

The passionate avocation which I am lucky enough to practice as a vocation  for years that work has been two-fold:  writing and teaching.  Artist’s work, each of them — asking from me flexibility and curiosity, patience and steadiness, imagination and presence.  The medium for my art is words.  My materials?  Ideas, insights, observation, the daily walk, my commute, my “down time” reading, knitting.  Nothing less than everything I have learned or wonder about about.  What I am able to take in, to truly see and ponder and then translate onto the page or into that evening’s class.

My job boils down to seeing and saying.

It seems to me that in all arts no matter what their medium — words, paint, lines in pencil or ink, photographs, symphonies, choral music, rap, stone, wood, metal — artists create in order to convey something they have observed.  A photographer takes in her surroundings, alert for shape and light and shadow.  Having seen something she wants to capture and share, she takes aim and uses her tools (not only the camera but everything she has learned about photography) and makes a piece of art.

 

The art I admire and try to emulate observes something closely and renders it vividly.  Ordinary things like the fog along a coast in Mark Doty’s poem.  He likens the fog to “damp scarves/(unhemmed, like petals/of a white peony)” and I know I have seen that very aspect of fog and failed to notice it or to find the words that would (like Doty’s) make it unmistakable.

 

Doty’s poem is partly about this “seeing and saying” I’ve been pondering lately:

 

What I’m trying to do

is fix this impossible

shift and flux, and say

 

how this fog-fired

green’s intensified

by sunlight filtered

 

through the atmosphere’s

wet linens–

 

He says what I have felt on mornings in eastern Kentucky when the fog both veiled and sharpened the colors on the hills.  And he goes on with lines that I have written toward (and never quite reached):

 

Do we love more

what we can’t say?

 

As if what we wanted

were to be brought

that much closer

 

to words’ failure

where desire begins?

 

That edge where my desire to express what I have seen meets my words’ failure draws me on.  It is my work — noticing, trying to say what I have seen.  My work as a teacher.  My work as a writer.

 

“Fog Suite,” by Mark Doty, from Sweet Machine (1998), collected in Fire to Fire, New and Selected Poems (Harper Perennial, 2009)

 

Not Feeling Myself

There’s a silly commercial on television that shows children in Halloween costumes recommending a candy bar to a character, a giant head who claims to be the Horseless Headsman. After taking a bite, the character becomes the famous Headless Horseman. The slogan is “Because you’re not you when you’re hungry”.  Like I said, a silly commercial. Still, it made me think about the times that I don’t quite feel like myself.

I was taking a life drawing class a few years ago at the University of Kentucky. The instructor, Ross Zirkle, was an excellent teacher, involved and excited about his subject and his students. The first day of class, he handed out a paper listing all of the things that happen to artists when they don’t create. The list included such fun things as alcohol and drug abuse, depression, divorce; everything but the seven plagues of Egypt. I admit, I thought he was overstating the idea. After all, the history books are full of artists who struggled with depression, alcoholism, and other ills. What about Jackson Pollack, divorced alcoholic? What about Vincent Van Gogh? Surely cutting off ones ear is not the act of a happy, well adjusted artist.

However, the more I thought about Ross’s essay, the more I began to understand what he was trying to say. If we deny something as integral to our being as the urge to create, then we can’t fulfill our true human potential. We fail to become our best selves. Art doesn’t guarantee happiness, or even simple satisfaction, but without it, as artists, we are guaranteed unhappiness and dissatisfaction. I thought of all the years I had put my career on hold. Those years were filled with family obligations, excuses that I didn’t have the time or energy to devote to my own work. After all, it seemed selfish to put my own need for work above the real needs of my children and husband. I would have said at one time that they were busy, happy years for me.

It wasn’t until late in my life that I began to appreciate that my denial of self had cost not only me, but my family, the very people to whom I had dedicated myself. I had an obligation to be the best person I could be, to use and develop the talent with which I was gifted. To show, not just tell, my children what it takes to develop as a human being. While I was encouraging my children to realize their potential, I was ignoring my own. I was failing to become myself.

Now, when I feel disconnected from myself, out of sorts or depressed, I turn again to my art work. Realizing that I can find myself in my work is liberating. I won’t claim that I never feel guilty, or that I don’t worry at times that I’m neglecting my family, but I now feel that I’m ultimately doing us all a favor. I am myself again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (6) — Categorized under: Creativity,Mary Alexander

The Heebie Jeebies

My three quilts framed and hanging in the hospital hallway.

The following is an email conversation that I had in January with my friends from KaBoom. I was working on three quilts to be hung in a new hospital and about halfway through the project, I was plagued by a severe case of self doubt. The responses I received from Normandi Ellis, Susan Brown, Leatha Kendrick, and Jan Isenhour were thoughtful, encouraging, and warm and allowed me to relax and successfully complete my work.

 

MA: Help! I’ve got a bad case of the heebie jeebies. That’s what I call the feeling that comes when I’m halfway through a project and suddenly paralysis sets in. I’ve been trying to work all week and it’s not going well. Self-doubt is plaguing me and interfering with my sleep. I’m beginning to wonder if I will be able to complete this quilting project by the deadline. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Or am I setting myself up to fail with this extreme anxiety?

I’m panicked that I won’t have enough material of the right colors to give cohesion to the project. I’ve spent hours at quilt shops and on line looking at material and yet everything I’ve bought has turned out to be wrong somehow. I’ve put on pieces (I work on a design wall first before sewing pieces together)only to take them down. I put up another color only to take that down too. I had hoped to work out most of my problems with fabric choice on this first quilt and that the other two will be faster. My goal was to finish this first one by the end of December and yet here it hangs, about half done.

Today is my daughter’s birthday and I don’t think my labor to bring her into life was as painful as the process I’m going through now. At least during that labor, I knew that it was going to end one way or another before the day was through. I had wonderful nurses, an adequate doctor, and a terrified husband to deal with, but I knew that at the end of it all, I wouldn’t be pregnant anymore. What can I say, I was only 19! Not being pregnant seemed the height of desirability. Looking back, I can see that giving birth was the beginning of a long journey that is not ended yet.

Maybe if I can tell myself that creating these works of art is only a beginning then it won’t seem so terrifying. This is not a live or die situation. Yes, there is the possibility of failure, but it’s only one possibility of several. Maybe the hospital people will love the quilts. Maybe the company that commissioned them will commission others. Maybe they won’t be in love with my work, but will deem it acceptable and still hang them. Maybe they’ll hate them, but I have a contract and it doesn’t say anything about whether or not they LIKE the work. 🙂 And I’ve already deposited my check for half the commission!

Thank you dear friends for your patience with my whining. I find, as always, that writing down my deepest fears takes some of the bite out of them. I can only hope that the heebie jeebies will come to an end and my time will be more productive. I will try to be grateful for this opportunity and not paralyzed by it.

NE: All is well and you will get through the other side. The hardest part is the doubt, but as you say, you just have to keep going. I think some of the best things I ever did in terms of stories or books were those that I was ready to ditch at one point because they just weren’t want I thought they were supposed to be. You know, of course, that the art itself will teach you what it needs and wants. I have seen you work and I have every confidence that you are listening closely to it! In fact, I can even see you bent over the work with your ear to the fabric practically. We’re all there with you, cheering you on. It’ll be wonderful when it’s finished, and you will have learned something of your own process through it.

SCB: Oh, Mary. Normandi is right, of course. This work will teach you what it needs and what it will take to finish it, and you have all the skills and intuition you need to see it through. You’ve done so much beautiful work, and you’re up to finishing this project.

Maybe you could set aside thoughts of the audience and the people who will see it for a while, and just be with the quilt. Eventually the audience will have a role, but they don’t belong in your studio with you while you’re doing your work. Too many crowds, too much noise. You’re the one who knows what needs to be done, and what your audience needs is for you to do what only you can do.

Interesting question, whether the Magi had their doubts about that journey. They probably did– how could you not? But they had enough faith to keep going. And your friends who know you and know your work have enough faith for you, even if your own has its moments of wavering.

All will be well.

LK: Mary, I am so glad that you wrote out your doubts and allowed us to hear them. Doubt and fear have paralyzed me and continue to — especially lately — but I have not thought to reach out. What I know is that these emotions (as Susan wisely points out) have to do with letting others’ judgment hover over the work itself. When I simply am with the work, it takes the lead — the problem here for you is the deadline also hovering. And your self-imposed schedule. Let go of what you thought would happen and be with what is unfolding. Trust that once the first quilt falls into place, the others will come more quickly. Most deadlines are more flexible than we imagine — even our own.

Of course, we are all talking to ourselves, you know. And you have given us a chance to remind ourselves of what matters — which is the process, as frustrating and terrifying as it is sometimes.

JI: It sounds as if each of us sees herself in the situation you describe, Mary. I had always thought of myself as being a procrastinator–and then of course someone pointed out to me that procrastination is classic behavior for a perfectionist, who allows so many things to interfere with the work she wants to accomplish. A useful piece of advice for me was Anne Lamott’s exhortation to work “bird by bird”: forgetting about the finished, beautiful, and well-received end product and instead making my slow way through tiny steps that lead eventually to the end, allowing myself to feel graced by surprises along the way rather than threatened. Good advice. Wish I could learn to accept it more often.

MA: Thank you all for your wonderful encouragement! I’ve read your responses over and over and feel myself taking heart already. Each of you had a fresh take on my problem and each new view has helped me look at my work in a new light. I will keep plugging along and hope that I will have a better report when we meet again. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am once again reminded of how important you all are to me.

 

I did finish the quilts in time, but I know that the words from my friends played a key role. How many times do we sabotage our own efforts with doubt and negativity? By acknowledging my difficulties and reaching out to my committed group of like minded artists, I brought the heebie jeebies out of the dark and in the light of clear thinking, I vanquished them and completed my project. The words, “All will be well!” became my slogan and self fulfilling prophecy.

Do you have people in your life as an artist that you can reach for when the heebie jeebies attack?

The Joy of the Telling

 

A blue plastic jewel on a flimsy chain — the ring attached nearly too thin to hold anything as heavy as keys.  A fake. A fraud.  A bit of glossy gaudy nothing, that probably has a story or I wouldn’t have saved it.

A souvenir from some misspent afternoon, no doubt.  Let’s say I remember a crossroads country store, laughter and pickled bologna, crackers and some beer.   An impromptu picnic along a narrow two-lane road named for a mill or a creek.  A big oak and sunlight flashing between limbs, me putting the ring on my finger, the light weight of the plastic “stone” bobbing.  One hand to my heart, my face lifted, I declare my undying love for the man across from me.  More laughter and pickled bologna sliced with a pocket knife and eaten on crackers.

Let’s say I can’t resist a coin-operated gimcrack dispensing machine, like the one back at that store, and I’ve wasted my fifty cents on this bauble, dispensed in its plastic capsule, and though it wasn’t what I’d hoped to get from that machine (who can remember what I’d hoped for back then?) I’ve made the best of it, turned it into part of the pale clear blue of the sky and the flash and glitter of that afternoon stolen from regular workdays, and when I got home and faced what to fix us for supper (what lies well atop pickled bologna, my love?), I dropped this trinket into my desk drawer where it has waited until today.  My place is filled with this kind of treasure, whose value is their spark of story.

And did any of this really happen?  It could have, I know that much for certain.  There were those afternoons.  I pushed quarters down such slots, and more that I care to remember I’ve declared fakes to be treasures, taken what’s fallen my way and seen that the light does pour through it all with a certain sparkle, wanting to love what I held for the sake of love itself.

I’ve come to the place in my life where I’m letting the trinkets go (mostly to Goodwill, with hope that they’ll find a new story). It’s the story I’m keeping, the story that matters now, though it be evanescent as breath, though it fade away as that “perhaps” afternoon did.  It’s history that stays in my cells, that wants to rise from the blue plastic jewel, keepsake from a day I might have long since forgotten except for this trinket, spark for a story I tell myself (and share with you) just for the joy of the telling.

What speaks to you?  Look in your desk drawer and find a story.

 

Writing With Others

 

I’ve had two fairly recent experiences of trying to write with others. The first one involved a good friend who was between jobs. I had finished a draft of a novel and so felt that her idea to co-write a screenplay had appeal. Over time we had talked about different ideas for a screenplay.  Based on these sessions, I had dutifully gone home and written out several plots but when I showed her the plots, she gave them a blank stare. That should have tipped me off.

But here we were a year or so later with some time to collaborate. We downloaded a screenwriting program and its tutorials. I read Syd Fields’ book and shared it with her. I broke down the screenplay of CRASH into scenes and recorded information on color-coded index cards. We thought to use CRASH as a model because it involved a larger than normal cast of characters and that matched my friend’s original idea of telling a neighborhood story. But as we began to talk, it became clear that she and I were on very different pages.

She had much professional experience in letter and grant-writing but wanted to branch off into something creative. I have decades of writing and teaching fiction so I soon recognized a phenomena common to many people who start to write in middle age. Most of these brave souls have authority in many areas of life and they carry that authority into this new enterprise. That authority is not transferable. Yet the new writer cannot recognize that every new idea they have is not a good idea. And arguing for it on “creative” grounds is a common defense.

Eventually our meetings devolved into sessions where she typed with joy and I was supposed to applaud but not offer any commentary, as it became her screenplay. At that point, I withdrew and suggested she take a class in screenwriting. She completed the screenplay through the class. She invited me to workshop the night it was discussed and, not surprisingly, its many weaknesses were pointed out: there were basic formal issues that relate to competence in craft. These were things I knew and had pointed out but were things that she could not hear from me.

I’d like to share one of the best pieces of advice I’ve come across for beginning writers. Jane Smiley wrote an essay for a wonderful out-of-print anthology called Creating Fiction, edited by Julie Checkoway. Smiley’s essay is titled, “What Stories Teach Their Writers.” The first nugget is “Your first duty, if you want to become a writer, is to become teachable.”

I want to become teachable as a collaborator.  How does one collaborate successfully?   Should both writers be at the same level of experience?  Clearly I failed the first time out.

Now I’m in the midst of a second writing collaboration, this one for a grant in a field that I am less familiar with than my collaborator is. However, as the more experienced writer, I am again embroiled in this thorny issue.  I believe I am simply going to conclude that I don’t write well with others.

Maybe you can share some good advice about how to make a collaborative writing project succeed. Anyone?

To pay attention… our proper work

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”  —Mary Oliver

One morning this week when the day was still cool I had the windows open.  Hearing a slight, skittery, fluttery sound, I moved into a room with a window not too far off the ground.  Outside the window was a flower bed that holds a patch of purple coneflowers, now dry and gone to seed.  I’d been meaning to pull them up; they had long since become unsightly.

What I saw through the screen, though, made me pause at the threshold.  On the heads of the brown, dried coneflower heads were a clutch of finch, feeding on the seeds.  I crept closer, moving slowly and as quietly as I could.  One was definitely a finch—it had that characteristic yellow color and the markings even I, no birder, recognize.  Most of the gathered fowl, though, were a soft grey.  When are finch grey, I asked myself.  Someone else in the house moved behind me and most of the small birds lifted off in a quick, nervous jump of feather and anxiety.  One closest to the window, however, stayed longer.  Looked over its shoulder, right at me, it seemed.  So soft, so warmly grey.

The wonder that is online searching turned up this photo of a mature finch and a fledgling, precisely like the ones I’d just seen outside the window.  These are even perched on a cone flower (though one in considerably better shape than mine).

Thanks to the Stokes birding blog: bit.ly/1amN23O

I consider this sight outside my window a very tiny treasure, one that might have been missed in the usual bustle of a busy day.  While my own writer’s notebook hasn’t yet produced a pearl from this beginning, at the Writer’s Almanac,  there is a fine poem by Billy Collins title “Aimless Love”: its opening stanza is clearly born of moments of observation similar to my own.

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.

Billy Collins “Aimless Love”

 

Your assignment, should you choose to take it:

Today, give yourself a moment to notice small stirring and sights that—were you to rush—you might otherwise miss.  Bonus points: record them in your writer’s notebook.

 

Still sneaking up on the muse ….

"sneaking suspicion" -- cat at the wall

(Photo from: http://bit.ly/CatSq1)

This Monday morning when the muse again felt so many miles away all my inspiration might as well have taken off to Mars, I finally quit banging my head and — miracle — mercy dropped in.   An entire stream of thought, from nowhere I could have seen coming.

Well.

On reflection, this development shouldn’t be surprising.  Yet an old truth, newly rediscovered, certainly feels like revelation.  Writers have long known that the muse, like happiness, tends to flee direct pursuit.  There is a part of my conscious brain that knows this.  And yet.  And yet…still and again, I need to discover this truth anew.

As I read in a post by Misty Massey years ago, the best course of action is to remember that the best bait for inspiration is to “… lure it out into the open by pretending you don’t care. Before you know it, it’s curling up at your feet.”

At one level that doesn’t make much sense, does it?  Pretending you don’t care about your creative product can feel dangerous.  And sometimes, you may be so emotionally invested in the work that you cannot see anything but frustration at what you perceive as failures.

Every now and again, though, I can get just exhausted enough to learn something new—by finally letting go of the struggle.

(Photo from: http://bit.ly/Senv6b)

 

Turns out, all ll I needed this morning was to tell myself I had no time for the project that’s recently been frustrating me,  to sort of turn my back on it, and—sneaky, padded cat feet— it crept up behind me, purring to make its presence known, in a way I’d have killed for days ago.  Between its teeth was a tasty morsel; oh, sure, stolen from something else.  But I’ve got no scruples when it comes to such treasures.  I’ll take them however they arrive.   I simply need to remember that the arrival is more likely to happen when I can turn my back on my anxious, demanding mind and instead settle quietly,  entering a gentle waiting-that-is-not-quite-doing-nothing; entering an expectant interlude, a sympathetic distraction.

It was Kafka who famously said: “You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet” (from his translated Reflections on sin, pain, hope and the true way).

Here’s to finding ways, always, to welcome the world,  and then, to finding it rolling in ecstasy at our feet.

Wandering in the Woods

Gardner 003

I’ve been carrying around a copy of John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction this summer. In addition to getting sand in the binding, waterlogging one corner, staining a few pages, and bending the cover, I’ve also read this wonderful book all the way through. Summer travel schedules meant our group has met infrequently these past couple of months, but during that time Gardner has made a terrific writing companion.  His insight and analysis provide helpful information. Even more, the depth of his thought about writing fiction affirms the value of this strange work we do.

One of the things I find satisfying about the book is its understanding of the creative process. Gardner appreciates, as well as anyone can, the powerful role of the unconscious and its symbolic language in shaping the strongest and most resonant writing. In a discussion of description he writes:

To the layman it may seem that description serves simply to tell us where things are happening, giving us perhaps some idea of what the characters are like by identifying them with their surroundings, or providing us with props that may later tip over or burn down or explode. Good description does far more: It is one of the writer’s means of reaching down into his unconscious mind, finding clues to what questions his fiction must ask, and, with luck, hints about the answers. Good description is symbolic not because the writer plants symbols in it but because, by working in the proper way, he forces symbols still largely mysterious to him up into his conscious mind where, little by little as his fiction progresses, he can work with them and finally understand them. To put this another way, the organized and intelligent fictional dream that will eventually fill the reader’s mind begins as a largely mysterious dream in the writer’s mind. Through the process of writing and endless revising, the writer makes available the order the reader sees.

Gardner reminds us that we have more resources than we can know when we start to write. It helps to remember that when we’re wandering in the woods, trying to find the path of the story. Giving ourselves to this work is an act of faith in a process that has no map. There’s nothing comfortable about that. But in spite of how it feels, not knowing where we’re going doesn’t mean we’ve lost our way. We know more than we think we do, but only as we work does it come to light. Maybe that’s the best reason of all for writing.

 

 

At It Again

They say pets resemble their owners. I imagine him as merely meditating.

I don’t know what it is, but I can’t get my brain wrapped around writing again this month. I think I wore myself out writing 3 books in less than a year. (Last one comes out mid week next week –Imagining the World into Existence.) I told myself when I had a down week I was going to get back to my novel, abandoned a couple of years ago to:
a) Write the aforementioned 3;
b. Get PenHouse Retreat Center going, and the really dreaded
c.) Research and rethink the book.
It’s not a. or b. that have stymied me. It’s that research and rethinking. I found when I stopped I was reconsidering the use of the first person point of view. Wound up reading a few books that used point of view in ways that made me think third person was the way to go, including Audrey Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry. Brilliant book! But then a teaching gig came along at Berea and so I did that for a term—and didn’t write a thing other than comments on papers. And then there were the workshops I offered, the publicity for the new book. My publishers like it; I do it, but…
Well, there’s the being a writer part and there’s the selling the books and making a living part. I think I like the being a writer part best. Somewhere along the way I seem to have lost that woman, though. Like Gloria Steinem said: “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” Amen, sister. Afghan women will risk death to write poetry. (Fabulous article, by the way. Read it here. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/magazine/why-afghan-women-risk-death-to-write-poetry.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all)
I am just making my own small, but certainly public statement here. It’s time. I’ve taken 2 years off from this novel and now I need to either finish it or bury it. So as of now—now being the moment I post this– I am pulling the novel off the shelf and beginning to read it again. Just making notes on a legal pad to start. Here’s what I’d like you to do. Pinch me. Poke me. Hug me. Ask me how it’s going. Thanks. I’ll gladly do the same for your.

Creative Starter

This is a jar of sourdough starter. It has a complex, yeasty aroma that lets you know something is going on in there—not particularly appetizing in itself, but interesting and not unpleasant. In baking it gives a depth of flavor you can’t get any other way.

Jar of Sourdough Starter

The starter is wonderful to use when I want to make bread, but keeping it available requires some tending. It’s a living thing, and the only way to have it on hand is to feed it regularly. Food in this case is flour and water. I stir it in and let the brew ferment for a while. The action starts in the depths, heaving lumpy air pockets toward the surface until a fine layer of bubbles breaks through. Once things settle down it’s ready to store and use.

As long as I pay attention to the starter once a week or so it remains alive and healthy, responsive when fed. It adds both flavor and leavening to the dough I make. But if I let it go too long between feedings it weakens and turns lifeless—not much good for bread or anything else.

Sometimes it feels like a lot of work to keep a starter going, but if I want to have the option of making sourdough it’s a lot easier to feed than to start from scratch. Beginning again requires more ingredients, time, and tending. It also involves letting the batter absorb airborne yeast, which I didn’t know existed until I learned to cultivate this magic ingredient. Fascinating that this fermenting concoction can take part of what it needs right out of the air.

When conditions are right, creativity works the same way.

We all know the effort of starting from scratch when life requires creative work of any kind. To keep my writing life going, I’ve had to make new starter countless times. But this summer my hope is to regularly feed an ongoing project and have some loaves coming out of the oven in a few weeks.

Working at it most every day is one of the ways I intend to do that. Staying with a project keeps it alive. But the other kind of replenishment that keeps the work going I feel less sure about.

Julia Cameron insists that creativity is nourished by Artist Dates—outings that break from the routine, pursued simply for delight. It keeps the work alive by keeping the artist alive.

The theory is great, but here at the beginning I can’t help but suspect the Artist Date approach could be yet another way to avoid getting the work done. At the same time, I want to keep the yeast alive. What I really want to do is earn that creative food.

I know from experience that following through on Artist Dates is harder than it sounds. Granting myself that kind of permission, not to mention coming up with good ideas for outings, can be a stretch. But perhaps I’ll give it a try. After all, it takes both flour and water to feed sourdough starter.

How do you feed your creative starter? And if it’s been too long, how do you go about mixing a new batch?

 

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