Monday, February 28, 2011

Girl Meets World - Edition iii

Copyright 2011 by Nancy Sima
World:  There you are, I've been looking for you.

Girl:  Here I am, just making some lemonade, do you want some?

World: Um, sure. You know, I've been trying to figure you out.  You're not like the other writer types I normally see. You're quite light hearted, even a bit pollyanna at times. 

Girl: Really, you think?

World: Yes, why I bet you're one of the those people who always see their glass as half full.

Girl: Not really...

World: Says the girl doling out lemonade! Please, don't even try to tell me you're a half empty type!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

You Are Here - Part II

 In the beginning, I was quiet about writing. I didn't vocalize my intentions, really I didn't know what they were. Still, keeping to myself left me with another sort of map, a treasure map that only I looked at from time to time and then stowed away.

Five years later (two attempts at a novel and one completed first draft) and I am still writing. The only difference is that now I am saying so and loud enough for the world outside my door to hear. I know there will be questions; I still have questions of my own and this is where I have been, stuck.

So, what are my plans? Honestly, I don't know. At one time this would have been unnerving to admit. People don't garner any favor for uncertainty. Such a response is not congratulated but deemed at times as naive, daft or just simply ignorant. It incurs distressed looks, sudden coughing fits and awkward moments of silence. So why do I still persist? 

I was searching for the right answer, one that was good enough to satisfy and still give me that feeling of breathing room. Truthfully, few rose to the challenge and just when I thought none were to be found, I came to realize that maybe it wasn't my answer but the question that was all wrong.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You Are Here - Part I

I am writing a novel. This is nothing new; I've been working on it for some time now. The fact that I am saying it though, sharing it, is raising some questions from the outer world. This is fine, even normal. To be fair, I have questions of my own.

The most common question I get asked is about the future. Where do I see myself (down the road) with hours spent writing? In essence, where am I going? The question is not an easy one to answer. I say this because the desire for an answer sometimes begs for a practical one.   

In the past I knew have to give such answers, ones that were based on research and planning. Answers that were fully formed in a map pointing upwards, my ladder of success. I used to thrive on such planning. It is a relateable process whereas writing despite the fact that the odds are against you is not. I was once a phenomenal planner!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Girl Meets World - Edition ll

Girl: Hey, guess what? I wrote a story.

World: Are you off to sign your book deal?

Girl: No, now I'm working on some revisions. Once they're done, I'll probably go back and do another round of edits.

World: Will it be perfect then?

Girl: Oh no, but I do hope it will be finished so I can start on the next story.

World: What about publishing, book signings, seeing your book in print?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Kitchen Zen

He: Hey, what's for breakfast?

She: Bagels...I woke up this morning and just knew, I really wanted a bagel for breakfast.

He: Wow, most people don't know what they want, but not YOU.

She: (She grins)I think this was one moment of clarity. Do I really know otherwise - you got me.

(He fishes out a bagel from the brown bag and holds it in his mouth while his hands pull the sports section from the newspaper pile. She cuts into her bagel with a sharp knife and then stops, her eyes wander, her mind lost in thought. She looks up at him again as he takes a bite, his eyes on the page.)

She: Tell me, (her tone is serious) do you think that deep down inside, we really know what we want in life?

He: Ahhh,(his speech is muffled) right there, (he chews) that question, (he chews a bit more and then swallows) people who know what they want don't ask that question.

(He smiles and leans in to her to emphasize his point but is greeted with a deep stare and wrinkled brow. She is not amused. He wipes crumbs from his mouth that are not there, stalling to save himself and the conversation.)

He: But, you know, questions can be good too.(He reaches for his coffee mug and takes a sip)It shows you have a thirst for knowledge. (He takes another sip and looks up again. He smiles just over the rim) So, whatcha drinking?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hemingway's Great White Bull

It is the challenge of every writer to confront the page,to meet Hemingway's "great white bull". What do you see or hear when you begin to write?  Is your page as menacing as Hemingway's white bull? Or perhaps a bit like mine, just an uptight bore.

Once Upon A Page

A pen wrote feverishly,
scribbles and strokes,
dots of “i”s like land mines.
"Stop!cried the page,
“You can’t write that! STOP!”
Its lines cried once more
staggering the pen
mid-sentence, mid-word, mid-letter.
“What is it that you object to -
the sentence, the simile, the syntax?”
“The word,” hissed the page.
“The word?”  The pen looked back.Which word?”
“Any word,” scowled the page, “would suffice to offend.”
Offend? That’s good, thought the pen mischievously
and it continued to write again.
“Stop! Stop!” screamed the page once more.
"Have you no conscience?”
“On the contrary,” sighed the pen, “I have you."
                                        By Nancy Sima

Sunday, February 6, 2011


For all my talk recently of tea and cake (and pie!) I wanted to share something sweet with you. Initially I couldn't decide, then I found the perfect treat...Tiramisu. Neither pie nor cake, this one stands on it's own.

This recipe is quick and easy to assemble. It also has the distinction of being the first entry in my new recipe book. (It's the start of my new year's resolution to organize my favorite recipes into a working cookbook.)

I found this recipe organizer by Paperchase at my local Borders. The pea pod design is so cute, I've taken to calling my new kitchen helper Penelope, sweet "P" for short.

Did you know the literal meaning of "tiramisu" is "pick me up"....all the better!!

This recipe hails from Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals 2. Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings

1 package ladyfingers (sponge)
1/2 cup strong black coffee or espresso
2 ounces (shots) coffee liqueur (Kahlua)
2 cups Mascarpone cheese (available in specialty cheese aisle)
1/2 cup powdered confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Open the ladyfingers and separate them. Paint the ladyfingers with coffee combined with the coffee liqueur using a pastry brush. Line 4 martini glasses with a single layer of ladyfingers, letting the cakes overlap a bit at the stem. Press the cakes down to fit the lines of the glass. Beat Mascarpone and sugar together, 2 or 3 minutes and spoon into the glasses. Top glasses off with a cap of coffee and liqueur-soaked ladyfingers. Dust each completed dessert with a cocoa powder combined with a touch of cinnamon.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


          In the movie, "The Princess Bride”, there is a scene where the hero of the story is lying on a table. His body is battered and bruised, his head is limp, eyes are shut. Despite all appearances, he is a still a man with much to do. He needs to foil the sinister plots of Prince Humperdinck, save the Princess and help his friend find the infamous six fingered man. It would be enough except for one more problem…he’s dead.  No, this is not where the story ends but to have a happy ending would take nothing short of a miracle. Enter stage left Miracle Max, resident miracle worker!  First, Max needs to know something. He leans over our hero's still body and shouts, “Hello? Hey you! Tell me, what’s so important? What have you got that’s worth living for?”