Sunday, February 17, 2013

On Writing and Pound Cake

Today, I’ve been struggling with the middle-grade novel I’m working on.  And then I remembered the pound cake.

This morning, I decided I was craving pound cake and I would expire if I didn’t get some.  But since I don’t eat wheat, it’s not as simple as driving up to the store and pulling an Entenmann’s off the shelves.

Still.   I had everything I needed: the best gluten-free flour on the planet (Gluten-Free Klippy’s:, eggs, butter, milk, vanilla.  After a walk on the beach, I set about gratifying my obsession.
Within an hour and a half, I was pulling a beautiful—if decidedly homemade-looking—pound cake out of my oven.  This is what it looked like:

Okay, I can’t show you what it looked like, because I can’t figure out how to get the picture off of my phone.  But take my word for it: it was beautiful, with a lovely, buttery, brown top.  My kitchen smelled delectable.

The recipe’s final instruction was “Cool ten minutes; remove from pan.”

I couldn’t cool ten minutes.

I couldn’t cool two.

As it turned out, cooling ten minutes may have been the most important instruction of all.

Suffice it to say, the pound cake was not ready to leave the safety of its womb-like loaf pan.  It ended up in pieces all over the kitchen floor.  I didn’t cry, but only because I was too hungry (which somehow reminds me of when I asked my Lamaze instructor if I would pass out while I was in labor, and she said, “No, you’ll be in too much pain.”)

I didn’t cry, but I was disappointed.

Several hours later, here I sit, stewing over this manuscript, worrying that I haven’t described something properly, or that I haven’t created enough tension on page 67.

And then I remembered the pound cake.

And suddenly, I knew with epiphanic certainty that the best thing I could do for this manuscript is to let it cool.  

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