As we wrote Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets, our meals had become such a part of the glue, the writing motivation, that our first chapter became Spiral Bound Gourmets. We note in this chapter what we prepared for that meeting, the prompt, what we wrote, and any comments. But, like the evolution of fine-tuned writing, so does the emergence of various foods.
At the beginning of our writer’s group, the hostess served tea or coffee. This was particularly nice since we first began to write together in the chilly month of November. The steam rising from the brim of a cup while pens scribbled in notebooks was a comforting bond. A polite slurp, a pen scratching out a disliked word, or a soft sigh easing between lips forming the next sentence.
Shortly thereafter, little pastries or cookies popped up on a plate at our meetings. Since I love to cook, I began preparing an entire meal for our writing sessions. We would visit while we ate, write for an hour, read, discuss over dessert, and then a five-minute quick write to wrap up. It was a hit! And so was the writing. We wrote full. We dished out funny stories, served up thoughtful poetry, extended slow cooked writing from the week before, and had ‘take-out’ ideas for the next meeting. And so began our new addition to our writing group meetings. Each hostess prepared an easy meal with dessert. This was such a delight and something more to look forward to over the next many years. And what variety, just as in our writing.
One early evening while gathered at my house, a member rushed in late, out of breath and looking a bit desperate. She hadn’t had time for lunch, and did I have anything? I was totally caught off guard. I rummaged through the pantry grabbed a few saltine crackers, and sat a tin of Altoids on the table. Really? Altoids? I meekly hoped they would come across as ‘fine after dinner mints’. We then wrote about being hungry, favorites, and worst foods.
Taking time to prepare a meal, whether richly laden, or simple fare, is to show honor for those at our table. Sitting and writing together opens the door to forming another lasting bond, an honor to friendship, words, and spice.