Friday, August 19, 2011

What are your dream goals?

Today, "Writing Well is the Best Revenge," one of my favorite blogs, was about unreachable goals, inspired by Diana Nyad's failed attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. When she had to give up, she said, "I was the best I could be." Each of the eight or nine bloggers talked about their goals and, of course, for many of these multi-published authors, publication of that first book was the primary goal. Others confessed to goals that involved physical risk, while still others shunned such an idea. I commented that, although well published, I always wanted to publish a mystery. With that goal in sight with the forthcoming publication of Skeleton in a Dead Space, I guessed that my goals are to turn that one book into a series and then move on to a really significant book, not that I know how to judge "significant."
On the blog Hallie Ephron's goals particularly struck me. She confessed to wanting to make a quilt; she started the project and ended with a handbag. But most of her goals had to do with cooking, and the one, so far unreachable, is to make an eight-layer dobos torte (she's made a five-layer one). I noted that I shared her cooking goals, but after I posted my comment I got to thinking that I don't really know what my cooking goals are. There's no one dish I want to make--I did think of turducken--not even a complicated Julia Child's recipe I want to master. There are however lots of recipes in my file that I want to try--Southern Living came yesterday and I cut out several recipes.
It dawned on me that my one unreachable goal is to be a chef. I suspect at my age I lack the energy, and I know my feet and back couldn't take the long hours on hard floors. But I would love to have a small tea shop-kind of restaurant where I would have people to eat the things that strike me, by whim and fancy, that I want to cook. It's an impractical goal for many reasons, and I know it--the failure rate of restaurants is astronomical and at this advanced point in life I'm not risking my finances. I once took an informal course in restaurant management that convinced me I know nothing about managing a restaurant. I just know the cooking. Several years ago when I was working full time but dissatisfied with life--okay, bored--I decided I would go to culinary school, until a friend reminded me of the high cost, long hours, small reward.
So my reachable goals have to do with writing. There's already a sequel to Skeleton waiting for the publisher's approval. It's called at this point No Neighborhood for Old Women. And I have the first chapter of a third book in the series--as yet untitled. I've been dragging my heels on that, waiting to hear about the second book, but I do believe it's important to have series titles come out in fairly rapid succession. Don't give readers time to go off in other directions and forget your work.
As for cooking, Jordan tells me she and her family will eat with me at least once a week when school is in session and I keep Jacob in the afternoons. So next Tuesday, I'll fix Salisury steak, oven-fried potatoes with rosemary, and a salad. And I've got a dinner party in my head. I told Gayland Poole last night if he'd make thje chili biscuits, as he was promising, I'd cook the dinner. Yep, my mind is never far from food. Maybe it should stay closer to my writing.

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