CLEANING AND PERCOLATING
UNSTOPPABLE, MY JOURNEY TO THE HOUSE OF HOPE continues to occupy my heart, mind and time. I’ve been “cleaning” and “percolating” in preparation for publishing. As I read through the manuscript, I find words, phrases, paragraphs and whole chapters that although interesting, seem to slow the pace of the story, or aren’t relevant.
Some of these paragraphs and chapters (like when the FBI came knocking when I was sixteen, looking for my boyfriend who’d escaped from jail), will be in the back of the book under “excerpts.” That’s the cleaning that’s been occupying my time.
Then there’s the percolating. My mind and memory run hot as I ruminate over a word or sentence while walking down the street or trying to fall asleep at night─and a new, better, more concise word or sentence will pour forth, begging to be substituted for said less-concise word or sentence.
Yes, this is the life of an author. I didn’t know this when I started, but here I am, some ten chapters from the end of the arduous editing process.
A new writing friend, Quentin, has read two of the three-part manuscript. Here is his humorous (but oh, too true) summation:
Recipe for a Life…..take one teen-age girl, give her red-hair, excess weight, add a dash of naiveté, and a spoonful of Christian teaching, shake and blend and empty into a street mold in San Francisco, leaving it unprotected until it jells into the first layer.
Next inject a filling of college courses with a syringe to induce a modicum of self-respect, add one boyfriend who sells drugs, be offered a rewarding summer internship as a street hooker working for boyfriend, allow brain to expand like the big-bang to the point of intelligence where internship is summarily turned down, discard empty boyfriend container, mix in a potpourri of doe-eyed religious friends, stir brains slowly until partially curdled.
Carefully pour this malleable cerebrum into a rigid religious cult mold and bake 24/7 until you produce the “I-obey-without-question” second layer.
Saturate layer with a spicy bottle of Spanish language, move concoction 4,000 miles to an open air taco oven deep within Mexico, move dish to different Mexican cities adding local corn and vegetables to fashion the fruitcake-like third layer while praying fanatically and gathering acolytes to help you carry the unique cake of experience-forged-resolve.
Eventually cut a teeny-tiny wedge from the triple layer, feed it to the new Costa Rican President to remind him of his conscience and that God is watching and ask for money to distribute the almost finished layered product, being certain not to disclose individual ingredients of the multi-layer cake, to said President, turn down government offer and move forward looking for guidance to finally co-found and direct The House of Hope for the wayward, adding lavish frosting, sprinkles and candles.
Win well-earned awards and praise. Reflect often on recipe missteps by gazing into a mirror using the words…what the heck was I thinking?