pure magic

by Sandra

Grad school is hard. As I get further in, I realize that I have much to learn about writing, about structure, about the process—that for as intuitive as writing might be, I still have a far way to go. Sorry there, Ernest—as you say at the top of the page, I should keep that struggle to myself. You can say it’s easy—but hey, it isn’t!—especially in my fiction workshop, where my professor and a rather ruthless group of peers pick apart each others work week after week.

The class is all about revision. And I hate revision. It’s going back in and fixing all the things that didn’t work before, cutting out and shaping and molding and sewing up—good as new. It’s the reconstructive surgery of writing and I’m the surgeon with shaking hands. Although, I’ve noticed that the students who have a year’s worth of experience in the program are markedly better writers and critiquers, so I’ve got something to aim for, and you can bet I’m looking forward to that day. But still, in the here and now, I do get a little bit discouraged, going over my work and going over it again. I find the pace slows so much. I spent a full week on only seven pages—seven! And the jury’s still out with their judgments.

So to give myself a break from the intensity, I spend my Fridays in the kitchen, cooking up something new and delicious (and by new, I mean new to me). Today, I’m toying with a couple of ideas, namely a flourless orange cake. But last week, it was pure chocolate.

A chocolate hazelnut tart, via Epicurious, to be exact.

And the outcome? Well it was gone in about eight easy pieces at Christina and Steve’s house later that night. The real fun was in the making—or rather the waiting. Imagine dancing around your kitchen in the waning late-afternoon winter’s light, the ethereal sounds of Rio en Medio and Feist blowing through the air, as the scent of buttery hazelnut crust and rich melting dark, dark chocolate tickles your nose as it comes up from the oven…That’s pure magic.