Each time, from an empty space I begin. A white screen, a blank page, a writer’s habitat. Many times it’s my mind itself that’s void of creative thought. There are, though, the chapters of rewrites, brimming with characters, buzzing with action. Because, astoundingly, there’s a book. But that rework can feel like a dark mine, where I enter unaided, just me, myself and I.
It’s been said that writing is agony. If that’s true, then certainly some ecstasy is in order.
It’s after the husband’s gone, and the dogs are fed, with only the faint sound of roots rock from the other room, that I go to work. There, the vacant space waits like a deflated balloon, and it’s for me alone to breath in life and diminsion. In solitude I may spend hours, with only the thoughts in my head, or the sparse words that finally show-up to keep me company. And sometimes I am truly so lonesome I could cry.
Every morning, before the torture, I eat. Usually a routine bowl of granola or a reliable piece of seven grain toast. On occasion, though, because I can, and because I’ve learned how these little deviations help, I gift myself. I pull out a bowl and I throw in some flour. Not just one kind, but many. I use a measuring cup, but really, I don’t measure. It’s a little of this and a little of that, because it’s just for me. Then I throw in a pinch of sugar, salt and baking powder, and with no concern for exact quantities, I grab the butter and melt a small piece. That goes into the flour with an egg and milk, which is enough to bring it to soup consistency. I use a whisk because it needs bubbles. Then, when the skillet is sending out barely visible smoke signals, I scoop out a measure of batter. With quick, almost instant satisfaction, a cakey smell rises off the pan. I flip my disc and in a metaphorical blink my tender golden breakfast is soaking up syrup.
I take my warm plate with me as I settle into my chair and fire up my screen. I’m eating alone at my computer. But with each bite I consider my good fortune, not of wearing pajamas to work, but of a yummy pancake for breakfast.
Start here, but I urge you to go a little crazy. I don’t cook gluten free, but gluten low. I’ll use whole wheat, millet or spelt flours, because each one has characteristics I love, of fiber, texture, taste and tenderness. I also might add cornmeal or ground flaxseed. Or I’ll chop an apple or grate some orange peel. Or plop in a dollop of ricotta, or a handful of chopped nuts. It’s my own house of pancakes.
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1-1/2 tablespoons of sugar or honey (less if you use honey)
1 cup of milk (I use whole milk)
2 tablespoons melted butter
Mix together the dry ingredients. Add the the wet. Use a fork or whisk and beat until you see bubbles in the batter. Add a little water if needed to get the right consistency.
Cook in a hot, heavy bottomed pan lightly coated with oil or shortening. Use a small measuring cup to pour batter in pan. Wait until you see bubbles form, then turn.
Important note: Don’t add one ounce of guilt, as it will ruin the taste!