A head full of doubts and a cornbread with spelt

A few moments ago I noticed how I had reached the mark of 100 pages on my latest manuscript. Usually, my manuscripts tend to have about 200 and something pages. This means I am halfway to finishing it, actually. I know how the story ends, and I know I am bang in the middle of it when it comes to the narrative and the action. Halfway to the end. I set out to write a trilogy, and a trilogy it is, although I caught myself toying with the possibility of dragging it for longer. I set out to tell this story, not quite sure what would happen through the writing process, and now I'm nearly done with it. I'm close to saying goodbye to characters that have been with me for nearly two years, characters that already feel like old friends. Sasha and Rune, and Ruth Fleming, they're like old friends, really. I know them so well by now that I am hardly surprised by what they do or say. I kind of know where they go from here, they're no longer a mistery to me.

New characters have entered the narrative, as it usually happens when there's more than one volume to a story, new characters that might have been hinted at prior to showing up. Some of them, I knew them well before being written, like Blanche and Valentine. I knew their essence inside out, and they are probably my favourite characters in the whole story. Others, like Raphaël, I didn't know at all, and the more I wrote him in, the more he surprised me. He began by being something in my head, very defined and set, and then he suddenly had a life of his own, and he was not at all what I first thought he would be. He kept surprising me. But not as much as Adelaide, not as much as Katherine. Those seemed to be simply what I was writing them to be, and in the end of it all, my imagination had them going somewhere else, had them being something else. Although I had not expected some of the things they became, I was rather glad for it. I like my women annoying, I like my women strong, I like my women riddled by doubt and being rather... well, not perfect!

I fear that it will be rather hard to sever myself from them, from some of these characters. They're part of me, you see, there's a bit of myself in everyone of them, there's things from people I know in them, there's novelty and familiarity in them all. There's this part of me that is going to miss them like hell, going to miss coming here everyday, into their world, and be a part of it. Part of me is scared to let go of them, to say goodbye, and that is why I know there'll be an open ending. I will probably not return to them again, but I need the possibility for that to happen. I completely understand Anne Rice when she cannot stop writing about Lestat de Lioncourt. He became part of who she is, he became family, for sure. A character that is familiar, yes, well known, but who also still holds a lot of mistery and novelty. I fear I might feel the same for some of my characters, so I need to give myself the chance of going back, should I need to. And that's what I will just do. I will leave a door opened for me to enter at will, should that will ever arise.

But knowing that I'm this close to the end turns up the doubt, the question of what am I going to do after it? After I finish my Preternatural series, what on earth shall I do? I have a lot of other novels in my head, I do. I have a couple of them already started, I just need to get myself in the frame of mind to immerse myself on those particular lives, those particular characters. I want to go back to Camila and Sebastian, from my first novel, I want to go back to Lady Kit Dale as well. I long to push on with my fantasy novel that's being written in portuguese. But I know I will need a break, to say goodbye to those other characters and free my head of their personalities. In the meantime, I fear being left empty. Perhaps that will be a good thing, and maybe it will make me return to this blog with a lot more oomph. But I have been feeling so dispirited about this blog that I don't really see that happening. I sit right down to post a recipe and I find myself thinking "What's the point?". It's not like there's a lot of folks reading and commenting my blogposts. It's not like I get a lot of visits here. And frankly, to me the point of blogging was always that: visiting other blogs and being visited, sharing stories and images, supporting others and being supported by them in return. Making connections, that was it. Blogging was about connecting yourself to others.

But people have no time to visit other blogs but their own or the very few who have made it into their elitistic lists. I have cut so many blogs out of my feed because it was actually pointless, there was never any feedback. If you don't have time for me, why should I make time for you, that's the kind of feeling I got from those blogs. If you can't be bothered to show your support for me, than why should I keep supporting you? And that usually brings about the old adage in myself: well, if those other bloggers don't visit, don't reply to your comments, don't comment on your blog, don't show any support it's because they can't. Because your work is so horrid and so bad they have nothing good to say, so they simply don't visit. Why support a blog you feel is dreadful and ugly and untalented? I know I don't. So lately I have been thinking about this more and more, I look back at my posts and I see that they do lack a lot of quality, the photography and the editing has come downhill, the recipes are not interesting at all, I cook what we eat and I post what we cook. Who cares about that?

So while I take the time to ponder on my blogging future, I still do cook a lot and I still do photograph some of the things I cook. This bread was one of those, I baked it as side dish to a hearty oven stew. It's a cornbread that has spelt flour and sundried tomatoes. It also has the warm touch of dried oregano, and is perfect to dip into a stew.
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup o spelt flour
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • one egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon soda bicarbonate
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, diced
Turn on the oven at 180º and line a tin with baking parchment. On a bit of warm water, soak your tomatoes - if they are from a jar, with olive oil, skip this bit! Once they've softened lightly, chop them up finely. Beat milk, butter and egg together until pale, and start adding the dry ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until all is well combined. Now pour onto the tin and bake in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes. Let it cool on a rack once it's cooked, and serve with a stew that is dripping with juices! It's also great as a rustic entrée, combined with a baked camembert - I do love a baked camembert!!