November, besides being the month to grow a moustache (for men's health, though Prostate Cancer Awareness Month was last month - not that anyone would know that, as Breast Cancer Awareness Month was the month before it and stole all the thunder), is National Novel Writing Month. I decided to write my locked room murder mystery; I'd had the plot in my head for years and just needed to put it down on paper (or the electronic version thereof). Locked room mysteries were popular in the 1930's, but are only read by mystery fanatics now; the whole idea is that someone's found murdered in a locked room, so the mystery is not just whodunit, but howdtheydoit. Mine takes place in a greenhouse, so is visible to anyone, is in Minnesota in winter so the absence of footprints complicates it and is also filmed on a security camera.
I've been on a short reading spree lately.
"End of the Affair" by Graham Greene. I like all of his works and this is no exception.
"Rashomon and 17 Other Stories" by Ryunosuke Akutasawa. There are some authors that, when I read their works, the stories are so familiar I feel I wrote them. Borges and Kafka are in that category and now so is Akutasawa.
"Where Angels Fear to Tread" by E.M. Forster. Very early Forster work, only moderately successful.
"Letters From a Stoic" by Seneca. Good bedside reader, as one can read a page or two at a time.
"The Enormous Room" by e.e. cummings. I generally love non-fiction written by poets ("Areopagitica" by Milton is the only Milton I can tolerate, for example), but this is the exception. Cummings was a fairly bright, fairly clever, fairly talented artist who experimented with writing and failed.
I was going through a lot of work to make a good pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and now I know how to avoid the multiple failures of my previous botched attempts. 1) Blind bake the shell and heat the filling before putting it into the still-warm shell to avoid getting a soggy crust. 2) Cook until the center reads 175 on an instant-read thermometer to avoid curdling. 3) Use freshly grated ginger rather than dried (ginger, cinnamon and allspice are essential; nutmeg and a dash of cloves help).
Lovin', touchin', squeezin'
19 hours ago