Hello VP Alum and Staffers,
A few of us from last year’s class were very homesick when Mac started talking about VP food on Twitter. That got me to thinking that we should have a Viable Paradise Cookbook! I’m far from the first to have this idea, and I’ve seen it a few times so I can’t give proper credit to the originator, but it’s too fantastic an idea to let float any longer.
I’m going to take on the task of collecting and organizing recipes into some sort of printable format (yet to be determined and that’s something we can discuss) so that we can all have a little piece of Viable Paradise exactly when we need it.
There will be two sections to this culinary masterpiece: First, a section for the “official” VP recipes: Mac’s marvelous curry, Bart’s fudge, Uncle Jim’s pancakes, etc. Second, a section for alum and staffers to provide yummy recipes (inspired by VP or not) to share with everyone.
I’ve made an email address for the project to keep everything organized: viableparadisecookbook at gmail dot com. If you’d like to help out or contribute a recipe (pictures of food you enjoyed at VP also enthusiastically accepted!), please write there.
Let’s make something delicious together!
Coral Moore (VP17)
Edited to add: Cocktail recipes will also be accepted and literary recipe names are encouraged!
I hate the third of September. It’s the only day I actually hate. I wish September third had never been because I lost my brother eight years ago today. The rational part of me knows that even if there hadn’t been a third of September eight years ago I still would have gotten the early morning call, it just would have happened on another day. My inner five year old, however, is sure that if all September thirds were abolished, he would still be alive.
I have dreams of him, often. In those dreams he is happy and we do silly things like ride around in a bus and catch fish. I wake from those dreams still thinking he’s alive and the moment I realize he’s not is always painful. I relive that phone call again and again, trying to convince myself it was a nightmare. I want to call him. I want to hear him laugh. I want to thank him. I do not want a chance to say goodbye–never that.
I don’t think I’ve ever expressed this here, but all of my writing is because of him. Writing was his dream first. I borrowed his dream because I wanted to feel a connection with him. I fail at NaNoWriMo every year because of him and the threadbare NaNo 2003 shirt that I liberated from his room the day he died. I write quirky characters that he would have loved to read.
He introduced me to so many of the things I love that every day I am reminded of him and what a blessing it was to have him in my life. I am so thankful and I miss him so much. Today especially.
In honor of his life and his writing I’m adding a story to my Flash Fiction collection posted here that reminds me very much of him. I hope you enjoy A Mother’s Love.
I’m afraid of lots of things—spiders, germs, and that you’ll think I’m a moron, just to start. I’ve been thinking about the nature of fear a lot recently, and I’ve come to the conclusion that self-confidence and fear are in direct opposition to each other. This may not be ground-breaking news for anyone else, but for me it’s come as quite a surprise.
A few months ago my husband suggested that we get motorcycles. Frankly, I thought he was kidding because, let’s face it, I’m way too neurotic for that shit. Some days I can barely manage to leave the house because some random thing might kill me. This was a terrible idea—maybe the worst idea in the history of ever. People DIE on motorcycles.
At the time, I think I probably laughed and said sure. I think I imagined that the whole idea was a flight of fancy that he’d forget about given time. Well, he didn’t. He started to research how one goes about getting a motorcycle endorsement in this state, which involves a riding class. I figured a class couldn’t hurt, right? We’ll go, see how terrible I am at it, and then we’ll have a bit of a laugh and forget about the whole awful idea.
The first day of class came around, and that was when fear and I became reacquainted. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the first time I sat on a motorcycle I almost dropped it because my hands were shaking. Somehow, I managed to move the thing. I still had my feet on the ground, though, and I was pretty sure I was never going to be able to pick them up.
I cannot properly express the heart-pounding terror of picking my feet up that first time. I was sure, no, I was CERTAIN, that was going to fall over, both injuring and embarrassing myself in the process. I didn’t. I actually managed not to fall the entire day. In no version of that day that I had worried about for weeks in advance had that happened.
In the end, I passed the class and didn’t drop the bike once. Holy shit! Now what had I done? I had a piece of paper saying I could get my motorcycle endorsement. I kind of had to follow through, right? I mean, I’d already done the hard part. This isn’t really the story of how I ended up with a motorcycle through what felt like no fault of my own, but I think it’s relevant to mention that at no time in the process until the very end, when the nice gentleman dropped off my gorgeous Yamaha Bolt, did I ever imagine myself the owner and rider of a motorcycle.
Here’s what I really want to talk about: how fear is a manifestation of lacking self-confidence. Throughout this motorcycle saga, I’ve encountered and conquered a lot of fear. I piled minor victories on top of each other until I surpassed what I had imagined I could do by so much I could barely see the starting point. Each time I managed to do something, I also learned an important lesson: when I knew I could manage a situation, I wasn’t as scared of it anymore. The simple act of knowing I could do it lessened the fear the next time the situation came around.
The point of this rather rambling post, dear reader, is that the lesson the motorcycle has taught me can be applied to everything from submitting stories to saying hello to someone I admire. Facing and overcoming something I am afraid of can only make the fear less menacing and give me the confidence to do it again. What’s the worst that can happen if I submit a story and it’s rejected? They say no. That’s it. The world isn’t going to end. The editor isn’t going to think I’m a moron. (Honestly, if they think anything at all about me I’m pretty much winning!) The story isn’t going to self-destruct.
Frank Herbert was right, I think: Fear is the mind-killer. So do something that scares you (safely!), and learn from it. Tonight I’m going to get on a highway for the first time on my motorcycle. I’m terrified, but I’m not going to let that stop me. Tomorrow I’m going to apply for a job I really want, but don’t think I deserve. I’m terrified of that, too. I’ll survive both experiences, I’ll gain confidence from them, and I’ll go on to do bigger and better things. Because this is my story, damn it, and I’m not going to be too afraid to live it.
Hearts and puppies,
Okay, so I really suck at this updating regularly thing. To those of you who know me, that’s no surprise. To those of you who are new here, that’s what you’re in for–infrequent and inconstant updates. Sorry, that’s just how this writer girl rolls.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, a bit of a state of the writing union. Forgotten Magic has officially been finished. The words “THE END” were written and everything. I haven’t started the editing process yet, because that’s the story I’m going to be workshopping the start of at Viable Paradise in a month. (Please hold while I do a little happy dance about that. – – – Okay, done.)
I’ve started working on another project in the meantime, a shorter-form piece to act as a bit of a palate cleanser between my novels. I am going to really try to get some more shorts done in the coming months. I’ve got several started, but they always seem to want to transform into something longer and I put them aside before getting sucked in. I have one flash piece and a poem I need to spend some time editing and then shop around. Maybe I’ll set some time aside this weekend for that so I can submit them next week.
In Broods of Fenrir news, I’ve started the third book. It’s just a handful of scenes right now and the plot is still forming in my head, but at least there are words and some of them even form sentences! In fact, I’ll share what is currently the first scene with you now. As usual with the snippets from my writing journal, it hasn’t been edited and is still rough. There’s also no promise that this scene will remain in its current form, or any other form in the final manuscript because many things can change between now and then. Be warned, there are spoilers from the previous books in this scene if you haven’t read them yet. And now, on with the show…
I wrote a poem last night. I was kind of shocked because I’m not really a poet. That wasn’t the only amazing thing about the experience though. I think it might have been the first moment when I actually thought, “Holy shit, I’m really a writer.” I’ll explain, because I’m sure that’s a little strange to hear from me. The poem summarizes a week’s worth of interesting experiences into a single moment that never really happened, but shows what those disparate points in time taught me when taken together.
I’ve never really thought of myself as ‘that writer.’ You know, the one who’s deep and tortured and has a message. I write stories I’d like to read. I invent characters and put them in difficult situations to see how they’d react. This is the first time I learned something about life that I wanted to share. It was kind of amazing. Anyway, I’m not posting the poem up here just yet. I’d like to polish it up and send it out a few places to see if anyone picks it up. I will tell you the title though: “Old Woman in a Cuban Bakery”
If you like, tell me something awesome that happened to you this week. I’d love to hear about it.