Sink into my bones

Generally, my writing is influenced by living, by absorbing everything that happens to me and my actions — Graham Nash 

The last ten days —this excludes travelling time — I did a lot of absorbing. Like a sponge. No, I’m not talking about alcohol or anything illicit in nature. I’m talking about knowledge (although it could be considered illicit depending where you come from). Learning new things and letting that knowledge slowly and positively manifests its way into my life and into my writing. I’m excited to see what my imagination conjures up.

I met new people and strengthened bonds with new friends. Overall, it was a positive experience. It was something I needed for my creative health and inspiration. I am inspired and I can’t wait to start writing again and working extensively and intensely with my two lead fictional characters — the pair I affectionately refer to as ‘my two boys.’ I might refer to them by name one day, but I can’t see any justification to do so. Not until I’m ready to unleash them out into the world.

There is so much to say about the trip but I need to collect my thoughts. There are some things I may discuss in future posts… like far-into-the-future posts.

What I can say, coherently, is that if I had to eat Mexican cuisine for the rest of my life, I would happily do so. I have yet to experience the Mexican version of horchata but I have discovered a drink called atole. My taste buds give it an enthusiastic two-thumbs up. Me encanta! It is made with corn masa, unrefined sugar cane or piloncillo, cinnamon, and vanilla. It is sold as street food. Atole is the drink of choice if you are going to eat a tamale. It is a popular drink for breakfast, or any time of the day, I would guess. And it’s great for the holidays like El Día de Los Muertos and Christmas. I’ve found a couple of recipes to try and as soon as I figure which one I like better, it’ll become a staple in my home.

I’m not much of a coffee drinker these days simply because my body doesn’t get along with caffeine all that well anymore. But during a food tour, I had a sip of Mexican style coffee from one of my fellow tour foodies because they were just surprised by the taste and couldn’t get enough of it. Well, I had to agree with them. Muy rico. No need to put in milk or cream into this coffee.

If I remember the method correctly, the coffee is made with coarse coffee beans cooked in a sauce pan with water, molasses, piloncillo or dark brown sugar, and cinnamon. It can be made with cardamon instead of cinnamon for an Arabic-style coffee. The brew is poured into cups through a fine-mesh strainer. It really is a good way to start off the day.

The Mexicans are really lovely people. Yes, there is a huge gap between rich and poor but they do seem to remain, fundamentally good people, kind people and generous people. And they love Canadians. I learned a lot about Mexico’s social history during my field research. I’m not a history buff, per se, but understanding the history of a country and its people in the context of my research has been fascinating. I think the only way you could get me interested in history is to give me a present-day social issue to look back to its origins and see how it arrived to where it is now.

There is so much to say and so much I still need to let sink into my bones. It has a been a great trip. It promises to yield so much in the future.

Wandering with a purpose

I don’t do a lot of research, exactly, but I’m constantly wandering through the world finding things incredible and remembering them – Nick Harkaway

I would like to say I don’t do a lot of research when I’m working on my writing but the truth is I do prep work.

Some things take more prep work than others and that is only because things I find interesting I tend to file away in my head until it’s time to pull them out and utilize them. That bank of knowledge and information can and has reduced my prep work significantly.

I’m having a good time conducting my current field research. A lot of it is planned wandering, if that makes any sense to you. It makes sense to me. This coming week should prove more interesting and I’m looking forward to absorbing what I’ll see and experience. Some pieces of information will do a slow burn in my brain whereas other pieces of knowledge will immediately produce some great material for my present and future writing projects.

No doubt that there will be some things I think I’m unable to remember but will suddenly remember during the most interesting moments. Never fails.

Hate to cut it short. I’ve got a busy week ahead. Lots of wandering. With a purpose. Later, folks.

Adrenaline alert

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves — in finding themselves
— Andre Gide

Later this week marks the start of a long-overdue adventure for me. Ten days living in and exploring a different country all in the name of literary research. Yeah, it also happens to be a vacation. Well, I’m using vacation time to do this. If you think about it, isn’t doing something different, fun and cool, a vacation? Regardless of where the fun happens, be it away or at home? I think so.

Plus, I get to see my best friend for a few hours during a stopover. How do you jam a summer’s worth of living into three hours of shits and giggles? I don’t know either, but it’ll be worth a try.

Adventures are great because you end up learning a lot of about yourself. And I suppose if you’re having an adventure with friends or loved ones, they find out a lot about you, too. And that’s not always a good thing. I’ve seen the good and the bad which probably explains why the only person with whom I would go on any adventure, would be my best friend. Adventures with relatives can be complicated. Been there, done that, not all that impressed.

But having adventures on your own, is a different beast altogether. And for some reason, running off for some solo adventure is a concept I’m most comfortable with. I think it’s the lone wolf in me. Maybe it has something to do with not having to answer to anybody but the alarm clock. Yeah, I can definitely see that.

To be honest, in solo adventures (depending on what it is that you’re doing), you tend to make new friends albeit temporarily. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, the friendships go beyond temporary and you’ve found yourself another life-long friend. Another kindred spirit. Those kinds of folks are fun.

I’m looking forward to making new friends (temporary or not) on this upcoming adventure. I’m also looking forward to discovering what my imagination will be inspired by during this time. During this process, I’m going to get to know more about myself as a writer, as a creative person, and figure out what kinds of stories I want to tell. Although I have a pretty good idea about the kinds of stories I want to tell, it doesn’t hurt to see if that idea can be expanded with the introduction of new places and new faces.

I can’t wait. The adrenaline is coursing through me. I’m ready.