Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I give up...for now

I admit it. My novel is stalled. I am only a third through the required 50,000 words, and I have nothing more to say about my main character, nothing more for her to do. I’ve taken a day off, then another, then scanned my old emails and journals for inspiration. It’s looking grim on the NaNoWriMo front.

I confess. Work is getting to me. I know it will pass, but right now it is annoying. There’s not enough light in my day. And I am in thrall to the twelve dogs (omigod, twelve dogs!) that live under my roof. There is laundry to do, floors to wash, food to cook, and lots and lots of ruffled feelings to soothe. German Shepherds do not accept puppies gracefully.

I hate to accept the truth, but I must. The puppies are cute. All nine squirming bundles. Miss Nell is mighty tired of them hanging off her, and she can’t eat nearly enough to keep up with their greedy mouths. Each weighed in at about a pound when they were born last Tuesday. Today they have each increased their weight by a solid 50%. Wow, what conversion. Nine cups of dogfood a day becomes 4.5 pounds of puppy, for a conversion ratio of 14 to one. For those of you who remember….how many pounds of feed does it take to make a pound of chicken? 1.5 How many pounds of feed does it take to make a pound of pork? Four. A pound of beef? Ten. Clearly, puppies would be a real delicacy if they were, as Peter originally suggested, raised for meat.

Perhaps here is a good point to remind everyone that all the animal words in the English language that related to food (beef, pork, mutton, etc.) have French roots.

The truth is that Miss Nell is not eating nine cups a day of puppy food, because as she has eloquently communicated, she does not care for puppy food. Yes, I am cooking for her. So far it has been pretty easy, since I have taken it as an opportunity to clear out of the freezer all those single cooked chicken breasts or meatballs left over from last Christmas. But today at the market, I bought chicken thighs for her, and extra eggs. I figure I will get the broth for the freezer, and she can have the cooked chicken.

Finally, I have found a good web-based Indian grocery so I am expecting reinforcements for my supplies of “funny food.” Garbanzo flour and pappadam, all sorts of interesting beans, tamarind pulp and cumin seed in quantity—it was the best forty dollars I have spent in a long time. This business of limited budgets does not so much limit one’s pleasures as concentrate them. I have derived more joy from recent purchases of frilly underwear than from buying furniture in days more flush. As someone said to me today in another context, “Life is so exciting. So interesting.”

And I did need reminding.

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