Friday, June 14, 2013

Disappearences and Three Lists

I didn't mean to disappear this week, and I don't really have a good reason for not popping in and saying hello. The only logical explanation is that, after finishing my first draft, I ran out of words. It happens. 

So what I have I been doing instead of blogging? A few things. 

About two weeks ago, I made a sourdough starter. Have you ever made a starter before? The thing is literally alive and must be fed daily, though twice a day is better in the first week or two (I learned this through trial and error). So far, I've made two loaves of sourdough bread, and while the second batch was better than the first, I'm still trying to perfect my technique. There is a wealth of information about sourdough on the Internet, and that's part of the problem - everyone's method is slightly different, and the only way to figure out which one works best is to experiment with them all. My current go-to tutorials and recipes are: 
Do you bake sourdough bread? Any recipes to recommend or tips to share? I love the idea of keeping a starter alive for years and I love the flavor of sourdough bread, so I imagine this will be an ongoing experiment/love affair. 

I've also been reading like crazy, because of the MFA exam in the fall, and because reading is pretty much the best. The stack above is the pile I'm currently working my way through. The books are as follows:

  • Bobcat, a collection of short stories by the amazing and wonderful Rebecca Lee, who also happens to be a professor at UNCW and really funny on Facebook. The book was recommended on Oprah's website and there's a great interview with Bekki in Publishers Weekly here. Go, Bekki! 
  • The Secret Life of Bees, because I figured I should read all the major bee books out there. I finished this last night and it was not as good as I remembered. The narrator is too precious for my taste. 
  • Pulphead, a collection of essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan, another Wilmington writer. We had to read this for my nonfiction class last spring and I'm still working my way through it (shhh). 
  • Ecotone 15, the current issue of the literary journal that I helped put together last semester. I've read almost everything in it already, but I'm excited to page through it in its final form. 
  • Bring the Noise: The Best Pop Culture Essays from Barrelhouse. An anthology from a literary journal I really like. I borrowed this from Erica. 
  • Varieties of Disturbance. Lydia Davis recently won the Man Booker Prize, which is a huge award. I've been meaning to read her work for a while, so I'm excited to dive in to this collection of mostly short-short stories. 
  • Calling Dr. Laura, a graphic novel, borrowed from Erica, who borrowed it from Katie. I'm not sure what it's about but my friends all seemed to like it and it's been a while since I've read a graphic novel. I'm looking forward to it. 

Other things:

  • Dogsitting for some professors, including Daisy, the sweet pup pictured above. 
  • Kettlebell classes three times a week - helloooo, muscles! 
  • Eating pounds of strawberries every week.  
  • Learning to appreciate chilled white wine, especially as it gets hotter and hotter. 
  • An inaugural trip to the beach last weekend, and my first ocean swim of the summer. 
  • The most recent season of Breaking Bad, which is finally out on DVD (no spoilers!). 
  • Revision, because I'm done with new words for the time being. 

And that pretty much catches you up on my wild and crazy life. How about you? 


  1. I've never tried making sourdough before, but I love eating it so maybe I'll give it a go one of these days :) I read The Secret Life of Bees and really enjoyed it. I want to read it again one of these days since it has been a few years.

    1. It didn't have as much bee information as I remembered! Maybe because I know more now, and it sticks pretty close to the surface. It had some good, funny moments, though. And it's a quick read!

  2. Oooooo...sourdough starter huh? I think I may have found a new project. Thanks Chrissy!

  3. Now I loved The Secret Lives of Bees but if you didn't you might want to try Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt. Great job on the starter, I've never done it but watched my neighbor maintain hers years ago.

    1. Thanks for the book recommendation! I'll check it out. :)

  4. I had a sourdough starter that I purchased from King Arthur for a while, then got tired of maintaining it, and froze it...and then left it in the freezer when I moved. Whoops.

    I subsequently made my own, maintained it for a while, got bored, froze it, and revitalized it again. (One of the King Arthur baking books has tips on this). I keep mine in the fridge and feed it weekly. And honestly, sometimes I forget, but starters seem to get more and more resilient the longer you have them, so it's not the end of the world. Yes, keeping them on the countertop and daily feedings are important at the beginning, but I think I'd go crazy if I didn't do the refrigeration thing. I just don't have it in me to keep something up daily. Same reason I don't have kids.

    1. Oh, I have refrigerated it now! I kept it out for about two weeks, and fed it daily, just to get it established. Feeding it every day forever would definitely be too much for me! I can barely remmeber to water my garden. :)

  5. I've been baking baguettes and foccacia, but not sourdough. I guess I don't really like sourdough enough to grow something, but it seems like something fun to explore at some point...

  6. Cute list, friend! As you can see, I'm catching up with you today :-) And I love your "three lists" idea--I think I shall steal it and use the template to write a post about what I'm up to now while on vacation in Michigan.