I was standing in my backyard a few days ago wondering what on earth I was going to do with the overwhelming number of oranges we had our tree. The branches were drooping under the weight of all that fruit. I thought it was highly unlikely that we could eat all that fruit…at least without serious digestive repercussions. Maybe I could give a bunch of it away. Yet, I had let the fruit stay on the tree so long I didn’t know how long it would keep after picking. Shame to only be able to enjoy our own fruit for such a short time.
I pondered the question a little while as the fruit continued to drag the tree branches down. Then a friend mentioned using marmalade in a recipe and a little lightbulb went of: I could make my own marmalade. Never mind the fact that I’ve never made marmalade, or that the last time I made any kind of jam or preserve was years ago, or that I never really like the bitter aftertaste of marmalade, I was determined to give it a try.
I scoured the internet for a recipe that seemed reasonably easy for me and didn’t require anything exotic. I ran out to the store (or a couple of different stores, as it turned out because I guess canning’s not that popular anymore) for more pint jars, lids, and bands. I got some sugar and screwed my courage to the sticking place.
Once I had everything, I dove into the marmalade making. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my oranges were blood oranges (we’ve only lived in this house for around a year and the tree didn’t produce last year) and that the marmalade made from them was very much to my taste. I’m on my third batch of marmalade now and ready to try some variations. I’ve still used only around half the fruit I picked. We’ll be eating marmalade for ages and forcing friends and family to take some jars off our hands. But I’m thrilled.
So…what does this have to do with writing?
It occurred to me as I was making my third batch of marmalade that this whole experience was a lot like writing. I have all of these ideas floating around in my mind half-formed. I’m really not sure what to do with them all or how to begin. So, I have to take a chance. See what works and what doesn’t. I can start with a recipe and then make my own variations. Who cares if it’s something I’ve never tried before? I’m not going to let that intimidate me. Blogging, the Morning Pages and writing exercises are all among the ingredients that I’m going to stir into the pot with my ideas and see what comes of them. In the end, I’ll have many, many stories to share.
In the mean time, I’ll have a some toast with butter and a generous helping of marmalade.