My husband, my friend, my soul mate insists, "Maugham did it with just piddling time every day."
That is, W. Somerset Maugham, a once popular British novelist, made a living from writing a scant number of hours each morning--and then he calls it quits for the day. It is in this way as raconteur, observer of human nature, and wry humorist that he pens a lifetime of novels.
Ted and I meet in a college Shakespeare class and early in our relationship we seek out The Bard of Avon’s plays, we go to Avon, we read, we analyze--also write papers on the greats from Homer to Hemingway--yet Maugham’s popular writing captivates us with his careful insights about relationships.
His lifestyle is also appealing, so we vacation in and come to love Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, the small, fishing village on the French Riviera where Maugham dominates its social life with butlered dinner parties at his stately villa, La Mauresque.
It was during this period our interest in food ratchets up, and being short on the discipline of writing our creative desires deflect to restaurateuring and to the disciplines of food and wine.
As our life meanders we still write, but our literary metaphor evolves into a culinary one, and like most things that go unnoticed in life, it curls in, and is who we are.
Inspired at this late date not only by Maugham but also by a documentary about Joan Didion and her life with her soul mate and writer-husband, John Gregory Dunn—in we plunge.
Joan and John both in the midst of successful writing careers discovered collaboration, so they pass manuscripts back and forth for editing, and with their two personas welded indistinctly, their writing is seamless.
I’ve worried that being together for so long Ted and I have melded personalities. I see this as a defect, not an asset—though I am usually upbeat and greet glasses, bottles, anything and everything half full. I’m a dreamer, an optimist, a can-doer—and I admit, the basic desire to write holds me hostage and turns my inside upside down.
For years we have been entertaining clients, friends, and family with our life experiences, engrossing tales of past and present. As newlyweds we set out to travel the world to gain experience for writing.
Our destination awaits for we find no matter where one is or what one does, you can transform an incident into an experience—or not. Does anyone ever arrive at their destination? It is the journey, as incidents become experiences, that beget who we become.
It may be conscious or unconscious, half real, half dramatized, and for each of us, each day is the choice to drink our life half-full or half-empty.
In the blahgs ahead we'll recount anecdotes in and reflections on our relationship—what it means to be relational for so many years. We’re not experts, only that we have been in this singular relationship for so long, some truths become evident.
Also for subscribers we'll include some recipes, poignant music links, photos, and hopefully drama.
It's all about to become ricotta, recooked in our mind's eye!
MUSIC TO COOK BY
Just the Two of Us, Bill Withers
We like the irony of this recipe being un-cooked and with two colorful melons, carefully spooned side by side.
Two Melon Soup
1 medium honeydew melon, ripened
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 to 1/2 cup Midori*
1 medium cantaloupe melon, ripened
Juice of 1 orange
Taste of honey, optional
Fresh mint or a leaf of your favorite herb
Cube honeydew melon.
Purée in blender with lemon juice and Midori to taste. Set aside and chill.
Cube cantaloupe and purée in blender with orange juice.
Add honey to taste if melon is not sweet enough. Chill.
Using two ladles of the same size, simultaneously ladle each soup, left and right, into pre-chilled bowls.
Garnish the dividing line with a dollop of crème fraîche and fresh herb.
*Midori is a trademark brand liquer made from a blend of musk melons, including the uncommon Yubari King cantaloupe, a cultivar grown only in Yūbari, Hokkaido, Japan.
Midori translates from the Japanese to mean “green” and the addition of Midori to the honeydew soup creates a beautiful verdant hue that along with it’s flavor profile contrasts nicely with the peach tones of the cantaloupe soup.