J – In our joint effort to inspire me through A to Z challenge, my kind husband suggested twenty J words, and I picked jambalaya before I could stop myself.
What the heck is jambalaya? It is a spicy rice stew which, as I suspected, it is many things to many people. A distinctive combination of foods – chicken, shrimp, sausage, rice, spices, celery and tomatoes in varied amounts – this sassy delicacy sprouted in Jamaica, flourished in Bayouland and seduced palates all over the country.
So, what does this have to do with writing? After I read the descriptions of this dish, the similarities were inescapable. Everyone who writes combines everything they know while creating a word path. The meat of their writing is as distinctive as tender chicken or fragrant sausage. Add a dash of action, a glob of adjectives, a pinch of pronouns. On a daring day, throw in tablespoonfuls of eroticism, pounds of politics, and cups of laughter. Like the rice stew, writing evolves and morphs in the hands of every new word wizard. In fact, as a novel is written, its style becomes more sophisticated from first chapter to last. (I found that out the hard way!)
One article cautioned that tasty jambalaya is only as good as the kettle used to simmer your personal concoction of foods. A writer’s surroundings, office, nook at the bookstore, or hiding place in the library is the kettle of her ideas. Does she thrive in a boil of anonymous noise in a coffee shop, or does she simmer between her ear buds? Is she a sloppy writer leaving words, notes, and files scattered across the screen, like splashes on the stove top? Or is she tidy, cleaning up word debris as she goes?
What writing habits make your words simmer?