Every Five Days: A Poetic Journey to Bread

By Kristy Horine

Sourdough. 

It’s been the bread of choice in my family for three generations. From Papaw, to Momma, to me. My “Secret Life” as a bread maker has waxed and waned over the years. I’ve received jars of starter, killed jars of starter, and baked hundreds of loaves of bread. Most bread I gave away. Sourdough to neighbors. Sourdough to strangers. Sourdough to bake sales for various ministries. Sourdough as communion bread. 

Over time, I’ve learned the process — feeding, waiting, kneading, waiting, baking, eating and waiting some more — is blessed with measures of faith, hope and love. The three that remain.  To honor the Lord who gave us His own body as bread, a poem:

Every fifth morning, I pull the pickle jar from the fridge.
(It used to live with Cathy Thompson,
The jar did.
She filled it with things that bubbled and soured.
Then, she gave it to me.)
I put the pickle jar on the counter.

Every fifth morning, into my two-cup glass measureFood for starters

I add:
One cup of perfect-warm water,
three, one-fourth cups sugar,
Three tablespoons potato flakes.
(The flakes look like snow.)
I stir and waterfall the warm, sweet, snow into the pickle jar.

Then,
I wait.

Every fifth night, I fetch my mixing bowl
From under the counter.
(Momma gave me a set of three at Christmas-time
One year)
I add:A measure of flour

One fourth cup sugar,
One half cup oil,
One tablespoon salt,
One cup swirled-up starter,
One and a half cups perfect-warm water
Six cups bread flour.
I stir. Turn out. Knead.

Then,
I wait.

Every sixth morning, I grease and flour my pans.
Punch down dough, turn out onto flour-dusted counter,
Twist in two places to make lumps of three.
I press and spread and roll the dough
With my fingers, floured white.
Dough pressed flat

I tuck the dough into pans, pull waxed paper covers up to their chins.

Then, I wait.

Every sixth evening, I turn the knob to start the
WHOOSH!
Of gas in my oven.
Thirty minutes in, a glance for golden brown, a thump on
Top for doneness.Sliced bread
I eat the heels
(straight away)
for they are my favorite parts:
Slathered with sweet cream salted butter,
Only half allowed to melt,
For the waiting has seemed so long.

WRITING PROMPT: You are a master baker, paid to produce the most exquisite morsels ever to be eaten. You have received an order for two plain loaves of bread to be delivered to a remote hillside. The client is willing to pay seventeen times what the bread is worth, as long as you deliver it in person at exactly three o’clock. Write about the conversation you have with the client upon delivery.


Click to Tweet: Every Five Days: A Poetic Journey to Bread via @inspiredprompt and @kristyhorine – sometimes the waiting seems long but the end product slathered with butter, totally worth it.

3 Questions Wednesday with Cherie Burbach

IMG_0689Please welcome Cherie Burbach, poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer , to 3 Questions Wednesday.

Glad you could join us, Cherie. First question.

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Cherie: I love a variety of books. The Psalms in the Bible and the Book of John are favorites. I go back to poetry books again and again (anything by Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, or Rumi) and I go back to The Prophet and On Writing from time to time also.

Poetry is my first love, so the Psalms appeal to me for a variety of reasons. First, that they reveal the emotional side of King David. What a wonderful perspective we have on him because of the Psalms. Also, because they are filled with emotion, so if you’re struggling or happy you are likely to find something that resonates.

I cannot imagine my writing life without poetry. Word choice and description are so important in poetry, and expressing myself that way helps me in all the other writing I do, even with my freelance writing work for clients.

Poetry and art go together so I’m not surprised. Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Cherie: The ability to organize any drawer or closet. If I wasn’t a writer I’d have become a professional organizer. I do paint quite a lot and can crochet an afghan like nobody’s business. My grandma taught me that.

Oh, I like to organize too. But I don’t think I’d do it for a living. 🙂 Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Cherie: I’ve been hooked on trying out different soup recipes for a while now, and make them for my family when we watch the Packer game, so I’m sure I’d whip up one of those for dinner. Then probably my 40 clove garlic chicken with some rice, a salad with fruit and greens, and a nice dessert to make sure you don’t leave hungry.

Sounds delicious. Thanks, Cherie, for dropping by for a visit!

Cherie is offering a print copy of her book, 100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends, to one of our friends who leave a comment. So add yours…

 

100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends51xZ3DOlc5L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

The more friends you have, the more you’ll have the right people in your life to give you the support and connection you desire. Having more friends means you’ll consistently connect with new people and also keep the good friends you already have. If your friendships don’t seem to stick, you’ll be making friends and losing them quickly. The key to having more friends is increasing the number of people you meet on a regular basis and holding on to the great pals you already have.

This book contains one hundred suggestions on how to make new friends and also strengthen the friendships you already have. The tips are varied, with suggestions on how to meet new people interspersed with ideas for nurturing your new and existing friendships.

Cherie Burbach is a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and relationships. She’s written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, Christianity Today, and more. Visit her website for more info, cherieburbach.com.

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Donn Taylor

Donn Taylor portraits 12/7/07

Please welcome Donn Taylor, novelist and poet, to 3 Questions Wednesday I had the honor of meeting Don at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference a few years back. I love his book of poetry, Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond and his novels. 🙂

Hi, Donn. First question.

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Donn: Probably an odd answer here: I was twice retired when I turned to creative writing, and I’d spent more than twenty years working with English literature. So I came loaded with information of one kind or another. I think my most formative book was the late Lawrence Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound and Sense, 3rd Edition. Perrine approached fiction and poetry by illustrating the structural elements of both arts—things like character, diction, symbol, irony, etc. A second formative influence was “reader response” criticism, which tried to explain what happens to a reader as he reads words on paper. From that study I particularly remember Stanley Fish’s claim that the meaning of any sentence is everything that happens to the reader as he progresses through it. And of course the broad range of English literature was a formative influence.

But when I turned to writing my first novel, Jack M. Bickham’s Scene and Structure was my guide from the basic concept all the way to completion. I’ve studied a number of texts since then, but none has added more than a codicil or two to Bickham’s. As for models within fiction, my first novel (The Lazarus File) owed much in subject matter and tone to Gavin Lyall’s The Wrong Side of the Sky. (Climactic points in both novels involve the hero’s flying skills getting him through threatening situations.) From sci-fi novelist Robert Heinlein I learned to vary tension by dropping in unexpected bits of humor. And from Shakespeare and Hollywood, I learned to balance the serious hero or heroine with comic characters.

This is not to say that I’ve perfected any of these things, but I’m apparently doing them well enough to get published and read. I still have a lot of room for improvement.

It amazes me how different books help different writers. Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Donn: I’m more conscious of secret defects than I am of secret talents. (The defects will remain secret if I can manage it.)  At present, I don’t do much besides writing. In my prior incarnations there may be things my friends don’t know. I started writing songs when I was 14 and composed about half of my senior piano recital. I entered college as a music major, but two years later I turned 18 and discovered literature. College got interrupted by service in the military, and I never went back to studying music. (I know just enough music to be dangerous.) In the Army I began as Infantry, but moved into aviation, was a tactical flight instructor and instrument flight examiner. It’s no secret that afterwards I went back to graduate school and spent a couple of decades as a professor. That’s about the sum of it.

What an interesting life! Should give you lots of writing material 🙂 Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Donn: My expertise in the culinary arts is mostly nonexistent. For dinner, I’d be more likely to take you out to the Longhorn Steak House than try to prepare a dinner for you. Beyond eggs and bacon, about the only dish I prepare is an open sandwich the Germans call a klub teller. To prepare it, you pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Then for each serving you put one slice of bread on a cookie sheet and put a slice of deli ham on top. Next, you take two slices of pineapple, cut them in half, and interlock the halves like a jigsaw puzzle on top of the ham. Then you top the pineapple with a slice of Swiss cheese and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top of that. You leave it in the oven until the cheese melts.

That’s not exactly what one would expect as a dinner guest, but it’s the limit of my talents. In any case, we would follow the meal with coffee and Blue Bell ice cream, which is about as close as we on earth can get to the classical nectar of the gods. But all in all, I think the Longhorn Steak House is a better bet.

Both meals sound great to me. Make my steak medium and my ice cream chocolate. Thanks, Donn, for stopping by!

Donn will send a  print copy of Lightning on a Quiet Night to one blessed person who leaves a comment. (U.S. residents only) I’ve read it and it’s really good 🙂

Lightning on a Quiet NightLightning Cover - 300dpi

Following a horrific murder, the town of Beneficent, Mississippi, population 479, tries desperately to hold onto its vain self-image. The young veteran Jack Davis holds that idyllic vision of the town and tries to share it with Lisa Kemper, newly arrived from Indiana. But she is repelled by everything in it. While the sheriff tries to find the killer, Jack and Lisa’s contentious courtship reveals the town’s strange combination of astute perceptions and surprising blind spots. Then they stumble onto shocking discoveries about the true nature of the town. But where will those discoveries lead? To repentance or to denial and continuation in vanity?

Donn Taylor is a novelist and poet of varied career. He led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in English literature (Renaissance) and for eighteen years taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His poetry has appeared in leading journals and is collected in his book Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond. His fiction includes a light-hearted mystery, Rhapsody in Red, and two suspense novels, Deadly Addictive and The Lazarus File, which has been re-issued as an e-book. His latest is a historical novel,Lightning on a Quiet Night. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ groups and conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he continues to write fiction and poetry, as well as essays on writing, ethical issues, and U.S. foreign policy.

www.donntaylor.com

http://www.facebook.com/donntaylor

www.facebook.com/authordonntaylor

 

A Month of Modern Literature

LiteratureLiterature, a body of written works. The name has traditionally been applied to those imaginative works of poetry and prose distinguished by the intentions of their authors and the perceived aesthetic excellence of their execution. Literature may be classified according to a variety of systems, including language, national origin, historical period, genre, and subject matter.

Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “literature”, accessed July 28, 2015, http://www.britannica.com/art/literature.

Put simply, letters worthy of remembrance. I like that one. This month on Writing Prompts, our crew is examining modern literature. Of course, literature also includes poetry. There’s been a resurgence of poetry in the last few decades. If you’re a fan, you know there are some important works among modern poets. One of my favorites is Maya Angelou. Her haunting “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” touched my heart.

“The free bird leaps

on the back of the wind

and floats downstream

till the current ends

and dips his wings

in the orange sun rays

and dares to claim the sky.”

excerpt from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

A list for modern literature exists on Goodreads. It is pages long, and reminiscent of my high school reading list. I only read a few of those.

In my blog post last month, I discussed one I did read, written by John Steinbeck—The Grapes of Wrath. Yes, it was beyond my years when I first read it, but I was in awe of this story. You can read that post here.

Peruse the Goodreads list, and I’m certain you’ll find books you’ve read or movies you’ve watched. Everything from American Psycho to A Passage to India (one of my personal favorites), and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Okay, who made this list?

It’s evident we all may have differing opinions where literature is concerned. Yes, you will find Harry Potter books on that list—the reason my youngest reads now. Until Harry Potter books came along, he wasn’t interested. Don’t judge me too harshly—he was grown and married when he read those books. I had little say in his choice.

  • How would you define modern literature?
  • How will it be defined years from now?
  • Taking into account the glut of works flooding the market, which ones will remain?
  • How will our future selves define these days of “modern” literature?

The book snobs will definitely turn up their aristocratic noses at some of the stuff out there—in much the same manner as critics blasted the comic books when they first made their appearance. Now we have billions of dollars being spent on big, shiny comic book movies.

And don’t forget dime novels. I believe we still have those, only they’re ninety-nine cents these days and you can read them online.

I hope you’ll pop back in throughout the month of August and see what our crew discovers on their quest for modern literature.

That’s my little stash of classics at the top of this article. I’ve read and re-read them over the years. Some are quite old, but I keep them. It goes against my nature to toss out books. You may find these are on several lists of important novels. They definitely make mine.

Writing Prompt: Are you a poet? If so, compose a short poem inspired by this photo. Submit it via comments for a double entry in this quarter’s drawing for a gift card.

Sneakers on a Pier3