THE BLACK CAULDRON SIMMERS, or What To Do When The Great Pot of Various Ingredients Blow Up In Your Face

Sometimes when Alphonse and I are working on a pot of soup together we have this horrible thing happen to us. The soup blows up. Goes supernova. Indeed, it’s quite tragic. Usually a complete and utter waste of good food. Or was it?

There are times when writing on a story that it’s just not coming. Those carrots refuse to enhance the flavor of the soup!

It’s not that you aren’t inspired. It’s not like it’s that complex. You just can’t write it. And the pot boils over.

What then? What’s going on?

Might I humbly suggest, my friend, that you evaluate yourself. Is this really the kind of soup you need be making?

This is something I have recently done. And I found many of my soups lacking. The recipe for the soup seemed grand enough, but alas, I found that I never could bring myself to put it together. And it’s because that was a soup I never needed to make. A story I wasn’t meant to write.

Don’t force yourself. It’s like eating a food that you abhor. There are times when you are stuck while writing. But really. There are times when you just need to let the story go. You and the inner chef need to sit down together and taste your soup. Carefully. Sparingly. Savor the flavor.

Does it burst into color in your mind? Something that grabs all your mind? Makes you desire to simply eat and eat and eat? If not, consider what this soup is.

There are times when a pot is ignored. It is pushed onto the back burner, and it simmers. The pan blackens on the bottom, and the soup begins to rise. Boils. And bursts over with scalding fury from under the lid. Stories can do this to. And it usually happens with a story that you either one, really care about, but don’t know what to do with, or two, don’t really care about, just keep pouring time and thought into.

So what do we do when the pot blows up in our face?

Evaluate your ingredients — some of them might need to go.

Consider the soup itself — maybe you should make a stew, instead of a creamy potato soup. After all, you would prefer to eat a stew, and don’t care for creamy soup. THEN WHY ARE YOU MAKING CREAMY SOUP?

And last, and many times the hardest thing to consider is this:

Do you even really know how to make this soup? Did you spend enough time preparing the recipe? Or did you see a picture and jump in, commit yourself to something you didn’t even feel led to do, just got caught up in the moment?

The great pot sometimes simmers. Listen for the whistle of the pot.