Friday, August 17, 2012

Muse Chasing while Cookie Baking (& Other Writing Adventures I Wouldn't Recommend)

So there I was in my happy place... 
in the midst of writing a new scene. 

I was into it. 

Arrows were flying, mountain lions were attacking, the Hero was in mortal peril and then, all at once, I smelled it.


I sat oblivious as my fingers danced over the keys and my heart pounded along with my characters' as Death stared them in the face. So "there" as I was, chasing the Muse driving my keystrokes, I never dreamed that same villain, though in different form, might stalk into my kitchen and attack something so dear to my heart.

But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, here. Maybe you need just a little "taste", as it were, of backstory so we're on the same page. So here goes...

Now you have to understand: I've been craving oatmeal coconut cranberry cookies for well over a week. But rather than bake them for me as I gallop toward the next deadline, my teen daughter has claimed the need for a social life and has abandoned me to snacking on graham crackers (they're gone now) marshmallows (also, gone.) and nutella (almost gone.) So I decided today, while she is off pursuing whatever it is nice, wholesome teen girls do these days, to go ahead and bake my own stinkin' cookies.

Well, I generally burn at least one batch. Usually the last batch. And, while my burned batch is usually fairly crispy, it's still quite edible if you dunk them in coffee. (And who wouldn't???) This time, however, I went a little beyond the norm. But it wasn't my fault, really... was it?

I blame The Muse.

When I put that last batch  in the oven, I turned back to my laptop, conveniently perched on the kitchen table, and resumed creating the scene that, before today, was just a note in a margin.

Suddenly, mayhem broke out. A mountain lion! (I did not see that one coming!) And it's dark! And they're in a forest! Someone could die! Danger! Danger! My fingers flew across the keys. In what seemed like no time at all, (certainly not enough time to fully bake a batch of cookies!) a mouthy young girl with a quick wit and a steady  bow brought down the beast, saved the day, and our Hero's life. 

As I finished the scene, I noticed that my battery was running low. So, I moved the laptop to my office. Just as I attached the power cord, however, the scent that had come on so gradually while I brought down the beast, made it through to the right brain receptors.

That wasn't the smell of imminent fictional death. That was the real thing.

Umm... oops.

I raced to the kitchen only to discover the blackest, most coal-like hunks of ruin that had EVER touched my poor cookie sheet. And in that moment, I came to the sad realization that chasing the muse and baking cookies should probably be adventures kept independent of one another in the future. Yes, I met (exceded, woot!) my word count goal for the day, and the Hero may have been saved; but my cookies?

Not so much.

The baking sheet is now sitting on my back steps while the smoke clears. The stench of cookie death is being carried outside through the stove vent and an open window. The good news? It was the last batch. So, at least for the next scene... I'm set for snackin'.

What sort of multitasking gets you in trouble with the oven? I'd love to know... leave your comments below!

 Image credits:
1Image credit: <a href='
 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
2. Image credit: <a href='
and-crossbones-illustration-in-vector-format.html'>lhfgraphics / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
3. Lil' Ol' Me.


  1. I have the same problem with the stove that you have with the oven. A simple syrup turned into burnt, gooey caramel during my characters' first kiss. Boiled eggs popped in the kitchen as "the other man" entered the scene. Potatoes boiled over and burned to the pan while she tearfully begged forgiveness.

    I'm not much of a baker. These days, I'm not much of a cook either.

    1. Love it, Linda! I'm with you. Cooking is a drag... especially when inspiration is flowing elsewhere!

  2. I haven't encountered cooking catastrophes, probably because I have my teenagers do all of the cooking nowadays. (That's what they're for, right?) However, my in-depth writing can be a real problem when I have a kid or two or three to pick up from various places. They don't let me forget that they have to leave to get there, but with them gone (and the house blissfully quiet) bringing them home can totally slip my mind! Good thing they are a thankful bunch!

    1. LOL! I cannot tell you how many times this summer the girls have called to have me come get them at the pool and I say, "Okay, ten minutes." Only to have them call back 30 minutes later to see if I was kidnapped by aliens or something in that mile between our house and the pool. I'm definitely not getting the gold star for Awesome Momness this summer!

  3. I do this allllllllllllllll the time.
    Usually with my toaster and oven.
    Stupid toaster oven over cooks things half the time and under cooks the rest of the time.

    1. Juju, you have a new baby. That distraction beats the pants of my muse! ;)

      I think you and I must have the same toaster oven. Whenever I ask my youngest if she wants toast, she says, "Yes, Mom. But just brown, not black."

  4. I was reading the newspaper today and burnt my husband's birthday cake!!! (I totally ate it though).


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