the year of magical thinking

I’ve decided to start posting about the books I read. I read a lot, and I read a fairly wide variety of books. I love talking about books and I love getting recommendations for what to read next, so feel free to join in the conversation in the comments below. 

much love, friends.

– e xx

I read much of The Year of Magical Thinking on the train. I did a lot of my reading on the train last semester. Filled with work and uni, my weeks were busy; the train is my time out. My deep-breath space. My no-obligations, can’t do anything about that right now wild card. My reading nook.

Usually I could get a seat, although for the 7.29 limited express via the city loop on Tuesdays and the ‘sometime during the peak hour’ Wednesday evening train I’m standing up all the way. I don’t mind, so long as I can face forward.

Sometimes I would close the book and stare out the window and the greenery rushing by and try not to sob, the heart-wrenching words of Joan Didion kicking me in the guts. Trains aren’t great for reading books like this. I don’t want to be around people when I’m reading something like this.

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chocoate chocolate cupcakes

I’m writing a novel.

I have always loved to write. I started this blog to write, and I made it a food blog because I love food. I love to make it and I love to share it. And National Novel Writing Month has given me that same opportunity in a completely different way.

 

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a word on words

So I hate to be blasting you with links to click on and no return on my part so at the end of this post is indeed a recipe for you to make and share, especially, if you can, with poets; they like their sweets. Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway.

Before we get to the double chocolate mud cupcakes (easy to share; easy to transport; don’t need icing; easy ish to make; perfect birthday cupcakes) we’re talking about poetry.

Poetry, rather like tea, soothes the soul and calms the spirits. Poetry is the words when there are no words to describe what goes on in the heart and in the soul. Poetry writes the words that won’t come, poetry tells us that we are not alone. Poetry is the lyrics to the song of life. Poetry is the imagination of the world written out upon the pages of our collective journal, the words spoken into the darkness when no one will hear, the cry of one in the wilderness, the emphasis of the swear words when they aren’t strong enough.

Poetry lifts you up when you’re high enough to be lifted and sits with you in the deep dark places when you aren’t. It sings your delights and wails your sorrows.

Poetry touches us. Poetry holds our hearts with gentle hands, lets us rest in its soft loving arms.

Poetry challenges us. Poetry reaches in and touches our hearts and says, you can feel this. Don’t pretend you can’t. Do something about it instead.

Poetry is hope. And ‘Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul,/And sings the tune–without the words, /And never stops at all’ *

Poetry can be written, and it is beautiful when written – the Norton Anthology of Poetry is a good place to start. (page 1340).

Poetry can be read but poetry can also be spoken. Spoken Word poetry is one of the most spine tingling experiences you can be a part of.

The Centre for Poetics and Justice is ‘dedicated to the integration of poetics and social transformation.’ There are many different poetry events around Melbourne; try Overload Poetry, the Wheeler Centre, Footscray Community Arts Centre, Poetiq, or tune in to Channel 31 on Wednesdays at 11pm for Red Lobster.

And now for the cupcakes.

Everything I said earlier was true.

These are beautifully dense and chocolaty, while managing not to be overly heavy. They don’t need icing, they travel well, they are great to share – if they get past your own kitchen.

They are fantastic for birthday cupcakes, as well, as we demonstrated tonight.

Double Chocolate Mud Cupcakes

Adapted from Cupcakes from the Australian Women’s Weekly kitchen

I couldn’t find the actual book on Amazon that I got the recipe from, but this one seems quite close.

60g dark eating chocolate, chopped

160ml water

90g softened butter

1 cup firmly brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup self raising flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/3 cup almond or hazelnut meal

Preheat oven to 170ºC. Line a 12 hole cupcake pan with paper cases.

Melt chocolate with the water in a small saucepan and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy; add eggs one at a time. Sift in flour and nut meal; fold in gently and add chocolate. Stir until just incorporated.

Fill cases until about they are about 3/4 of the way full. You should be able to divide the mixture evenly among the 12.

Bake about 25 minutes. They should be lightly springy to the touch; don’t let them overbake otherwise they’ll be dry and crackly on the top. Let them rest five minutes before turning them out to cool on a wire rack.

*Hope, by Emily Dickinson

an exchange between two people who are worlds apart and yet strangely similar, who are both seekers and night wanderers…

‘Why are you in bare feet?’ the policeman asked, looking at the young girl – young woman, he corrected himself, in scruffy shorts and a hooded jumper, inconceivably in the middle of a well-lit city road in the wee hours of a middle-of-the-week morning;

‘I like to feel the rhythm of the street’ she replied ‘the lifeblood of the city under my heels, that heartbeat through which we are somehow all connected.’