Late August and it’s girls’ weekend at camp. On the deck, edge of the lake. Empty coffee mugs, crumbs on a plate, molasses donuts as distant a memory as the early morning mist. The summer writing project complete and submitted, and I’m taking a few days away from writing.
Linda’s reading “Forum Feasts,” a church cookbook, circa 1968, grabbed off the shelves in the spare bedroom. “Lotta Jell-O in these salads,” she comments, our conversation inevitably shifting to food and cookbooks and recipe cards and potluck suppers and our mothers’ favorite casseroles.
I’ve known Linda for fifty years. Halloween parties and Campfire Girls candy sales and Latin class and now we’re swapping recipes like our mothers, the witty founders of the island Mothers’ Club, born entertainers who played tambourine and piano at school parties.
“Remember my mom’s newsletter?” I ask. “All those stories she wrote and the recipes and sketches?”
“And her cookbook!” says Linda. “You ought to write a cookbook.”
I pick up the novel I’m reading, We Begin at the End. It’s about death and families and love and small towns. I think about how endings become beginnings. How my mother felt when she first began writing. How her stories about families and food and love and small towns would entertain and captivate readers for thirty some years. How the muse never shuts up, even on this weekend away from desk and laptop; even while I’m gliding along the soft rippled lake at dawn in my kayak, the sun a drop of hope slowly cutting through the fog. How, after my parents’ recent passings, I’m writing my own beginning. Hesitantly dipping my toes in the waters of a new writing project, about families and food and love and small towns.