LAKE MACBRIDE— The afternoon was spent making applesauce with the last of the fallen apples from the Sept. 19 storm. They stored well, and six quart Mason jars and a pint are processing in the water bath canner. It’s local food more so than most: they fell about 30 feet from the kitchen window during the storm.
After experimenting with applesauce techniques, I cored, but did not peel the apples, cut each into about 16 pieces, steamed them in a bit or water until they released their own juice and begin to fall apart, and processed them through a food mill. I also made chunky-style apple sauce, using a potato masher before spooning it into a jar. No spices or sweeteners here. They can be added when serving, but this applesauce really needs no additives.
Is the story of my applesauce afternoon worth writing or reading? I don’t know about the latter, but the process of writing helps me understand life on the plains in a way that takes the rough, dull and lonely parts out, rendering it into a sweet pulp to serve to friends and family, and packaged to give as a gift. Seriously. Who wants to hear about the rough, dull and lonely parts of life anyway?
There is the actuality of the time spent and the image above. If that’s all there were in this post, an autobiography of a moment in time, it would not be worth reading. The hope is that by imagining a life, and writing it down, some value can be added, and if we are lucky, an epiphany reached.
According to WordPress, there are more than 72 million blogs on their site. Add in the other sites and there is a lot to read, many thoughtful, some hate-filled, and more than a person could ever consider. For the blogger, it is a way to write, an outlet for expression in a world where only a very small number of writers get read, and even less get paid. We need outlets.
There is a first draft quality to a blog post. A flawed freshness that can be like the life from which it is expressed. Sometimes it is sticky, syrupy sweet or messy, and that goes with the territory. We’re not the Scientific American or Harvard Business Review in the blogosphere. What we hope to be is an expression of the imagination. Taking the desultory moments of a modern life as the ingredients of something better, something universal. Bloggers mostly fail to reach the sublime, but once in a while, things come together.
So there it is, the ABCs of writing in autobiography, blogging and canning. Write about what one knows, do actually write on some platform, and think in terms of a finite product that is useful to someone, to nourish a body, but more importantly, one’s intellect and spirit. There are benefits, not the least of which can be jars of applesauce.