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Friday, 5 September 2014

There's lint in your belly button

It was Joe, typically unselfish, who urged me to add Writing Novels to my blog profile. How come I never did that before? I thought. It presents me as a smarty-boots (or clever-clogs), sets me apart

And encourages self-hypnosis.

All writing is self-indulgent but novels are pernicious. They go on and on. Because novel-writing is so private the author becomes his own judge and jury, convinced he's doing something significant. Whereas, since few novels are commercially published, the author should accept there'll only be one real reader - that incestuous figure staring madly into the computer screen. Himself.

And it doesn't end there. From the outside there's no more boring figure. A plumber installs a bath (tub - US), a farmer ploughs a field - work that can be measured by anyone. A novel-writer writes a sentence, finds it irritates him, writes a replacement, remains uneasy. A sequence known only to him and, let's face it, hardly worth mentioning.

Why this introspection? Recently I sent one novel off to the publisher and started revising another. I became ecstatic, the later novel was better than I remembered and two problems I'd dreaded were easily fixed. But remember, that's just my deluded opinion.

If this post was triggered by ecstasy, imagine one born out of despair.

PASTA PERCEPTION I knew orecchiette pasta (little ears) and fusilli (twists) but only recently discovered gigli (lilies). Discounting whole-wheat pasta which digests like scrap iron, and the other variety said to involve eggs, I assume the basic material doesn’t vary. That these shapes are merely visual titillation. Yet spaghetti does taste different, perhaps because it’s so thin very little sauce (and no meat) adheres to the strands. Do you have a pasta rationale? Will it withstand intellectual scrutiny?


  1. My only explanation for the various shapes of pasta is that the Italians turn practically everything into art (lucky us).

    As for the different flavor between spaghetti and all the rest, I've never noticed that, so now must conduct an investigation to resolve the matter for myself. Of course, with so many brands to choose from in local supermarkets, this might take a while.

    Ah, well...what must be done in the name of science must be done with a minimum of whining.

    Joe was right to tell you to add Writing Novels to your profile; you're good at it!

  2. Thin strands cook faster, a plus if one is very hungry, Shells and manicotti are, of course, stuffable. Shorter bits are spoonable, again a plus if in a rush for calories, and more manageable in cold salads. Dressings and sauces will better fill fusilli and small shells. Cheese will help sauces adhere to strands.

  3. I only cook and order linguini but, I politely eat any pasta served me when invited for a meal.
    I do not eat cold pasta salads.
    But, if I were to visit Italy I would taste any pasta dish they put in front of me.

  4. Crow: Twists are thicker than, say, falafels (butterflies), This gives the impression - possibly illusory - that they taste differently,

    MikeN: You're right about cheese, especially parmesan. Afterwards, if you've used a fork the tines are plastered with hardened-on cheese. Only a brush removes it satisfactorily.

    Ellena: Taste but perhaps not continue to eat. For some reason or other I don't care for the combination when fish is added to pasta.