The funny part about working a steady part-time job and having everything else freelance, floating up in the air, is the uncertainty and constant surprise of which projects are going to be pulled down from the sky, take over your life and when. After a summer-full of gathering up movement inspiration and working towards certain dance goals, suddenly here I am in November, sitting sedentary for half of the day, writing frantically, exercising nothing but my mind, and dancing strictly during the classes that I teach a measly 10 hours out of each 168-hour week.
How did this happen?
Truth be told, it is 100% self-inflicted. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that last month I decided to attempt (for the second time) National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. One of the major reasons I relaunched this blog is not just because it’s fun (which it is), but because I have been wanting to get back to writing and improving my style. There is no better way to improve than constant self-enforced practice, so that is what I have been striving towards here and I figured diving into NaNoWriMo is the giant next step to take. Never having been very good at long-form writing of any kind, the first week has already been a challenge, to say the least. However, so far I am on track and have made the word count every damn day.
What I’m writing might be just terrible. It might never be seen by anyone else’s eyes but my own, but I figure it’s like sketching a bunch of rough drawings or doing a lot of off-balance pliés and tondues in your first ballet class before jumping on stage. This writing is my rehearsal process.
To inspire and motivate myself, I’ve been rereading parts of the brilliant Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott in which right off the bat she begins with “good writing is about telling the truth,” and then immediately reassures us that “after a few days at the desk, telling the truth in an interesting way turns out to be about as easy and pleasurable as bathing a cat.” Well-put and all-too-relatable to this whole novel-writing process so far, yet I keep pushing through it. I am determined to get that cat clean.
Not only am I writing for at least a couple hours every day this month, but I am also working on extensive research to improve the overall design of this website by teaching myself code and other ridiculously confusing computer-y things, carving out a few mornings a week for some solo studio time, plus a recent + beautiful newfound friendship has blossomed into collaboration, as I will be co-hosting and appearing on my first ever podcast. The lovely Aida Azlin, brain and soul behind The Shawl Label, is re-launching her Woman Up podcast- a source of inspiration and advice for young modern women trying to make their way through the world. I will be guest hosting the second episode of this season, chatting about how to lead a creative life, which is an important topic applicable to everyone everywhere. If you are interested in listening to us converse about what creativity means to us through a beginning of nervous giggles (we were both a little microphone shy the first time around), our podcast will be released on Aida's website + on iTunes Thursday, November 17th.
One of the many odd things about me is it seems the busier I get, the more I bake. I have less time for it and yet it becomes more of a necessity- the dire need for something comforting + sweet, made with my own two hands. The original recipe for these scones is from Adrianna over at The Cozy Kitchen, as part of the epic #virtualpumpkinparty of 2016 that was beautifully organized by Sara + Aimee. I had frozen a couple containers of homemade pumpkin puree in anticipation of making some recipes from the list, and this particular creation with its warming chai spices popped out at me. I hadn't made scones in so long and these were calling my name.
P.S. My favorite mug, strategically placed in these photos, is a little hint at my December plans. After the writing is finished, the dancing will commence again!
Pumpkin Spiced Scones with Maple Coffee Glaze (vegan)
Adapted from The Cozy Kitchen's Pumpkin Chai Scones. I didn't have some of the spices or black tea on hand, so I improvised a new glaze and veganized the whole recipe. Adrianna's black tea glaze sounds amazing, though, so please check out her original recipe as well!
Makes 8 scones
- 420g (3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cardamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 4 tbsp cold vegan margarine or butter
- 75ml (1/3 cup) soy milk mixed with 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
- 125g (1 cup) powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp strong-brewed coffee
- 1/4 tsp maple extract
- 2 tbsp soy milk (add more or less depending on how thick you want your glaze)
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the cold margarine either by grating it into the mixture or cutting it in with two knives until it is broken up and combined with the flour in medium-sized crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk together the curdled soy milk, sugar and pumpkin puree, then fold it into the dry ingredients. I used my hands to fully combine them, then knead the dough for just a minute so it can come together, but not so much that it toughens up. Form it into a thick disk and cut evenly into 8 triangles. Separate them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and stick the dough in the freezer while you preheat your oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Once it's hot, bake the scones for about 25-30 minutes or until they feel firm from the top and are turning golden brown on the edges.
While they are baking, make your glaze simply by whisking all of the ingredients together, adding the soy milk last and adjusting the amount based on how much drizzle you want out of it. Take the scones out of the oven, generously top with the glaze and serve warm with coffee/tea/etc.