Some of my other online buddies were afraid of the picture of the octopus! My husband apparently thought I would be afraid of the octopus, too. He had the fishmonger wrap it up for us while I was off picking up fancy olive oil. After which he attempted to chase me down the pasta aisle waving the thing at me. It was an alarming sight, really, but only because of the manic look he had on his face.
I'm just not afraid of octopus.
Here's what I am afraid of: bumpy airplane rides. Phone calls at 3 AM from my mom's caretaker. Donald Trump actually getting elected. And, it would seem, the period of time in between submitting my revisions to my editor and the publication of my new novel. My first novel.
I've published lots of poetry. That's not scary. Well, actually, the launch for my first poetry book was scary, but only because I had to do a reading organized by a friend of my parents and my parents showed up. And there was a question and answer period and my aunt asked me questions and that felt kinda squishy-weird.
This is different. I want to be the A plus star student for my publisher, the wildly enthusiastic girl in the front row with all the answers, the one who likes school so much she shows up a half an hour early. Lisa Simpson. I want to be Lisa Simpson. I really want to get this right.
And so I LABORED over my first set of revisions, really sweated the rewriting I did, wondered about every single darn word, probably overthought everything. Even with the MS back to them, I keep thinking about it and wondering if I've left a hole in the plot, imagine what it will feel like to get a mean review, imagine dreaded comments sections...but I know it's a good book. It's the best book I could possibly have written. I know that.
It's funny what some people find scary!
It'll be OK. It really will. In the world of cooking octopus, I'm at the simmer-it-for-an-hour first stage. I'm not at the marinate-it-a-little-and-grill-it-until-a-little-crisp stage.
You know, there's nothing scary about cooking octopus.
In fact, here's how you do it: take octopus, more than you think you need because it's good and it cooks down a bit. Simmer it in water to which you've added a couple of bay leaves and peppercorns and a clove or two of garlic. This takes anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour, although I'd check it after half an hour. When it's fork-tender, pull it out and put it in a bowl with some lemon juice and olive oil and maybe a little chopped oregano and parsley. Cut it into dealable-with serving pieces. Toss it on the charcoal or gas grill outside (which you've gotten good and hot) and turn it a few times to crisp it a bit. Serve it, either sliced into smaller pieces or not. It's good as a starter, a main course in salad or pasta, or plain. The stock you get from simmering it is useful in seafood soups and pasta sauces, too.
Book's coming soon! I'll be ringing that dinner bell shortly!