31 DaysDay 26: COOKING {the prompt follows at the end of this post}


Epic Isn’t Easy

“It’s an Oscar party, Finley,” Julia explained. “Elegance, socializing, drinks, and, most importantly, food.”

“Popcorn and beer,” Finley said. “Drinks and food over which people can socialize.”

“How long have we known each other, Finn?” Julia stood with one hand on her hip and a smile playing on her lips. “Seriously? Popcorn and beer?”

Finley winked. “Worth a shot, my love.”

“I promise you, it’ll be fun. Really,” Julia said. “Possibly even epic.” It was Julia’s turn to wink.

“Lord of the Rings epic or Gilmore Girls epic?”

“I see no distinction,” Julia said. “And either way, epic isn’t easy, darling.” She turned back to the notebook in front of her. Ever since she’d had a place of her own, Julia had thrown an Oscar party, complete with glitz, glitter and glam. Of course, now that it would be Julia and Finley hosting Julia’s annual Oscar party, Julia was attempting to bring it down a glam notch or two, at least this year. Finley needed to get his feet wet this year before she would completely indoctrinate him to her Oscar party world.

“Fair enough,” Finley said. He’d attended Julia’s Oscar parties in the past and, honestly, he really enjoyed them. Of course, he hadn’t really considered what was involved in the planning and the hosting. Apparently it was almost as complicated as the live event itself but without the cameras and the producers and a director. Well, actually, Julia served as a pretty laser-focused director.

“Okay, so do you want to hear my usual game plan or do you want to brainstorm ideas for how to put this year’s celebration together?”

Finley pretended to think about this, but they both knew it would be a bit insane to try and build this annual party, with all its expectations and the anticipation of the guests, from scratch. “Give me what you’ve got and I will assist as much as you let me.”

Julia got up from the dining room table and walked slowly toward Finn, pressing up against him as they stood side by side leaning against the back of the couch. “You’re sweet,” she said.

“You’re in charge,” Finn replied. “Seriously, you throw one heck of an Oscar party. It’ll be fun.”

“Once all the behind-the-scenes stuff is done,” Julia agreed.

“Do you like all the planning and the doing? All the behind-the-scenes things?”

“Pretty much.”

Finn nodded. “Well, I’ll help as much as I can. But there has to be beer.”

“Of course,” she said.

“And popcorn,” he added.

“With butter,” Julia replied.

“And there have to be appetizers that I cannot pronounce but that I love to eat,” Finn told her.

“Absolutely,” Julia said.

“Okay, well, it’s 10 a.m. We’ve got less than twelve hours before the Oscars and only ten hours before the pre-game show. Let’s hit it,” Finn said.

“Well, the mushrooms are in the fridge and need to be washed and the pastry dough is resting on the counter and the asparagus needs to be gently washed and trimmed. You know the chef trick for that, right?” Julia asked

“Big learning curve, love. Like, huge.”

“Oh, this is going to be so much fun.” Julia’s eyes glinted like the edge of her Shun Kaji rocking knife. She took a single piece of asparagus and snapped off the end, then she laid it down on the cutting board alongside the remaining bunch of asparagus and cut them all to the same size. “Voila,” she said.

“Okay. The curve just got a little smaller,” Finn said and he took the knife and the rest of the bunches of asparagus and set to work. “So, tell me, are the chefs of such events allowed to drink at all while they work?”

“Bloody Mary or Mimosa?”

“Mimosa for you, bloody Mary for me.”

“Nothing less than spicy I hope,” Julia said.

“It’s like you know me.”

Julia fixed them each a drink in some of her finer stemware and handed Finn his glass.

Finn raised his glass to her. “Here’s looking at you, kid,”

Julia smiled and tapped her glass against Finn’s, took a long drink of the sweet champagne and said, “Now, back to work.”


{Just a reminder, we try to keep these writing exercises to 30 minutes maximum, but that’s not a hard and fast rule, especially with these exercises and this challenge. And I will say that in order to keep my writing within the 30 minute time, I create playlists on Spotify that allow me to put together songs that come close to 30 minutes. I also select music that fits with the story idea and help inspire the words I write. When the final note plays on the last song…I stop writing. Usually. But not lately.}

Writing Prompt: COOKING – Use cookery – menu preparation, the love of this essential process – as a way of understanding a man and a woman’s relationship to each other. Or, to put it another way, use an evening of cooking (and perhaps entertaining) as a way of exploring a relationship between a man and a woman. If you have any kind of experience with cooking and know of certain unusual recipes, adapt these for the purposes of this exercise. Julia Child noted that “dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.” Show us the joy that can be had in this simple process. {Exercise 48 from The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kiteley. Note, this is an affiliate link}


One thought on “Epic Isn’t Easy

  1. This one reminded me of a scene in one of those holiday movies where everyone is in the kitchen preparing a meal and talking to each other catching up. That’s the visual I got.

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