Combine olive oil, fresh cilantro, sea salt, the juice of two limes and one orange (and anything else you’re risky enough to try) to a fresh piece of Mahi-Mahi, grouper, conch, or giant prawns. A marinade will morph any blase’ fresh catch into the unexpected. The secret? Time. Let all the flavors blend, soak through, until the entree’ you’d imagined tenderizes, holds the heat, and eventually pops.
One of my favorite students had once told me that he’d “marinate” on the ideas we had discussed for his research paper on sex trafficking. Boy, did his use of that word strike me.
A writer must marinate, too.
Sure, we all believe in the ol’ BIC method. But the time will come when you must marinate in the world around you. That’s right. Marinate. Unpeel yourself from that zebra-print chair. Push away from the turquoise desk. Now lock away that manuscript. Let the snow crunch under your faux-fur trimmed boots. Breathe in the smell of burning firewood and toasted cashews from the nearby street vendors. Laugh. Take off to Paris (or to some other place, far, far away). Toast your BFF with a flute of champagne. Cause a scandal…or five. Laugh. Toast and laugh together all night. Listen to your knock-off Yve St. Laurent brushed-suede cerulean heels clack across the cobblestone streets. Belt out country music songs into your hairbrush. Laugh.
Repeat for many nights.
The best marinades take time. Laugh while you marinate. Trust me. Always remember to laugh.
This marinade will change you. And it will change your manuscript when you return to it (after you clear Customs and all). You’ll see what you couldn’t before–those changes you know should be made. Rushing hurts the WIP. And it will hurt you too. A writer requires time. We all need a marinade.
What’s in your marinade?
Bonne nuit, mes amis!