I was expecting a snowy day yesterday but instead it rained. Rain! In Minnesota in December! Unheard of! I haven’t been giving credit to those who say the world is going to end on the 21st when the Mayan calendar runs out but now I wonder. Is it a sign? Bookman ended up having to work on the 21st so we bumped our Solstice celebration up a day to the 20th. At least the end of the world won’t interfere with what will surely be an excellent meal. We got a new cookbook, Vegan Eats World, that I will be rocking some recipes from this year. My mouth is already watering in anticipation.

Speaking of vegan meals, the library consortium luncheon I went to on Friday was nice enough to have the caterers provide me with a vegan meal. I thought it would be a vegan version of the vegetarian meal which was a vegetable risotto in some kind of buttery sauce and a portobello mushroom. But no, I got something entirely different: chick peas on a bed of cous cous. The chick peas were kind of like a dhal and had tomatoes and peppers and I’m not sure what else mixed in and were moderately spicy and oh so very delicious. It had everyone at my table saying they were going to request a vegan meal next year.

Our guest speaker at the luncheon was Minnesota author Leif Enger. He is most known for his book Peace Like a River, a bestselling novel and one that has made it onto many grade school reading lists. I have not read it yet in spite of having a signed copy on my bookshelves. When Bookman was a Barnes and Noble store manager he got to attend a publisher sponsored lunch and sit right next to Enger. Bookman recalled that he was a really nice man and I got that impression too. But then he’s Minnesotan so of course he is nice!

Enger read a longish section from Peace Like a River that worked as a Christmas story. It was quite good. Now I have decided I definitely have to read the book.

After the reading he talked for a bit, answering questions and telling stories that questions sent him off onto. He will be publishing his third novel in the next year or so and someone asked him whether his writing process had changed at all. He said that when he was writing his first book, Peace Like a River, he was also working full time at Minnesota Public Radio. He would get up at 4 in the morning and write for two hours before going to work. There was no time to waste and very little in the way of distractions at that time of the morning since his wife and kids were still asleep. The book’s success allowed him to leave MPR and write full time. Now he says, since he has so much time, he wastes a lot of it.

I thought that was rather interesting. I mean, what writer doesn’t dream of being able to quit their day job? What would-be writer doesn’t think at least once, “if only I didn’t have to work full time I could concentrate on my writing”? Apparently, in Enger’s case anyway, having to write within a limited time period forced him to concentrate and work during the time he did have, no messing around. Of course I am sure he wouldn’t want to go back to working a regular job in order to bring more focus to his writing time. But he ruins the excuse for so many of us who muse, “if I only had the time.” Drat. So much for why I need a writing cabin.

He said some other interesting things about his books and about writing in general but they aren’t very re-relatable, more of the “you had to be there” sort of stories and comments. It was a really fun afternoon. Too bad it only happens once a year!