Yesterday, for the first time, I admitted that I’ve been in a writing funk. Blame it on any number of factors – the end of a honeymoon phase after finishing the first draft of my book, Amanda being gone, a frustrated desire to write other things that somehow get shoved out of the way in the interest of completing my daily word count in my manuscript. Whatever the cause, I sit down at my writing desk, torture 2000 words a day out of my brain, and then swiftly run away to do something – anything – else.
This is deeply troubling. It’s not like I haven’t had hard writing times before. I have. What troubles me is the lack of feeling. I sit down to my characters, the ones I’ve spent over a year with, and I feel nothing. No excitement. No inspiration. No love. Nothing.
In writing, I feel I am forever racing against a clock: the one set by the publishing industry, the one set by myself, the one set to an arbitrary date and time that says, “Hurry, hurry, finish your book!”
There is the sense that, at all times, the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland is sprinting through my brain, sing-songing “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date. No time to say hello – goodbye! – I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.”
And the question came to me today: what am I late for? How is it that in the first draft stages of my book, so early in my career, I can feel that I’ve somehow already failed by showing up late?
The answer is discipline. The answer is productivity. The answer is completion. But it seems to me that there should be, and likely is, a fine line between discipline and creativity, and somehow, I’ve gone too far away from that line, too far towards the extreme of discipline. I’ve disciplined the creativity right out of the process. And that will not do.
I’ll have more to say on writing and this conundrum at a later date, after I’ve had time to tease it out and think about it more clearly, but that fine line I mentioned made me think of another line I’ve been dancing around the past few weeks while Amanda has been away, and that’s the line between healthy eating and taking care of myself.
One might argue that the two are the same thing: eating healthy could be considered part of taking care of oneself. But that care, for me, attends to emotional wellness as well as digestive. After a couple weeks of healthy dinners and soup and stretching leftovers – of tending towards the healthy extreme that naturally follows my bachelor-like fall-out when Amanda leaves – I went back towards the middle. I went towards truffles.
I usually don’t make desserts for myself when Amanda is gone. Most recipes make too much, and I’d just as soon buy a cookie or eat an ice cream sandwich so I don’t end up binging out on dessert. In a pinch, I’ll break a few sections off a block of break-and-bake cookies I keep in the fridge and bake those up. But I wanted to make something decadent, and I needed a little sweet treat to help me through, so I made these truffles.
These little treats are an excellent dessert to have on hand for snacking, and they’re the perfect chocolate fix you need. They’re great for sharing, and I loved them so much that I’m making them when Amanda comes home just so she can understand why I’ve been raving about them so much.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
Recipe (only slightly) adapted from Love & Olive Oil
1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk or cream (I used vanilla soy milk and just omitted vanilla extract)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz. bag semisweet chocolate morsels
2 tablespoons shortening
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add cream/milk and vanilla and blend to combine. Stir in the flour and salt and mix on low speed until combined. Stir in miniature chocolate chips. Cover dough and chill for one hour.
When dough is chilled and firm enough to handle, form the dough into roughly 1″ balls (I use a tablespoon to scoop the dough out and roll it from there). Place dough on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet and set in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.
When you’re ready to coat your truffles, melt together the bag of chocolate morsels and the shortening to make your candy coating. Stir, and reheat as needed to keep chocolate melty.
Pull the cookie dough out of the freezer and one or two at a time, drop them into the chocolate coating, turning them with forks/spoons to cover, then gently lift out with the fork, tap on the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate, and place on wax paper-lined sheet again. Once all of the truffles are dipped, place the sheet back in the refrigerator to chill until the coating has hardened up. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.