I once decided to sit down and dream the impossible, actually picturing myself doing what was totally, totally beyond my capability or grasp — to write, and publish a book. I did so. Then went back to stark Reality Living.
But then, I volunteered to convene a year-long project called Artist in Your Own Residence – for artists who liberally shared their skills with others, but never had time for their own. This was something I could do – encourage and nurture others.
In 2021 we met monthly. The group was small. The meetings were short. But during that year, my own notes on a distant holiday trip started to turn into a book. Others, too, began to clarify their own vague dreams into real projects. Some took months, some knew from the beginning.
For me, this obscure project became a lifeline. Now that the year is over, I see that it brought such liberating joy and self-acceptance! Surprisingly, I liked myself in this new role.
It was wonderful to share encouragement and support with people outside the realm of my usual contacts, who also had “impossible” dreams.
In my darker days, when life events crushed me into hopeless inadequacy through grief, pain, or naggingly persistent maintenance that sucked away my life’s blood, the knowledge of my escape into creativity was an anchor to hold onto, even when it wasn’t always available.
The greatest change, I think, was that I openly, publicly called myself a writer. This was a phenomenal breakthrough. As for calling myself an artist? Well, not yet.
We’re going ahead with another Zoom year of Artist in Your Own Residence. Launch meeting is 8th January, 2022. Want more information? Just let me know and I’ll send you an invitation.
Joy’s Braised Pork
Here’s a “Fix-and-forget” recipe from daughter Joy, in case YOU want to work on your own project. I’ll write it just the way she gave it to me, so that you can play around with it as you wish.
Brew some strong tea — preferably Lapsang Sou Chong or good old Yorkshire. Leave the bag in the cup and let it go cold.
Squeeze out the bag and put the cold tea into a container to marinade the pork in. Add some soy sauce (a good amount, 1/3 of a cup?) and a couple of tablespoons of honey. (You can add this to the hot tea if you want it to melt better.)
Add a clove or two of garlic — crushed or bashed, a cinnamon stick 2 – 3 star anise, a thumb of fresh ginger grated or a squirt of ginger pulp. You can add a chilli, too if you want.
Then put your pork (we cut it in strips — mostly pork steaks) in the mixture and leave it to sit overnight, or as long as you want.
You can braise it slowly in the oven and then add a dash of cornflour (cornstarch) and water at the end to thicken the glaze. Or you can stir-fry it and add a drop of sherry, and thicken the gravy at the end.
My suggested additions: dried mushrooms, soaked, 5 spice powder, water chestnuts. I used a slow cooker.
Just do what you fancy — we do this in a variety of ways. Bon appetit!