I’m at the stage on my work in progress where every part of daily life that catches my eye goes into the pot. Do you make soup this way, too? You know for sure that the chicken and onion and celery and carrots are in there, that there will be salty broth and pepper. Then there’s a lemon on the counter, which will balance the acids perfectly if its juices are added at the end of cooking.

I was minding my own business when a deer on the side of the road walked gracefully into my story. And the sunset yesterday, which was almost more grey than gold, but which made the oak leaves glorious as they fade to russet, that stuck, too. Will the opera arias that play at the back of my mind make it into the story? Probably. They influence my cooking, so why not my writing?