Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bragging rights

I received an email from my boss at Author Link that an audio interview will be linked with my review on Ron McLarty's novel, Traveler. The year is getting off to a really good start. The book is good and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a story that is honest and timely and very real. The review should be posted at The Celebrity Cafe later this week and hopefully they will link the audio interview as well. According to my boss at AL, I am becoming their top book reviewer and authors are beginning to ask for me specifically. It has been a long road getting to this point but it has been worth the time and the effort.

On another note, substitution has been on my mind.

A lot of times I don't have the exact ingredients for a recipe or something I'm working on, so I make do with what I have or find another way to finish a given task. I have even discovered that sometimes the substitution makes things better. For instance, I've cut dairy out of my diet and in my butternut squash soup I substituted coconut milk for cream. It lowers the calories of the soup and gives it a creamy and slightly sweet texture so that I don't need to add any sweetener. I also discovered that baking the squash until it caramelizes helps add another level of sweetness that gives the soup a wonderful flavor.

I make do with a lot of substitutions and often end up with something better, but there are some things for which no substitute can be found--or should be found. Sometimes it's necessary to wait for the perfect ingredient no matter how long it takes, holding out instead of settling for less. I can think of at least one instance when that is true and it's worth the wait. Compromise is a good thing at times but there are areas in life when no substitution and no compromise can take the place of the real thing.

There is no substitute or acceptable compromise for love or friendship. There are always people who think they can use something else in their place, but they are wrong. Food, pain, denial, emotional self flagellation, gambling, or shopping are like emotional anesthestics to dull the senses and the need for love and friendship but they are not substitutes. You can't compromise with any of those things and to do so leaves an emptiness that nothing else can fill. It took me a long time to figure that one out. In so many ways, substitution and compromise when it comes to living and feeling and knowing life on a visceral level is like putting life on hold for a nebulous and shadowy promise of paradise and a better tomorrow when each moment of now, of today slips through our hands. You can negotiate a mortgage to buy a home or a car or even furnish your home and clothes yourself and your family, but you cannot negotiate life. That should be lived every single day as if there was no tomorrow.

That is all. Disperse.

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