Mom purses her lips, her hands clasping her mug inches from her mouth. She says nothing but lets the tide of red creeping up her neck speak for her. Her left eye twitches.
Would speaking right now be poking the bear? After a moment, I gulp. We can’t just sit here. “Mom?”
“How dare she?”
I jump as her mug slams on the table.
“Did the editor say anything? Please tell me he reprimanded that punk.”
“In his defense,” I say into my mug, “I don’t think he heard her.”
“I ought to go down there and—”
“If you do anything I will disown you.”
She blinks at me.
“I’m an adult, remember?”
Picking up her mug, she takes a sulking mouthful.
I pinch the bridge of my nose and squeeze my eyes shut. “I let it affect me more than I should have, and I realize that. I just don’t know how to get past it. I know no one will ever have everyone who reads their writing like it, but every time I’ve tried to write since, I just hear those words and very little comes out. All I see in my work is…” I grope for the right words and end up settling for a grunt.
For a few more minutes we drink our tea in silence.
Reaching out, she takes my hand. “What are you going to do about it?”
“Is there something I can do about it?”
She bites her lip and drums her nails on the counter. “Your writing is all stopped up?”
“But you still need an income…” Her words dissolve into an internal babble of hums and haws.
I tilt my head and watch her mind going. Momma is going to save the day, again. I have a feeling I should be worried. My bubble of protection is about to vanish.
She jumps up and heads for the stove, grabbing a spoon from the drawer in the island along the way. Dunking it into the simmering pot of squash soup, she then pops it into her mouth.
I laugh as she shimmies her hips. She likes it.
For the next five minutes, she goes from pot to pot trying the soups and stews, and sampling the casseroles. Suddenly she whirls around. “Did you use recipes for any of these?”
I shake my head, no.
“Did you write them down?”
I laugh. “Have I ever written anything down when I cook?”
Giving a decisive nod, Mom tosses the spoon into the sink and goes to my writing desk nestled in the far corner under the window.
“What are you doing?”
“You can’t write right now, and that’s okay. But you can cook, and I can type.”
I can’t help but raise an eyebrow. “So?”
“Honey, I love you but your blond is showing. You’re going to write a cookbook and I’m going to be your typist.”
“A what? But I’m not a—”
“So you’re not trained. Big whoop!” She grins. “This is going to be fun, and even if we self-publish it and only sell it in town, it’s still a step and it’s still your book.”
“Can’t make any more excuses. Now get up off your butt, missy. Tell me how you made that soup!”
Thank you all so much for reading! Have a question you’d like to ask Penny? Leave it in a comment below and Ill be sure to add it to next week’s character interview!