Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Marshmallow Autumn

I went to the grocery store last week and grabbed the usual, milk, bread, and eggs.  As I was about to check out, on an endcap...were MALLOMARS!
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The weather is getting cooler.  For some people it is a sad signal that summer is over, for others it is a sign to head upstate and watch the leaves turn brilliant shades of scarlet, yellow and orange.  For yet another subset of people it is a time of introspection, the fall equinox, the natural order of things.  For me, well, the fall means celebration, a time of joy for once again, it is Mallomar season. 

I'm sure you're familiar with these cookies, but just in case...a Mallomar is a gently domed marshmallow enthroned on a round graham cracker that is then covered entirely in pure dark chocolate.  Eating one is exotic and dangerous- a little retro- kind of like having sex with a biker dude on the roof of a VW van...(Just heresay mind you, no first hand knowledge!) but it is THAT good. 

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I developed sudden cravings for Mallomars somewhere around my sixth month. It was June. I went to Waldbaums, money gripped tightly in my fist- ready to pay whatever price. 

Anticipating my first luxurious chocolate covered bite- I searched the shelves, walked up and down the aisles, but there were none. Undaunted, I headed down the road to King Kullen were alas, also, not one box was to be found.  

A store employee was stocking shelves with animal crackers a little further down the aisle so I approached him and asked ... 

"Where would I find the Mallomars?"  By this time my best guess was that they were enshrined in some special area of the store, probably in a goldtone case with MALLOMARS spelled out in Diva lights. I just needed him to point me in the right direction.

"Mallomars?  Oh well, you won't see them until the end of September." 

"Huh?"  I felt a wave of faintness as a few pregnancy hormones did a full head rotation. "Ok look, that is unacceptable, you need to order them and get them in NOW!" My voice dropped a few octaves and the "N-O-W  came out sounding much like Darth Vader.  

He backed up a few steps, shrugged nervously and said "Look Lady, they don't ship them all summer. They melt. You won't find them anywhere." 

I went home and immediately called Nabisco headquarters in New Jersey where I asked for the president of the company. When they refused to put me through I asked for the vice president.  When that didn't work, I asked for Willy Wonka.  

CLICK! Somehow we got disconnected. Figures.  Jersey!  

I tried again, pushing various option buttons until I got connected to a saleswoman who introduced herself as Pat. "Pat! Hey!  I need some Mallomars- the stores here don't have them- can you please send me a few dozen boxes direct please?" 

"Uh, no.  Lady, we don't ship Mallomars from April to September. They melt" 

"I've heard that- But look Pat...I am right here in New York...we're neighbors- They won't have TIME to melt." 

"Sorry- we don't even have any to send. We've stopped production  for the summer"

My voice took on the same low deep timbre as it did with the man in the store. I spoke slowly and carefully into the phone. 

"Pat...Pat...look, I'm six months pregnant and desperate. I KNOW there are a few boxes kicking around there, maybe under your desk even. Pat....Pat...Are you holding out on me?  Keeping all of that rich gooey chocoate goodness to yourself?  I know where you live Pat....I'm even sure your desk is on the first floor...are you sure you don't want to send me a few little cookies? Pat...I have ways...."  


I sighed and rubbed my belly.  My poor daughter would never experience a Mallomar in utero.  I had introduced her to a number of the finer gastric pleasures like hot naked buffalo wings, White Castle Hamburgers and dirty water dogs from a roadside truck, but this delight would have to wait. 

I took a graham cracker, a slab of dark chocolate and a marshmallow, stacked them and threw the pile into the microwave for 10 seconds. It would have to do.
Then I made 4 more...   
and waited.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013

I've joined NaNoWriMo this year.  A month of literary abandon.  An idea that in 1999 had 21 participants and has grown to being something of a  movement.   In 2011 over 250,000 aspiring novelists signed up and over 30,000 of them completed the challenge. 

I've committed to writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That's almost 1700 words a day.  Not an easy task.  Especially difficult for a perfectionist.

Friends for years have asked me if I was going to 'do' NaNoWriMo.  Personally, I've never seen the point.  My feelings?  How good can any writing possibly be if the author is only concerned with churning out words?  Quantity over context?  Never!

Yet here I am.  All signed up and steeling myself for November 1.  Why?  Well I am probably my own worst enemy when it comes to writing.  I love it and I do it every day but I find myself  making little progress.  I read, re-read, edit and re-edit my work as I go along.  I slow to a snails pace because I can't move forward until what I've written is the best I can make it.

I'm looking to break free and learn to just write.  Let the words flow and allow my writing to be flawed.  Trust that it will come together in edits, and re-edits.

I think NaNoWriMo may help me grow as a writer.  I'm not sure that I will create something that is publishable (even after numerous edits) in that thirty day time, but I am hoping to break free of my writing OCD, and that in itself would be a win for me. 

The rules also state that it needs to be started from scratch, so I won't be finishing up I'm working on currently or dragging out something I have had shelved.  I'm going to do this by the book.  

It should be interesting. And a lot of work.  And very gratifying. Wait... did I say terrifying or gratifying?

If anyone wants to check it out and/or join up, head over to

Look me up.  My NaNoWriMo name is Shakeabop. 

Counter starts  November 1.


NaNoWriMo Word Count