I find it hard to wake up before eleven.
No. That’s not true. I find it hard to get out of bed before eleven. I toss about on my lumpy mattress, attempting to free my sinuses from whatever invisible congestion has beset them from about 8:30 on, snatching fits of sleep, more like consecutive naps, until finally, at eleven, I insist to myself that I must roll out of bed.
It’s because I lack goals, I tell myself. Joblessness does not suit me. Instead of using the wide, white expanse of day to do something productive, like apply for jobs or submit stories and poems to literary journals, I fritter away the day doing things like… untagging myself from Facebook pictures. Of course, it isn’t all waste. I do often manage to do one good thing a day – one submission or application, putting together a portfolio – so there is a general swell in the direction I need to go. But out of all of the hours in a day, how little I have to show for them.
I need a project, I said (as though applying for jobs were not a project enough). And since I have been meaning to make liqueurs, have even had the jars from Ikea sitting ready, for months, I decided that liqueur-making would be just the thing. And just for fun, I’d make a batch of homemade mustard too.
I first became fascinated with homemade liqueurs a few summers ago while visiting my grandfather on the Schwabian Alb in the south of Germany. There, nothing goes to waste, and the strawberries and rhubarb are turned into jams, the dense purple clusters of elderberries into juice, and bright red raspberries into liqueur. I have been meaning to make my own since then, yet only once managed a successful bottling when I was overcome by the abundance of mulberries hanging on the tree outside my Brooklyn apartment. » Continue reading this post...