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    • By LJ Cohen in LJ Cohen's Once in a Blue Muse
         1
       
      Wash approx 8 lbs of ripe peaches.
         Halve peaches and remove pit. Don't worry about removing the peel. It will dissolve in the crock pot during the long cooking time.
           Load up your crock pot with chopped peaches. Add 3/4 to 1 cup of white or brown sugar and a few TB of lemon juice.


        Squish with a potato masher until you have a nice amount of liquid in the pot. You don't want these beauties to scorch!  Cook on high for an hour or so. Then cook on low for 6-10 hours. Keep the lid cracked so steam can escape and the peach slurry can thicken. Time really depends on the juiciness of the peaches and the ambient humidity.


      Blend with an immersion blender. (Yes, with the skins. They disappear. If you wanted, you could peel the peaches first, but that's too much work for me!)

      Cook on high until it thickens, stirring occasionally. (If you put a scoop of the peach butter on a spoon, it should hold its shape and not release water.)


      Add sugar to taste and other flavors as you desire. I usually pour in a few ounces of bourbon. It gives it a nice 'zing'.

      Can 1/2 pints or 4 oz jars in waterbath for 20 minutes. Or freeze in suitable containers.

      Use as a spread on toast, as a filling in crêpes, or swirled in plain yogurt.

      (Note: this works with any stone fruit or apples, though I would peel the apples. Mix fruits for different flavor profiles.)



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    • By LJ Cohen in LJ Cohen's Once in a Blue Muse
         0



      I was talking with a friend the other day about feeling lost. I've not written consistently in more than a month and while it's not writer's block, exactly, it does feel like I'm blocked by something.

      Deadlines are looming, I have story ideas, yet I'd rather do laundry or dust the floors than sit down and write.

      Much of this is a resurgence of free-floating anxiety I've dealt with my whole life. It comes in waves, often tied to nothing tangible I can name. Sometimes it's external stressors that worm their way in past my boundaries and defenses. Certainly there are enough of them in the world right now to fill a endless well.

      Like many artists and creative types, my emotional filters are quite porous. Most of the time, what gets in becomes part of my work. It gets processed and transformed. But sometimes, I feel like I'm mired in a stagnant pool of ugliness.

      My friend pointed out that she's seen me move through these cycles before and I know she's right. That may be the only saving grace of all of this. I am not panicking about the stalled writing because I know that the words will return.

      Part of that process is returning to more regular blogging and returning to journaling and poetry. These rituals are part of priming the pump for my other writing.

      And while many writers will talk about the need to write every day, there's also the truth that creativity doesn't emerge from nothing. Humans are not machines that dispense creativity with inputs of food and rest (though those are important).

      To live a creative life, I think we need to strike a balance between consistent practice and refilling the creative well. Sometimes we can do both at once. For me, right now, that's not the case.

      But I've been here enough times to know this is my normal. 

      If you're struggling out there (and goddess knows there's enough to struggle over), remember to breathe. If you write every day, that's great. If you take long breaks where you're not writing, that may be exactly what you need. One doesn't mean you've arrived at the pinnacle of professional writer; the other doesn't mean you're a slacker or hack.

      Note to self: read the above paragraph again. This pertains to you, too!

      #SFWApro





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