Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why writing is like baking Bat Fingernail Pie

It's a piecemeal process of patience and persistance. First, you need bats. Then you need to feed them right and look after them while their fingernails (which are, as everyone knows, the truly tasty part of the bat) grow. Mostly you're doing that at night, of course. You also have to fend off the Walkers Chips tasting department, who are currently very interested in Bat Fingernail as a new chip flavour.* Then, once the bats' fingernails have grown, you have must trim them, down to the quick but no further, while avoiding the cross bat's remaining (very sharp) fingernails, not to mention its teeth. Repeat 76,581 times, because that's how many fingernails you will need to make your pie. And that's the easy bit.

You see, the success of a Bat Fingernail Pie depends on the way in which the fingernails are arranged. You cannot simply dump them all into a pie dish. Oh, no. You must arrange one on top of the other, in a meticulously constructed tower of fingernails. A single error might cause the whole thing to come crashing down, and that's pretty frustrating when it's fingernail #76,000 or later. And don't forget the Puffin Tail Pastry on top, but that recipe is a whole other post in itself.

Then we have the cooking of your pie. A truly great Bat Fingernail Pie is not solely about arrangement, but about how you treat your arrangement afterwards. The oven must be hot, but not too hot. The room must be silent. The wind must be an easterly and you must gag your agapanthuses, because the whispering of their leaves is so loud that it will invariably cause your pie to sink.

And if you get it all right, every single bit of it, you will give your Bat Fingernail Pie to somebody else to tear apart. Did you make the mistake of thinking it might be for you? No, no! The best Bat Fingernail Pies are those that are intended for others; built with love, cooked with care and then, we hope, consumed with thought.

I did have a reason for writing this post, but I'm afraid I got so carried away with my recipe I forgot what it was. I think it was that the 100 words a day of the Koala PHC challenge will build up in time to the most delicious Bat Fingernail Pie.

*See Whirl


J.C. Montgomery said...

As long as I end up with a pie of tasty nails and not toe jam, I'll be happy. Disgusted and naseous (what a helluva an analogy by the way) - but happy.

Whirlochre said...

Whirl's secret (and icky and eeeeewy and vile) admission...

When I was about 13, I got into growing my fingernails long. Yes, I know — some kids do hair and in certain parts of Africa they do necks — but I did nails.

Mostly, they broke off, but I did manage to nurture a thumb nail that grew to a length of just over half an inch.

I still have its yellowed remains in a small 70s England's Glory matchbox, and occasionally bring it out every couple of Hallowe'ens to scare away children trying to steal my chocolate...

Sarah Laurenson said...

Love the analogy. Don't love the mess this week has been.

Redid my scheduling and it requires more tweaking. So I did some writing on Monday and none on Tuesday. Should be back on track today (if I can stop sneezing long enough - I hear that's murder on the pie). I am supposed to be working out with my trainer on Monday and Thursday, but I was sick last Monday and so we are doing 3 days this week. 2 are done and I'm beat. It's these days with the trainer that I'm having trouble working in writing time.

JaneyV said...

This is why I hate cooking. It takes all the fun out of eating.

Does it mess up the analogy if I say I'm more of a bangers and mash girl most of the time but when the mood strikes I'll go all out and whip up a six course extraviganza -followed by a period of doing no cooking at all?

Robin S. said...

I love this. After the fried day I've had, I needed a good grin - the kind where you nod along in sympathy, because you're baking a pie, too.

Shona Snowden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McKoala said...

JC, we'll have to ask Whirl about the tasty bit.

Whirl, only you could outgross this post.

Sarah, sneezing is the seasoning, didncha know?

Janey, no, but I don't like the sound of 'no cooking at all'. I think you should at least be whipping up a scone or two. (*chink* of koala claws on keyboard)

Robin, your pie is baked. You're at the tasting stage. Let's hope your readers love it as much as we do (although you've only let us have tiny tastes so far...).

gel said...

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