Reading may seem like a solitary pleasure, but we do not believe it is so. As we read, we intimately interact with writers, the worlds they create, and our own inner selves as well as the real world that surrounds us. Some of us are also blessed enough to have friends to share the experience with.

While discussing the idyllic village of Three Pines and the captivating characters author Louise Penny created in the Inspector Gamache books, we were aware of the sensory pleasure to be had in the meals described. Olivier’s Bistro, Gabri’s baking, and dinners at the Morrow’s can easily make us salivate while reading the books… Louise Penny's books, are a wonderful entrĂ©e into a sensual world, where each book is a season, capturing its mood and flavours, and contributing to the layers of meaning about the characters, who are marvellously revealed over the series.

At one point, a daydream of going through the series with a notebook in hand, writing down all these meals and later cooking them, took shape. This is our "notebook". We hope you enjoy this literary-culinary-sensory-philosophical journey.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Coffee and coming full circle

by Amy



Our first blog was about coffee, croissants, and friends who listen, encourage and empower us.

I wrote about croissants and promised to write about coffee at some other point in time.

It seems fit that as I feel the blog winding down, and am preparing to say goodbye, the coffee is what I have come back to.

When I wrote that first post, a year and a half ago, I didn't drink coffee. Now I do. Too much of it maybe.

I always thought coffee was for grownups. I'd drink soda, sparkly water, water, fruity teas... not coffee.

I may have grown up in more ways than one, then. I love coffee. And black tea with a splash of milk and maybe even a spoon of sugar when I'm indulging myself. And lattes. And cappuccinos. And... I'm sure you get the picture.

This blog has been a gift in finding my voice and in learning to listen to myself.

The first post has Clara and Jane sitting in a cafe and Jane is telling Clara about her aspirations, whispering, because telling another means she will no longer be able to hide it from herself. Confession of a dream or an aspiration brings both the joy of sharing a dream, but also the accountability inherent in having someone else know...

This blog has been a place where I have shared aspirations and dreams and goals. Lofty ones. Like:

"But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs." (Middlemarch - George Elliot)

It has been a place to stretch my muscles and seek my voice.

It has been a place I have come to to hear myself and to read myself and to try to reach into those recesses that I would rather pretend did not exist. I usually need to "think out loud". This blog was a place where I was allowed to think out loud and I very much appreciate it.

"I'd like to know your thoughts."
She said, "I'm still thinking. Maybe I'll tell you when I'm done."
He laughed. "I'll look forward to it. But you might never get done, you know. Thinking is endless." (Lila - Marilynne Robinson)

Thank you for sharing this journey.

I have learned SO much about food. I went from barely being able to cook and cooking only occasionally to now being competent in the kitchen (nothing like Libby, but I can feed people much better now!).

I have learned so much more about myself. I may like myself less sometimes (you can't un-know your darkness once you face it), but I think I love myself more. In coming to terms with my humanity, I have been learning to find the strength that comes from weakness, imperfection, and Grace.

Thank you for cheering me on throughout this journey... and for your encouragement and listening ear.

I think this is goodbye - at least for now.

21 comments:

  1. Oh, Amy, I had a feeling this moment was coming-this labor of love has added so much to my enjoyment of Louise's books. Whether this is "Goodbye" or "See you later" it has been a pleasure. Will the blog stay on-line for awhile so we can have a graceful withdrawal and download our favorite recipes? What about the Facebook page? Take care of yourself and, hopefully, all our paths will cross again.

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    1. Hi Lynn,
      When I started it, I felt like I was "bursting" with things to say. Now I need some time to mull and digest these revelations. And yes, it will stay online indefinitely and I may post here and again. Who knows? After this crazy period, I may even go back to writing it regularly! I will also keep the facebook page alive and if/when I decide to write something else in a different format or place I will also let you know. ;) I might. I'm mulling over a new idea and wondering if it will work.

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    2. Your comments, by the way, have always been much appreciated! Thank you for your feedback. It has made this more than a journal...

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    1. Hi Georgia!
      I will!
      Thank you for reading!

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  3. You have done a wonderful job with this blog. It is not only you who grew, but the readers, too. You are very articulate. I will miss the blog, but I think next year, after a new book, there may be new recipes to write about. It has been a pleasure discussing the books here. Best of everything to you and our family. Three Pines won't be the same without you, but it is a refuge for everyone., and you'll stop back to visit. See you at the Bistro.

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    1. Hi Nancy,
      You have been a faithful reader and your encouragement has been much appreciated. I love your comment. And yes! I will definitely stop by and visit and I, too, feel like the next book might rekindle a period of posting and cooking! I will definitely see you at the Bistro - and the used bookstore... and the bench with Surprised by Joy. ;)

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  4. Brava Amy!! What a delight it has been 'getting into' your mind space through your musings and writings. You have a wonderful hold on life! And hasn't the Gamache series and Louise Penny's evocative writing been the perfect vehicle! Thanks for letting me tag along. HUGE hug!! Libby

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    1. Libby,
      I couldn't have done it without you.
      Thank you for holding my hand and being a friend - despite the miles that separate us.

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  5. Oh, I shall miss you! Thank you for your openness, for allowing us to take this journey with you, and for inviting us to sit down at your table. I'm mixing my metaphorical gestures, but I do feel as if you did both--took us along on down a path and welcomed us into your home. Each was a privilege.

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    1. Hi Beth,
      Oh... the privilege was mine.
      Everyone needs to be seen and heard. This was a place where I bared my soul and felt heard. I appreciate it. I don't think this is goodbye forever. Like Nancy said, I'm sure we'll see each other at the Bistro! I'll be back.
      And I loved all the mixed metaphors! :)

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  6. Thank you so much. I will miss you!

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    1. Thank you for reading, Anonymous!
      I'm hoping the door is still open in case the words start bubbling up again!

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  7. I will miss you and your blog, it inspired me to dream more. Thank you. please keep in touch, you know there will be another book coming out,.....just sayin'

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    1. Hi Tall Pines,
      I don't think this is goodbye. It's just a farewell for now. I do realize a new book is coming... I'm pretty sure I'll be back. ;)

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  8. Oh no. Something in an earlier post signaled to me that this was always meant to be a finite thing and that you were nearing the end, but I refused to entertain that thought! Noooooooooooooo. I've loved this wonderful blog, from the name of it to the thoughtful discourse on the themes in the books, to the amazing recipes you've shown and beautiful pictures of the food you've cooked. I do hope that you will continue to drop in and muse along from time to time, and of course, whenever a new book comes out. I'll keep you "in my feed" so that if you should post, I'll see that the night is, once again, a strawberry!

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    1. Hi Julie,
      I will always remember your comments and encouragement fondly. So fondly that I'm sure to wander back and muse along from time to time and, maybe once this period of craziness is past, I'll go back to doing it consistently! Do keep us in your feed. I don't think it'll be a forever goodbye. ;)

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  9. I came to your blog via Ms. L.Penny's newsletter. I have enjoyed it so much and I thank you. Your words have been informing and beautiful. I will miss it. I have forwarded some to friends. Take Care, Kaye Park city, UT

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  10. Missing you as I think of the Glass Houses title and begin to wonder what Gamache et al are up to now...

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    1. Hi Julie,
      I think Glass Houses might reignite the desire to write here. We'll see. ;)
      I'm missing this, too.

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