Still battling the funk, though things are getting better. I managed a whole paragraph of real words that did not have to do with my day job, and ideas for art are slowly starting to form. There is an end to the funk tunnel, and I can sorta see it if I squint! Whoot!

To keep somewhat of a momentum going, I’m continuing on with binge watching things that will give me ideas to bring Port Liberty to life as a place. I want readers to see it, smell it, taste it, hear it and feel it in their jellies.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and Paul Hollywood’s Big Road Trip both brought a single revelation: that how a culture feels about and uses a thing, be it salt, fat, acid, heat, or cars, can tell you a lot about their philosophy of life and how they function as a culture.

I especially liked Hollywood’s insights on the difference between the national pride in fancy supercars that get exported, and the love for the “reality” cars that everybody uses. I had never thought about how vehicles or the type of fat used in a dish might say something about Port Libs versus other parts of the multiverse.

My new favorite though, is The Ultimate Braai Master. (Unfortunately, Netflix only has season seven; I would have liked to see more of it.) The show takes place in South Africa, another county I hadn’t known too much about.

Braai is an Afrikaans word for roast, but it’s also an activity that every diverse part of the country takes part in in: coming together around the fire to cook and hang out. I watched these guys, many of them home cooks, put out everything form a huge T-bone to scones and cake over open fire. Amazing.

They even have a concept similar to a crawdad boil called Shisa Nyama (charred meat). It seems to be spelled differently depending on where you go, but essentially, it’s a bunch of different meats from lamb to boerwors (a spiral of pork and beef sausage), and chicken and beef and pork (and probably more things that I missed – the show goes fast) cooked on open fire or coals, glazed in a spicy sauce, and slapped down on a board in the middle of the table to eat family style with sides and beer (beer appears to be a big thing as well).

The show has given me a lot to think about (and makes me want to find somewhere that serves braai so I can taste it). What custom or food would bring people together in Port Liberty? Where will they gather? What will they eat? What will differentiate Port Libs from the characters in Jhrin where Kenna Wolfesdaughter has her adventures?

Lots to think about and start the fire of creativity!

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