Wednesday – On the Shelf

Mise en place.

Translated from French, and used most commonly as culinary terminology, means ‘putting in place’.

While I am an ‘everything in place girl’ when I am in the kitchen, mise en place applies to so many other areas in my life as well, especially when it comes to writing.

University grounds at sunset

When I try to enter the world of ether and mist that is words, I need to have everything else at rest. I need a centre when I enter the storm.

University grounds

Last night our lecturer spoke about allowing ourselves to enter the creative space and just write, worry about the editing later, just let the story tell itself, and come back to reality later. When I have succeeded in mise en place, that creative space opens like a door in front of me. I may have to fight a few dragons at the gate and shackle an anchor to myself in the rocky sea of writing, at least I can see the way there more easily.

When that door opens, and the world beyond finally allows me entrance, there is no other place I would rather be, I can be transported to a deserted road in the middle of Australia, a wooded trail in Victorian England, or a dark starry night where the waves crash in against the sound on a shore I have never seen.

Here is a sneak peek at a place I have found myself lately (from one of my assignments).


The letter arrived the day of the funeral, if you could call it that, Catherine mused, as there was no body to be interred that misty morning. A funeral usually had more than one mourner in attendance as well, but Catherine stood alone in the light rain listening to the priest’s deep voice intoning the Latin phrases of a final prayer over the small pit that contained only ashes. The priest finished and turned to the tall, pale, young woman who had yet to weep over her father’s final resting place. He regarded her solemnly with pale, watery blue eyes and a respectful nod before he turned away and made his way back to the rector’s cottage out of the cold, grey morning.

Catherine pulled her wool cloak closer about her. Though it had reached mid-morning, the sun had yet to make an appearance and the night fog still clung to the ground. She was alone. Alone in this small graveyard, and in the world. 

Tell me my dear reader, when do you most need everything in place?

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