Notes from Nadir by Lisa Maliga
A Los Angeles-based writer returns to her Midwestern home due to financial difficulties. Moving back in with Mom, she lands a job at an online auction site. From encountering wacky characters to dealing with unsympathetic relatives, to her mother’s health issues, the narrator struggles with being in Nadir–the place and the state of mind.
About the Author
Lisa Maliga has been writing ever since she learned how to put crayon to paper back in kindergarten. Since then, she has learned to type and uses a laptop, citing it as way more convenient. She still makes and uses her own soapy creations. You’ll find more about her work at:
By Lisa Maliga
I’ll admit it publicly: I can’t sew a straight line. I can’t knit without dropping stitches. My crocheting and needlepoint samples aren’t going to win any prizes. And I’m sure my lopsided layer cakes won’t land me on Ace of Cakes or catch the Cake Boss’s attention. But I get creative in the kitchen in a different way – by making soap!
Before Lush opened their first store in Santa Monica, I was a huge fan of their products. I’d ordered several of their soaps from Canada and eagerly awaited the package’s delivery. I was impressed with the appealing chunks of goodness as the soft soap is cut from a large cheese-like wheel. All were nasal bliss, and did the job of cleaning and softening quite well. I’d never used glycerin soap before and in the mid-90’s there wasn’t that much information about it online. A few companies sold it in bulk and after making my first batch of soap with some marigold [calendula] petals on top, I was hooked.
I immersed myself in learning how to make soap and found it easy to concentrate on what I was doing. I compare it with writing. The soap base is the story. The shape of the mold relates to the characters and their motivation, the color equals dialogue, and the fragrance corresponds with the tone of the story. Wrapping and labeling is like the sense of location[s] found in a novel. Writing involves sitting in front of the computer and staring at the monitor. In the kitchen is where I decide what type of soap to make and I concentrate on that. The creativity involved can be spontaneous…for my La Brea Tar Pits soap I used a plastic cookie liner for a mold and the name came from the nearby tar pits. Tea tree essential oil removes tar from the skin as does lavender, and it enhances the aroma. Ground rolled oats help clean and soften the skin, and cornmeal is an exfoliant, removing excess dirt. Each element has its place.
Taking the same creativity I use when designing soap and other bath & body products, writing about soapmaking is easy. I see it as sharing the joy of a fun and crafty hobby [although it was a business for almost five years]. I hope to make everything easier for the reader so they don’t make the same mistakes I did. The recipes, I’d created over the years were all handwritten on scraps of paper. When I wrote The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting, I actually typed them out for the first time. To this day, every product I make always involves writing down all the ingredients so I know what fragrances I’ve blended, what oils and butters I’ve used, the amounts, etc. I also remembered what it was like when I made my first batch of soap using a single page of instructions. I wanted more information as I had many questions. Just like my writing, I’ve learned it all by doing. By making hundreds of batches of soap, and by writing hundreds of thousands of words.
Amazon paperback http://www.amazon.com/Notes-Nadir-Lisa-Maliga/dp/1493519077/
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