glass bottle filled with glowing bright red homemade sriracha in my messy blue kitchen

A glass bottle of glowing, bright red homemade version of sriracha, in my blue kitchen..

Wednesday at The Wish Factory

Into the wish cauldron

Wish time. This might require a proxy quest. Let’s find out.

In the meantime, I want to name the various elements on my mind, see if I can get closer to the essence of my wishing.

Writing is a cauldron for wishing, or it can be.

What ingredients are here? What do I know about my desires? Where am I starting from?

Starting from love, curiosity, and from the circumstances such as they are, aka It Is What It Motherfucking Is, which, at the moment, is a heat wave.

Heat (round one)

This heat wave, the one I was dreading last week, is a lot. 97 degrees (36 Fahrenheit), no air conditioning.

By 1pm, it’s too hot to even exist in the front room, even with curtains drawn and fans blasting, so I bring the little chiller into the bedroom and set it next to the bed, directed at me. The bedroom is very small, and with doors shut and curtains closed, it cools down to something manageable.

The good news: I’m able to wake up early and do my bobcat routine, take care of cooking, dishes, a step or two on a project. More good news: once it’s too hot, I have a cooler space to retreat to and be in siesta mode.

The less good news: I sit on the bed in a tiny room for eight hours until it’s time to go to sleep, experiencing hallucinatory levels of cabin fever, and who can say if it’s the heat or being confined to such a small space.

Probably both.


I am trying to stay refreshed by doing all the refreshing things. Spraying or splashing cool water on my face, refilling my tiny ice tray, cooling off with wet washcloth baths.

Making horchata, or drinking iced chai with a ginger chiltepin syrup that I prepped early in the morning.

Mainly I am waiting this out and trying, as always, to do the known things that help, so that I can have more focus and use this siesta time for reading or writing, if I have focus, which I often don’t.

The rains will come when they come, the temperature will retreat to something more manageable, or I will get better at bearing the heat, or I will get better at life in siesta mode. There are options. I am keeping the faith.

But what I really long for, when I tune in to the questions and stones of What Do I Want, What Would Help, What Is The Next Step, my longing has to do with doors.

Open doors

The person who built my very tiny house on a trailer was an artist and a visionary, and the thing with art and vision is they can clash with the practical. I don’t know that they necessarily have to, but I don’t think it’s uncommon either.

Anyway, this visionary had a beautiful vision, of a home that could be open to nature, big doors on either end to open up to a view and a breeze, a dreamy open space that can hold both inside and outside at the same time.

He sold it to me because he wanted it to live out in glorious nature, not hooked up in someone’s backyard, but out in the wild wilds, where the open doors would open to a majestic vista.

And because I am a quiet, eccentric, dreamy person, the right steward for a quiet, eccentric dreamy metal dragon on a trailer, and [chaotic adventures ensued], eventually it ended up out here.

Dreamscape into reality

Of course when you traverse from dreamscape into reality, and from the California coast to the mountains of New Mexico, you are reminded of some aspects of how reality differs from dreamscapes.

For example, you are reminded that reality contains flies, bees, enormous dragonflies, all manner of creatures and critters (are those the same word?), of the crawling kind, the slinky kind, or the flying kind.

All of whom love an open door. Nature abhors a vacuum, and goes wild for a door.

So very rarely do I open the doors. In the morning I do, opening the front doors when there is a lovely cool breeze, and I can keep an eye on the threshold. Lighting incense to discourage the flies.

But what I really want…

Ah yes, okay. Here it is. What I really want is a screen, especially in the evening when the temperatures cool deliciously, and it is lovely outside on the porch, but still reliably miserable inside.

So I end up staying up later than I want waiting for the inside air to cool, and, eventually, joyfully reaching for a blanket in the middle of the night.

But what if I could open the doors and fill the house with cool night air for half an hour or so before bed, and fall asleep comfortable, and two hours earlier? That sounds delightful.

What do I know about this wish?

I thought at first I was zeroing in on a wish for a simple, elegant, inexpensive solution for a temporary, seasonal front door screen, or maybe a wish for information, like for someone to recommend to me the exact right kind of temporary, seasonal screen, and connect me to the right person to install it.

Except that’s not exactly the wish.

Hmmm, maybe it’s really a wish for a personal assistant type of magical person because I have no focus to research these things, and because I am deeply afraid of ordering the wrong thing which has happened in the past…

Which makes it a wish for funds, and for a trustworthy handy-person who will wear a mask and also actually show up. Which is at conflict with my experience that these things can be unreliable and iffy.

Morning air, so sweet and refreshing

This morning, I opened the front doors wide wide wide all the way, and fastened them to stay open, and it was so refreshing, the outside temperature cool and inviting.

My slinky bobcat yoga hour went by so fast, my sun salutations felt effortless, for the first time since my concussion, which as it happens, was two years ago today, happy concussiversary to me.

Well, happy is not really the right word. A quiet and meaningful feast day to me. That’s better.

I began to wonder if cool fresh air is the simple and rejuvenating solution to all that ails me? It couldn’t hurt, so how do I get more of this without being on edge, because another anniversary is coming up and that is the anniversary of a snake in my home, which was very stressful.

Yes, okay, I want a screen! I want to be screened in, please. Cool refreshing outside air, with a boundary. Contained and breezy.

Heat, in the form and sense of sudden anger

I began researching possible screen options, and it felt very familiar. Turns out that’s because this is something I discussed in depth with former handyperson nearly two years ago.

He said it would be easy to install, no big deal. I did so much research, sent him three options, asked which one would work best, if any. He never got back to me, I sent follow-up questions and reminders. He wouldn’t respond.

I asked again when he was here working on a project, but he needed to look at the email, and neither of us could pull it up because of my iffy wifi. And it never happened, and I forgot because I forget things now.

So this project, and even the wish for it, is bringing up some old frustrations, some pain stories and some monster stories. Something about…?

Something about…

If I try to put this big emotion / throat tightness into words, if I were going to cry to a friend about this, what is the narrative, what is in here?

Something about…

[This could have been so easy and he could have installed it in minutes while he was here anyway but no one is available to help me with the decision making process, and I am out of my depth, and scared to order the wrong thing, which I have done so times in the past few years and then I have REGRETS about wasted money, energy and time!]

Okay, let’s proxy this!

In other words, this wish is striking big feelings, too close to home, too close to self-criticism patterns. Let’s view it in a new frame, using something that isn’t going to elicit the same strong emotion.

A proxy is a way to utilize hyperfocus while elegantly side-stepping any potential stuck elements attached to the project you’re actually working on, or the problem you’re actually trying to solve…

It’s taking the scenic route on purpose because that’s where the clues are.

Homemade sriracha, for example

I went to the kitchen in search of ice and another round of Summery Refreshing Beverage, and saw the homemade version of sriracha I made this week.

Honestly, it came out great. I added ginger and some dried chile de árbol for added complexity and richness of flavor. My version is hotter than the rooster bottle, which is not a complaint from me.

It’s good on roasted potatoes, it’s good on eggy fried rice with lots of greens, and I do not currently have any ice cream but am convinced it would be good on ice cream…

Ice cream sounds so dreamy right now

Tragically I don’t have any ice cream or anything ice cream adjacent in my tiny freezer. This is not an unusual situation.

However, I am very tempted, once it cools down enough to spend time in the kitchen again, to whip up a coconut milk semifreddo or a tahini sorbet to test out this theory, which could be a delusion of my heat-melted mind, some kind of dazzling ice cream mirage situation, or possibly I am a culinary genius.

The point is, I am gloriously unconflicted about this beautiful bottle of homemade sriracha, and unconflicted is what we want for a proxy when we are working with wishes. Let’s go.

Who am I in this situation? Secret identity: activate!

I make a homemade version Sriracha. I am, just for the purposes of this creative thinking exercise, The Sriracha Maker.

Okay, let’s see what we have to work with here….


What is sriracha about?
What is homemade sriracha making about?
What is being the sriracha maker about?
What do I know as the sriracha maker?


Sriracha is about a punch of flavor.

Homemade sriracha making is about the joys of DIY and zero-waste.

Being the sriracha maker is about creativity and playfulness, independence, and the very delightful and compelling (to me) superpower of what if I can upgrade this even more?

What I know as the sriracha maker is that all I have to do is combine delicious ingredients and wait. Then blend and strain. But first wait.

Here are the themes:

Upgrades upon upgrades!
Adding layers of complexity
Enhance the ritual


I love that it’s not just the upgrade of not needing to buy hot sauce or have another plastic container in my home, but literally the upgrade of oh wow this tastes way the fuck better.

Adding layers of complexity

I love the layered complexity of flavor that comes from adding ginger and dried Mexican chiles, but what about cumin, dried lemon peel, a cinnamon stick, maybe a splash of alcohol. A sriracha cocktail or mocktail…

What about a sriracha-flavored horchata, for example. Again, the heat could be cooking my brain, but also being playful is fun.

Enhance the ritual (enhance! enhance!)

In Judaism, there is a term for when you are following a commandment or doing a ritual, and you make it more beautiful, hidur mitzvah, the decorating or elevating of the commandment. For example, using beautiful candlestick holders for your candles on Shabbat.

Beautiful ritual objects aren’t required, this isn’t something you need to feel bad about if you don’t or can’t, it’s just a possible form of making the ritual feel otherworldly, beyond or outside of the mundane.

Outside of the mundane

Obviously, sriracha is not a religious ritual, l’havdil.

But for the purposes of this thought experiment, what if it is ritual-adjacent, what if I treat my great love of spicy oils, sauces and assorted hot condiments as holy?

Using a beautiful bottle. Making it in my favorite pot. The joy of a bowl of bright peppers on my counter, all of it is joy, really. And joy is holy.

Thankful for being alive and in a body to experience moments of joy. Not all the time, sure, but certainly when I am putting sriracha on everything. It’s a start.

Let’s talk to the version of me who is The Sriracha Maker

Me: What would you like me to know? What am I missing, not perceiving, forgetting about, misconstruing?

What do I need to know about sriracha, the process of making it, the experience of being The Sriracha Maker?

The Sriracha Maker: Well, for one thing, it’s very meditative, making a sauce. A double form of sorcery.

There is the sorcery of individual ingredients, spending the night together, brining and vibing, then further combining with the application of heat and sugar, until they meld into a new entity, a holy god this is good sauce that is life-ruiningly delicious, in a good way.

There is an additional form of sorcery though in taking the leftover pulp and turning that into something else, frying it up into something chili-crisp adjacent that we like to call Bonus Condiment.

Now you have two condiments, and zero waste. The art of reusing is imbued with magic. Reduce, re-use.


Me: So it’s about transformation and also about imbuing, letting something take on its next form. The ego death of the pepper?

TSM: Haha sure, you could say that. The ego death of everything, destruction and creation. And beyond that…?

Me: Ooof, it’s about trusting the fucking process again, are you kidding me?

TSM: Okay, what if we say that it’s about observing the process, being engaged and present with the process, making adjustments as needed?

But yes, sure, one element of sriracha making is very much that:

You might as well have some faith along the way.

You might as well have some faith along the way

Me: What else do you want me to know or understand that I don’t know or understand yet?

TSM: Once you have made one kind of hot sauce you love, you can make others, it’s a hobby or fascination that extends and expands, as far as you like to take this exploration.

You can use the subtleties of flavor and knowledge that you have accumulated in the form of hot sauce skills, and apply them to anything else, food-related or not.

This will make you a better baker, more skilled in general, in many, non-hot-sauce-related endeavors. This practice has applications beyond anything you can imagine right now.

I don’t know if you are ready to hear this, but I’m just going to say it: making these glowing bottles of red pleasure sauce is related to being a writer. It’s not separate from writing.

What would help?

Me: What would help me most? And please don’t say trust the process!

TSM: Haha, obviously I would never. But, take this as an example rather than an instruction, what if? This is how I want you to think. What if you made a pineapple sriracha blend and added it to esquites?

Me: Okay, so this is about the unexpected. What if we put it in a tiramisu?

TSM: That is bold and grand. That is what I’m talking about. Experiments that are bold and grand. Idea sparks. Not just putting it on rice and a protein.


Me: I still don’t really see how any of this applies to the wish of a door screen situation. I get that there’s something about thinking creatively, an expansive state of mind for ideas to bubble up….

And I agree with you that there’s value in observing the process.

I like the part about transformation, having these screens on even just the front door would allow me to feel like I am at sea, enjoying the breeze, instead of relying on just two windows to carry the cool air to me.

WWTSMD (What would The Sriracha Maker do?)

TSM: Do you know what I would do?
Me: I do not! That’s why I’m asking!
TSM: When it came time to make sriracha, we read several recipes…
Me: Is that like… looking up reviews for various screens?
TSM: laughing

I didn’t get what was funny, and had to go get more ice, and then suddenly I got the joke. They don’t want me to screen the screens, they want me to screen the handyperson.

There are reasons I don’t want to work with the ones I know, and I haven’t found new ones, and this requires a screening process. I need a screen, I need to get better at screening.

That’s fair, it is funny, I laughed.

Heat (again)

I keep saying that I am losing my mind in this heat, but also I made hot sauce, so heat is also two things at once. What else do I know about heat?

You can reheat things, like a sauce.

You can apply heat…

To apply heat can sometimes mean to apply pressure…

You can also apply heat in the sense of slow cooking, low heat, low and slow.

Right now I am responding to heat, in summer siesta mode, heat is applied to me, my job is to rest and write and wish wishes. Oh wow, what beautiful wishes.

Concussiversary Wishes

I am going to drink horchata and skip some stones (journal) on What Is Different, What Is Working, and What If You’re Doing Great Babe? Hat tip to Holly for the last one, what a beautiful question.

The wish has been seeded, the ingredients have been placed in a jar. Right now it’s time to wait.

Luckily, I can keep wishing more wishes, consult with The Sriracha Maker, talk to any version of me at all, and find some grace in my thank-you-heart for the miracles.

Thank you, miracles of my cooler sequestered bedroom, the chiller that lowers the temperature by ten to fifteen degrees if I’m sitting right next to it. Thank you, ice trays and modern conveniences. Thank you, taste buds and taste sensations that returned to me. Thank you, friends who check on me from afar.

Now is not then. Now is now.

Want to wish some wishes? Come play with me, I love company

You are welcome to wish any wishes, seed any seeds, play with any of these concepts in any way you like. Come play in the comments!

Share anything sparked for you while reading, or add any wishes into the pot, the healing the power of the collective is no small thing, companionship helps.

A request

If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Working on some stuff to offer this coming year, but between traumatic brain injury recovery & Long Covid, slow going.

I am accepting support (with joy & gratitude) in the form of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund. Asking is not where my strength resides but Brave & Stalwart is the theme these days, and pattern-rewriting is the work, it all helps with fixing the many broken things.

Or you can buy a copy of the my Monster Manual & Coloring Book if you don’t have it!

And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share one of my posts with someone who loves words, tell people about these techniques, approaches and themes, send them here, it all helps, it’s all welcome, and I appreciate it and you so much. ❤️

The Fluent Self