I like to cook. Not always, mind you. But I can honestly say I’m no longer afraid to cook; no longer preoccupied with how things will turn out. I don’t cook as sport or even as art. I cook just to cook, as a mysterious and fulfilling practicality. What most delights me about cooking is using what I already have on hand in ways I hadn’t planned. Kind of like a spontaneous symphony. Well, more like a whistle.
This wasn’t always true of me. I never learned to cook and I never had to cook. When I took up residency here, in this home as a whole woman and a wife, after accomplishing my life’s shallow ambition by the age of 35 and then falling splat on my ass, I began to cook. When my parents visited me here for the first time, my father came into the kitchen wide-eyed. “Artice,” he called to my mother. “You’ve got to see this. Karen made scrambled eggs.” He was just amazed, and so was I. Life is amazing! And breakfast is pretty miraculous too.
This week I’m going to write about writing. I just opened the cupboards and saw what I had on hand. Everywhere I turn, I see my friends talking about writing; they confess their aspirations and fears. Everywhere I turn, I see my own obstinate doubts and hindrances. I wasn’t always inclined to be so glib about writing. I stopped myself from blogging for a long time with the excuse that bloggers were “only writers” and therefore not my readers. Yes, I can be that way. I can be that mean and small and stingy and scared.
But now I feel a rush to get the word out so you have these encouragements and ingredients on hand. Please know that as I recite them I am nourishing myself. Here they all are, and I will take up each point separately in a longer post as circumstances allow.
Instructions to the Cook
1. Writing a book is not about the book.
2. It’s not even about the words.
3. The more you write the more you write.
4. Start writing but don’t stop reading.
5. Every no is a yes.
So this week, let’s read and let’s write. Send me your comments or questions, and we’ll scramble the eggs into something you can swallow.