I'm Gonna Start Baking Again!

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I'm getting tired of being known as the girl who loves to eat all the time. Yes, I love food and I love to eat, but it's becoming a little disheartening. There was a time when I really enjoyed cooking. I used to bake when I was younger. I never formally learned how to cook, but I could fake bake my butt off! "JIFFY" mix was my best friend, especially the blueberry and banana nut flavors. I'd make muffins, cookies, pancakes and I loved it! So what if my baked goods pretty much came out of a box. I was just happy to find things I could cook on my own and partially satisfy my insatiable sweetooth. I remember baking a lot and then I remember not baking. There's really no in between of why and when I stopped. It's the same way with my writing. I remember always writing and then not writing.

 

 

I started thinking about baking and writing the other night while I was reading this book about writing short stories. The author used this analogy:

An idea is to a writer as flour is to a baker.

A story idea, like flour, is simply the first of many essential ingredients when it comes to creating a story. To make your bread or pastry--be it a novel, short story, screenplay or poem--you need to combine other key ingredients...characters, voice, plot, structure, setting and lots of perseverance to stick with your story until the end. Just like a cake can't bake itself, an idea alone can't make a story. Somebody's gotta know how to bake that idea into art. I've been slacking on my job as a baker.

Most of my ideas have been sitting inside my head, some for years. No wonder I feel crazy all the time. I don't even know if they're bakable anymore, they're so old. Do ideas have an expiration date? But, I hold onto them, knead them around in my subconscious. I still want to see my ideas grow into something. But an idea plus desire isn't enough. I'm the one responsible for whether these ideas continue to die or if they see the light of day.

Cooking is not about being a perfectionist and I know that. I remember burning the bottoms of muffins and making some really crunchy cookies. It happens...and then I kept baking. I kept experimenting. Everything didn't always turn out good, but they didn't always turn out bad either. I want to be a perfect writer, so much so that I barely write at all. I think if I start baking again I'll remember that perfect writing doesn't exist. The best writing is what's written, not what's hiding on the shelf of my mind.

It's been months since I've gone grocery shopping (sad, but true), but next time I go I'm buying some "JIFFY" mix. And brownie mix. And cookie dough. I'm getting back to my baking! The girl who loves to eat will be the girl who loves to write, too.

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  • I too stand as a fellow childhood baker and adulthood writer. My baking specialty was a particular brand of Oatmeal Walnut and Raisin cookie that I would make and eat nearly before anyone else had a chance to sample my craft. The difference I suppose is that I loved making things from scratch. Perhaps that is a lie. Yes. My mother was loathe to buy cookie dough for me to bake and therefore I became slick enough to mine her cookbooks in search of kitchen experiments. She had one of the early 80's edition Betty Crocker cookbooks, Spices of the World which had a phenomenally interesting index to many of the world's spices, and ummm that Spoonbread one that nearly everyone's grandmother owns. Love the metaphor and it reminds me of my own penned a few months back though to a slightly broader effect than simply baking.

    Sage.

    We cook this life into a liquid elixir where writing should be the only thing that does satiate us. Save the flavor of the substantive goodness we place into it. We are sous chefs of the intuitive loosing our profound passion for passing this pen by the plateful. Placing our purpose upon the chopping block to be diced and dissected; juiced, julienned and justified just to get a taste that lingers over the tongue. Some moments in the process of preparation are more profound than others. Some are downright worthless for we know the range we wish to reach when writing towards the sky. We should be higher than this day finds us. Perhaps instead of writing to inspire others, we should pen ourselves a new breathing apparatus and scribe new oxygen into our present atmosphere. I just want to cook in my own kitchen and enjoy the aroma of my final product like a metaphor baking slowly beneath a cast iron enclosure.

    Bake on, Baker!

    Peace!
    Tekhen

  • Tekhen!!! Thank you so much for sharing your poem! You can't be showin me up on my blog, bringing all his hot fiyah, lol. Thank goodness I can take the heat, so I will stay in the kitchen. I'm inspired by your words and they are right on time. My favorite part: "Some are downright worthless for we know the range we wish to reach when writing towards the sky. We should be higher than this day finds us. Perhaps instead of writing to inspire others, we should pen ourselves a new breathing apparatus and scribe new oxygen into our present atmosphere." Indeed, we should. I believe that's what I'll do.

    You Bake On, too! And let me know when I can get some of those cookies! Seriously :-)

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