Friday, January 8, 2016

This is why I'm a writer and not a chef

It’s good to learn something new every day, and yesterday I learned that I can’t (yet) make split pea and ham soup. I soaked the peas, threw all the ingredients in the crock pot on high, and let it cook all day, but the peas never mushed down the way they’re supposed to. It’s . . . edible? Barely? I wouldn’t eat it a second time, though.

So, yeah, my culinary skills are a work in progress, as are so many other elements of life.

(You're about to say something about fish, right? I've got fish!)

And now I’m taking a much needed break from the family, hanging out at the bookstore café. I want to write, because writing makes me happier, but I’m not sure what to work on. For a while now, nothing has pulled at me the way a story needs to, compelling me to show up and tell it. There are nibbles. I feel like I’m trying to bare-hand fish in a slow stream, just moving my fingers a little and waiting for something to get close enough to nab.

It will happen. That’s something years of disappointment and failure have taught me: there’s always another story. Be still, listen, keep your eyes open. It will show up, in its own time. In the meantime, I plan to do some blogging, some verse, some studying and research. I want to look more deeply at how other people put stories together, the way they knit character and action and theme together. 
That’s the great thing about this work—there’s always more to learn.

If I have an overarching goal for 2016, it’s to reach the end of it feeling more whole, and strong, and hopeful than I’ve been before. Maybe take a look at life and see that if it hasn’t taken the road I planned, there might still be some interesting destinations on the route nonetheless.

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