Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I wish I knew how to take the same attitude with writing as I do with cooking. On the days that I am not inspired with cooking I can feel the difference. I can feel that something is off. There are too many disparate parts of the meal competing for attention. Perhaps I am worried how to please others. Perhaps I have too many vegetables to use up.

Sometimes I can gather my forces and narrow my focus and rally the meal. It feels like I pull myself into some sort of center. Gather psychic energy into my solar plexus. I become some kind of cooking super human. But other times I stay unfocused and it never quite comes together. But it's a feeling. A feeling that I have a better handle on in cooking then in writing.

But this cooking hero I have become developed over time. It has involved gathering psychic energy. Tuning out all the complicating stimuli and learning to take pleasure in my own competency and take joy in experimenting. I never wanted to have these crazy powers, it just fell to me over and over again and when you watch the world crumbling at your feet day after day you have to answer the call. Accept that feeding is the bitter truth of being a parent, and even if it requires a quick change in the phone booth, the job can either be done with grace or a lot of resistance. My superhuman strength there is really acceptance.

So, clearly, with writing, I want to save the world. But do I have to accept that I'm no super hero? Or do I have to accept that the battle will be hard? I just can't see the answer. I don't know what to accept.

When I'm not feeling it, when my head isn't quite in there, can I learn to adjust my attitude? Adjust my focal point and narrow my view so that the writing comes as freely as inspiration in the kitchen. (Just so you know--I am not making French dinners here--we're talking beets and black beans.)

Can I learn to recognize the feeling as well in writing? Because that's the big difference. Cooking is no longer buried under the layers of myself. But writing still is. Will there ever be a point where it is not?

These insecurities are why I write everyday. I do it because it is what I do. I write words. I've come to depend on them.

As Always (writing),


Writing Exercise:

How about a Koan?

Life as a Pig

One day, a old master had a vision of his next life. He immediately called in his favorite disciple and begged a favor of him.

"Anything for you master." the disciple replied.

"In my next life, I will come back as a pig. Soon after I die, our sow will give birth and I will be the fourth pig of the litter. You will recognize me by a mark on my brow. When that happens, please take a sharp knife and end my life quickly."

Within the year, the master passed away and the sow gave birth. The disciple sharpened his knife and found the small piglet. Suddenly the little pig screamed "Stop! Don't kill me!"

The disciple dropped his knife in surprise and stared at the little pig. "When I was like you I didn't know what a pig's life would be like. It's great. Just let me go."

Read it and freewrite about it. What comes up? Feel it.