Friday, August 6, 2010

Coming up blank

It was inevitable.  I thought it would take longer than it did,but I knew this day would come.  I sat down to write today’s entry to meet my  August Pledge and came up blank.  I am at a conference in LA, and thought about the blog off-and-on during the day, but since I was pretty engaged in the presentations, I didn’t come up with much.  A few fleeting ideas, but nothing that is ready to be fleshed out, even to the level of a daily blog entry.
So here I sit trying to come up with something-- something that might be of interest to whomever happens to check in today (disclaimer: Today’s entry may not be so interesting.  You might want to look through the archives to find something better!).

This reminds me of a poem I wrote nearly 13 years ago called “Waiting for Rain” which was about feeling dry and uncreative.  I can’t remember the whole thing now, but the last two lines go something  like this:

The withered face of the land stares back into sun
But can not will the rains to come.

That still rings true- I don’t know how to force creativity.   It seems to have a will of its own.  I try to be patient and wait for inspiration,  but as I mentioned yesterday, patience is not my strong suit.     Every minute that I spend staring at a blank paper (or more likely a blank computer screen)  exacerbates my insecurities until my internal critics are screaming “GIVE UP!  IT’S HOPELESS! YOU'RE HOPELESS!! GIVE UP!” 
Not a pretty scenario.
So, how do I free myself from this self-strangulation? 
I give up.
I stop trying to write or  solve that difficult problem.  I give up, but not in defeat.  I simply do something else, something  that is creative but in a different way.
Like cooking.
Cooking is great for freeing up those creative thoughts.  First of all, it is great fun!  I love to play in the kitchen--  I get to pour stuff and mix stuff and chop and stir and smell nice spices -- it's like messy play for grownups.   Best of all, when I am finished I have made something that I can see, touch,  smell, and share with my family and friends.  (Usually, I have  made a pretty big mess as well.  Fortunately, my husband loves my cooking and is more than happy to help with the clean up chores)  Cooking results in a tangible, often enjoyable product that silences those internal critics that make me feel incompetent.(Even my internal critics like to eat!)     I am often surprised to find that  ideas occur to me while I am stirring, chopping, mixing and smelling those nice aromas.

If I could cook something tonight, it would be fattouche, which is a Lebanese tossed salad.  I have ordered it in a few restaurants recently and have become a huge fan.  The novelty is in the  dressing.  I believe the unique ingredient Is powdered sumac, probably available at our local middle eastern grocery.  I can’t wait to get home and try it. Yum!
I just know that if I could make a fattouche salad tonight,  I would be able come up with a good idea for this blog.
Today I am grateful for ideas, whenever and however they come.  (And for interesting spices!)
Now, a technicality.  When I post this blog it will be after midnight in Michigan, meaning that August 5 will not have an entry.  However, here In California it is just a little past 9 pm, so let's call it close enough. OK?

No comments:

Post a Comment