Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why write? Why cook?

Ireland.

Wild.

And tame.
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And now a memory. As I walked the streets of Galway, I pinched myself and thought over and over, "Appreciate. Savor. Love." For all too soon it is a memory. In my work life, I am waiting for these days to be a memory. I am in the "dark side of the moon" phase where even my award-winning plays cannot find a home. I considered papering the walls with my "You write very well, but we cannot market this particular play" letters. It's been many, many months.
`
So why write? Well, it silences the voices. Yes, it is true. Writing (particularly plays) encourages a schizophrenic mind set. And writing is some sort of bizarre artistic therapy. Which brings me to cooking. It, too silences the voices.
`
In Julie and Julia, Julie Powell says, "“I love that after a day where nothing is sure — and when I say nothing, I mean nothing — you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort."
`
I love that statement - but I am not sure that is why I cook. When I cook, I can lose myself. When I am chopping aromatics, my head is quiet. I am fully engaged in the colors and aromas and the wish to not cut my fingers off. Fast food does not give me that. Fast food leaves out anticipation. It does not fill my head with anything but the worry I am ingesting unknown ingredients! The physical activity of whisking, chopping and tasting engages my eyes, ears, nose and anticipatory taste buds. It has to. I'm not all that coordinated.
I look at my thyme and I know that if I combine it with lemon juice and a bit of olive oil and throw it in a bag with chicken drumsticks, I will make some people very happy. All I need to do is grill on some blazing coals and it will disappear - amid smiles.
`

Combine pasta with the bounty of the season, add some cheese and your pick of herbs and you have a meal. A meal that feeds, nourishes and entices. When the rejection slips pile up and I cannot face the computer, I turn to my kitchen. It lifts the fog. It nourishes body and spirit. I will now write a scene for my middle school play and sautee some porcinis from Italyville with shallots and cream. There is no guarantee that the scene will remain in the play. But I am sure the porcinis will delight!




22 comments:

Wanda said...

I can't imagine writing a play Claudia...I think it would be so hard, even harder than writing a book. It's certainly not something I could do.

I'm sure it's just a small dry spell...so you can concentrate on cooking and blogging to quiet that mind for awhile...:)

girlichef said...

You've put a smile to my mouth and a tear to my eye. That was beautiful...and I am with you, there is just something about writing AND cooking that set me in a better place for a bit. :)

Bunny said...

You were meant to write, it's your passion. Some people go through life never having or knowing passion. Let your mind relax, it'll come. I love that salad, I need to make this!

unconfidentialcook said...

I love that line from Julie Powell, too. Sometimes, though, I'm finding that I have so much stuff on my plate (no pun intended) that even cooking can put me into an anxious state if I take on too big/complicated a project.

Mary said...

I love your post and I'm sure I'd love your play. Be strong of heart and good things will happen. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

the ungourmet said...

What a lovely post! I lose myself in my cooking as well. It inspires, intrigues, and invigorates me!

May your play be as inspired as your cooking make you feel!

Donna-FFW said...

Love this post Claudia. I feel the same way bout cooking. Something about the smells, sounds and feel of things in your hand that bring joy and catharsis to me:)

Your writing is beautiful, btw.

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

I really enjoy your writing - you evoke emotions - I'm sure your plays are the same way. Cooking is my joy, my peace, and my stress-relief!

figtree said...

Hi great post..enjoyed it all. I have an unrelated to food question. Are you ready? My soon to be 9th grade son is going to audition for a play next week, he has to sing a few lines from a broadway show..any suggestions? Hes a wee bit scared (has a deep voice) Any suggestions? I believe the play they are doing is the popular one about a spelling bee. ANY advice would be appreciated!Figtreeapps

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I loved this post Claudia. It is unfortunate that during difficult economic times the arts get cut from budgets, so I'm sure that is why your plays are not finding a home right now. Hang in there!

I find cooking comforting, and a creative outlet. Plus I love to eat and it satisfies that end :-)

Rachelle said...

Oh I am so on the same wavelength as you this week. Sometimes just the anticipation of the final product is delicious

figtree said...

Claudia, Thanks so much for you suggestions. We really appreciate it. Now back to food. Figtreeapps

Bradley said...

I gained 5 pounds reading this. Added to the 10 I put on during Julie and Julia (loved it!), I think it's time for me to hit the gym...or Williams and Sonoma.

Katherine Aucoin said...

I am so glad you're back.

I couldn't agree with you more about cooking being therapy. It's a way for me to shake off the day and relax and lose myself in all the sounds and smells being produced. I thought maybe I was just too wierd feeling that way.

5 Star Foodie said...

I always love reading your posts, and I'm sure your plays are wonderful. I do love the whole process of cooking, the aromas and the anticipation - definitely!

burpandslurp said...

Beautifully written, Claudia! You said what is exactly in my mind. I ccan't imagine not writing...it is SO therapeutic to me, and cooking makes me live IN the moment, and quiets everything else for me, too!
And OF COURSE you must write, write, write because you have SUCH a perfected skill with words!

Lynda said...

I love your writing, Claudia; you have such feeling and this phase will not last. You have too much passion and talent for it to last long.
The pasta looks delicious!Fast food isn't even food compared to this dish!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Very insightful into why we do things. When I first started to cook years ago, chopping onions seemed to help me get rid of the tensions that had built up during the day. Writing - well that's harder I think. I admire your courage and keep going. Everyone loves your writing.
Sam

Ruth said...

Hi Claudia, there is an award waiting for you on my blog :)

Barbara said...

Be in the moment, as you know, Claudia, and all things will pass. Beautiful imagery — and that pasta! Some things are for certain in life, such as cooking a beautiful meal. Very inspiring!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Claudia, Your time will come don't let anyone or anything bring you down, be persistant like Julia.
You have a gift.

Did you really see Bobby De Niro? How cool!

Sophie said...

I really enjoy your writing!!

I feel the samùe way about cooking too!! It is also therapy for me!