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May 29, 2012 / lynnettedobberpuhl

What’s Cooking?

Writing is like cooking. It looks so easy and fun when somebody else is doing it, but is a total freaking mess and full of traps when I go at it on my own. Reading a book primes my literary pump the same way watching a cooking show gets me thinking “chef’s hat,” inspiring all kinds of confidence and energy because I see the beautifully produced final product, not the labor, the re-writes or the re-takes (when the plot twist or souffle implodes.) By the time I start bleeding, because knives and other sharp  utensils really aren’t my thing, or by the time I am painfully knotted in a narrative thread, it is too late to completely turn back. Sure, I could toss the mess in the garbage, clean off the countertops and call for pizza. I could close without saving and pull out a new book to read. But the ghost of the unfinished dish or story will haunt me, prodding me to try again. “Come back!!” it will wail in a ghostly voice, and, my friends, I need no more voices in my head telling me to do anything. It is noisy and crowded in there as it is. When I see it through to the end, even if I don’t particularly care for the result (and my assorted Philistines have nothing favorable to say,) I can still feel some satisfaction, or at least humorous resignation toward the experience. Maybe it wasn’t a success, but it was progress.

Writing, cooking, academic performance, or even living: it is harder than it looks. Obstacles arise. Natural ability only takes you so far and the rest is work and perseverance. Sigh. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a mess in my kitchen I need to attend to.

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9 Comments

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  1. lizsturm / May 29 2012 10:06 am

    Just adopt my motto: Done is the new perfect. 🙂

    • Rich Crete / May 29 2012 10:34 am

      How about done-ish?

    • lynnettedobberpuhl / May 29 2012 8:01 pm

      That is so perfect I can’t stand it! I think I will have that embroidered on my apron. When it comes to writing…well, I don’t think I am there yet, but maybe if I focused on done as a goal instead of perfect, I’d move a little faster!

  2. kvalleryy / May 29 2012 10:42 am

    All that going on in the kitchen and I can see the sunshine calling you out to play: “Let’s go ride the bike!” And by now you are at work! Such a busy life! I love Liz’s comment–if you can make it work–at least part of the time.

  3. crubin / May 29 2012 11:45 am

    Nothing worthwhile is easy, is it? As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. Hard work and perseverence are what’s needed, so we better love what we’re doing, I guess. Otherwise we risk not giving it our all.

    • lynnettedobberpuhl / May 29 2012 9:02 pm

      Some days the only thing worse than writing is…not writing. I guess “the hardest job you’ll ever love,” is different for different people. So far, writing is definitely mine!

  4. kerbear / May 30 2012 3:39 pm

    OK dear sister – if that is a mess in your house then you’d better come over to mine. The stacks are way too neatly placed.

    And Philistines, eh? Good term. Fits nicely with my head friends (and some of my real aquaintences) also. I think I might borrow the term if you don’t mind. (apologies for spelling errors – no spell check on mobile and the bathroom stall does’t have a dictionary.)

    • lynnettedobberpuhl / May 30 2012 4:50 pm

      The mess wasn’t the actual stacks so much as what was IN the stacks, or worse, what wasn’t in the stacks, like coherent plot. I am awesome about carefully organizing and rearranging paper when I don’t know what else to do. You may use “Philistines” with my blessing!

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