Sometimes I tell Tee authoritatively, “I have to do some writing tonight.” And she nods and agrees and asks what she can do to make sure I am able to write. Which is incredibly kind and sweet, given that there’s absolutely nothing keeping me from writing, ever, other than my own mental blocks.
It’s been an interesting and stressful fortnight. I’ve been in an emotional tailspin since Labor Day, and only began to feel like myself again yesterday. So that was two solid weeks of spinning before regaining my balance.
There were a couple of unintended consequences of this tailspin. I cooked dinner three nights in a row, for one thing.
That may seem like not a big deal. But it is for me. For years, I’ve avoided cooking. If I had not married Tee, I would still eat sourdough pretzels dipped in hummus or dried-apple-and-peanut-butter pita sandwiches for dinner every night.
But Tee enjoys cooking and eating a ‘hot’ meal. I’ve never understood that – people who want a ‘hot’ meal. All the best foods are cold. Ice cream. Cold pizza. Olives. Hummus. Hummus has always been my staple. It turns a snack into a substantial vegetarian dinner.
But, a lot of normal people enjoy hot meals, and Tee enjoys cooking hot, healthy meals, and Teddy and I like eating the food she cooks.
The problem is that some nights, it makes more sense for me to prepare dinner. Tee is crazy-busy on the farm this time of year, and I get home somewhere around 4/4:30 most days. So I could cook.
But I don’t wanna.
Except – I want to wanna cook. I hear people talk about how relaxing it is. They don’t follow recipes – they just throw things in a pan – it’s spontaneous and easy and fun.
But not for me. I end up hot, sweaty, and frustrated.
I recently mentioned during unofficial Wild Peace Book Club that I was interested in finding a book that would inspire me to cook. NOT A COOKBOOK. I read cookbooks and I get overwhelmed and frustrated, because what exactly does it MEAN to saute a vegetable?
But I have had the experience of reading an exciting memoir and feeling motivated to act because of it. Tee read this book Born To Run by Christopher McDougall and then she was all about running barefoot for months. I wanted to read the Born To Run of normal everyday cooking.
My friend The Naturalist recommended An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler, which was one of the best book recommendations ever – and I say that before I’ve even finished reading the book. The writing is gorgeous, and it did exactly what I wanted it to do – it inspired me to actually cook.
Hence my three nights in a row record of actually cooking dinner for my family. Eggplant parmigiana, vegetable lasagna, and mushroom quesadillas. FTW.
The second unintended consequence of my two-week-long emotional tailspin was that I didn’t write at all for days and days. Not a single word. Was this a result of my tailspin, or was it part of the cause? I need writing; writing is my exhale, as Glennon Doyle writes.
I finally began to emerge at the end of last week, and started frantically writing in my journal, trying to sort through everything going on in my head. That part wasn’t pretty.
But I’ve spent the last three evenings, after tucking Teddy into bed, typing away and figuring out what’s going on with me via the blank page. I’ve also been debating which project to tackle for NaNoWriMo this year. I have an idea for a multi-narrator novel, and an idea for a book about my life and losing my dad, told either as fiction or creative nonfiction. Sometimes I think I won’t be able to write about anything else, ever, until I’m able to write honestly and creatively about losing my dad and Jack. Which might be the motivation I need to get over my “is it self-obsessive and egotistical to write a memoir” insecurity.
It feels good to be writing again. Kind of like coming home to myself. FTW.