Ah, the sweet smell of creativity. Personal expression … the interpretative dance of the soul! How do I express myself, the real me, the inner child bursting with yellow energy to get out of the blue shackles of an analytical mind? With words and food, of course! 🙂
Last weekend, Andrea and I went to a play by one of our favorite contemporary playwrights, Norm Foster. He usually focuses on the comedic interactions between men and women in their late 30s and early 40s as they deal with life, romance, and their changing expectations of the universe. However, the fun part is he often includes someone who is a writer, or an aspiring writer, or someone who aspires to being an aspiring writer. Like Foster’s characters, I don’t know what to call myself. Sure, I’ve written short-stories, op eds, even a play. But does that make me a writer? I’m not a published one, at least not yet. I will soon finish my HR guide for government competitions, but that is more like my day job than achieving my interest in writing entertaining fiction (ignoring the regular joke by writers in the NCR that they used to work for the government, so they have a lot of experience with fiction!).
The best and shortest definition I have seen of a writer is someone who writes. Pure and simple. Not someone who talks about writing, goes to conferences, reads novels about writing, etc. They write. Usually because they are compelled to do so, and it will gnaw at their soul if they don’t. But if it means a butt in a seat, slaving away, my writing of the last two years is sadly lacking in performance. I’ve done some work on the HR guide, and a few other things here and there (book or movie reviews, for example), but dang little time spent on fiction writing. I have done some work on outlines for some of my fiction ideas, but not much else. It was just too time-intensive. But, now that work is returning to some degree of normalcy for workload, I want to set myself a routine of writing at lunch for an hour or so, at least three times a week. In previous years, I’ve written more, taken online critiquing classes, subscribed to writing magazines to help improve my craft. I’m even a member of Capital Crime Writers. But I need to attend CCW meetings more, and I need to get my butt in a seat writing. Writers write, so I need to write. My goal is to have my HR guide for employees done by April 15th, my HR guide for managers done by June 30th, and a full annotated outline for my first novel by November 30th.
The non-cerebral side of things is all about food. One of my long-term goals is to have a cookbook of favorite recipes that I could share with family or friends, if they were interested. And, my goal is for them to be achievable recipes, not some Cordon Bleu recipe that starts with 3 hours shopping trips to find the perfect ingredient at a store in NYC. Practical recipes that once or twice a month helps us get out of the doldrums of regular meal preparations, and gives us a little extra oomph. Andrea and I took a couple of Asian cooking courses, and we love some of the recipes we got out of it. We also have a couple of others we’ve pulled here and there from friends, or just found in cookbooks (note to self, need to WEED the cookbooks down to a manageable number too, they’re out of control!). My goal for this year is to ensure that we continue to do special recipe nights, at least once or twice a month. It’s harder with us both working, and having to pick up Jacob from daycare, etc. But it’s worth it. And, to be honest, we tend to eat healthier when we choose these recipes as they tend to use fresher ingredients than our day-to-day cooking. A win-win solution, albeit with extra work and planning required. Three areas that interest me the most at present are BBQ recipes (need better marinades than I have currently), perfecting a friend’s ground-nut stew recipe so we can make it in smaller quantities, and making ice cream (we got an ice cream maker a couple of years ago, and haven’t used it yet!).
With these goals, I doubt I’ll be able to move on my other bucket goals much this year (novel, screenplay, novella and cookbook). But at least we’ll eat better! 🙂