Cooking–the art of mixing together random ingredients to come up with something delicious. I glanced around my kitchen today and noticed my two hot pads hanging on the wall (I crocheted the yellow one) and realized it has been a while since I actually cooked. I’ve just been going for the fast fix, scrambling some eggs or opening a can or box of something to eat. I have not been following recipes lately, putting ingredients together to simmer so that the flavors come out and blend into an aroma heady to the senses.
And I know why–it is all about balance, or the lack thereof. When I was writing furiously on my second book, I cooked less and less. I would take a break from writing, gulp down pretty much anything at hand, then rush back to the computer to write some more until I was exhausted. I was like someone searching for the next high, and the high came when I was in ‘the zone’ writing. Since I finished that book, I’ve been looking for the next idea, not settling to anything, having trouble taking any kind of break. I lost my balance in the last book and I need to find it again.
I need to take the time to really cook. To pick the herbs, to chop crunchy veggies, to slice meat, to stir or whisk, to simmer or boil. When cooking is done in a leisurely fashion, it opens up the mind to fresh new ideas. It is relaxing yet still creative, in a wholly different way from writing. I think my goal with this next book is to find and keep my balance. Take the time for a walk every day. Let myself sleep before I fall over exhausted. Talk to friends in a relaxed rather than manic manner. Carve out the space and time for meals that are actually cooked. Enjoy the process of cooking as well as eating. Let my brain take some breaks even if I have to make it do so. Then go back to the writing. Stir. Repeat. Until well done.