I’d finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in.
~ Cheryl Strayed
At some point, one of my dreams morphed into fear.
The child who had penned an earnest letter to a publisher overseas, who had felt a secret glow of pride at having her essays published in her school’s book of “model essays” – found herself trembling at the laptop, sitting by the bin … shredding journals by hand.
Once upon a time I saved up my words and felt sure I was destined to be an author. Praise felt like confirmation of what I already knew. Later on I still wrote, but I also loved the relief of discarding records of my truest thoughts. Not caring felt bad, but easier than caring.
Every so often, as I tried to make sense of things I could not articulate, I would try to inspire myself to ‘work on something creative’. Something light … not too close to the hurting parts of my heart.
I thought I would write a cookbook. Easy – it would be about something I enjoyed, but not something that required too much of ‘me’. After all, whenever someone asked me if I had thought of writing a cookbook, the idea would excite me. Whenever I wrote down things to work on, ‘cookbook’ made the list.
I would get excited, write earnestly for a while, filing photos by category to accompany my words. Then difficult emotions would resurface, and inertia. I would write, edit, and sigh in exasperation at my useless, overworked sentences.
Ego … pride … sigh.
I marvelled at the ways of the heart. So pure, yet deceitful, too.
I discovered the crippling power of anxiety, discontent and looking back at the past.
One afternoon, last week or the week before? – I lay down the weight on my shoulders.
I clicked my way to Zno (who, by the way, print fabulous photo books and deliver promptly). I found a folder on my computer in which I had stuffed various full-size photos from my blogging adventures / more recent cooking experiments.
I clicked and dragged. Within an afternoon, I had pages of complete layouts. Just images – no words. I showed two friends the online sample.
Thankfully, Cathy suggested that I could “sprinkle a few words or comments across the pages like chocolate drops on a trifle”. :-)
So I did. I let go of the desire to impress. I just had fun. I clicked “Save” and ordered five copies.
They arrived on Monday morning this week.
They are by no means complex or impressive works of art, or the most wonderful food book ever published.
But when I flip through the pages, I remember many good moments. And my body feels as light as meringue.
That’s good enough for me.
[UPDATE: you can order one, and receive a bonus with it – click here to find out more!]