Monday, October 24, 2005

I didn't learn to cook until my 20's. Once I did, I fell in love. Remember how it felt when you got your driver's license? Suddenly the world was wide open. You were no longer subject to the whims of bus schedules or subway stations, or your parents. You could go anywhere, anytime.

Learning to cook is like that. One day you're looking forward to Easter, hoping your mother will bake lasagna; and the next day, suddenly, you realize you can prepare it yourself in just a few hours. The supermarket goes from being a chore to a world of possibilities. It's like discovering freedom.

Bob Weiner turned me on to a book titled The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. She suggests that one way of dealing with writer's block is to redirect your attention into a completely unrelated -- but still creative -- activity. Cooking is a great example. You set aside whatever you were working on and spend an hour doing something constructive; and when you're finished, you've exercised the right neurons without banging your head against the wall. What's more, you gain the confidence of having created something you can see and touch.

Sitting in front of that blank piece of paper will always be like learning to cook or learning to drive. You're faced with almost unlimited possibility, but the decision rests solely in your hands. It's simultaneously seductive and frightening. Will I bake a cake or boil tea? Drive around the block or flee to Atlantic City? Write a poem or a novel?

To quote a comic book: "With great power comes great responsibility."


Post a Comment

<< Home