I believe that things we don’t understand add up to something clear. I believe that usually takes a long time. And sometimes the clear thing is scary and doesn’t feel real and makes you nervous to even say it out loud. But it’s almost always a dream that you just have to jump into and try. And it’s usually one that is too present not to say it, too exciting not to share with your people who will come alongside you and help you hold it up when your arms get tired. So I’m gonna say it:
I’m writing a book. It’s about cooking and kitchens and meeting God there.
First, I made a pie. Then I made a lot of other pies and watched a lot of the Food Network. I read a lot of the Pioneer Woman’s blog. I went to France and ate strawberries and cheese and bread. I made a lot of meals for one in my tiny kitchen. I wrote a lot, and I went through a time when I was often deeply stressed. I went to the kitchen over and over, doing small purposeful things like carefully selecting avocados for guacamole and felt calm, somehow. I tried recipes and made up my own. I wrote some more, but my words wouldn’t come most of time. And then I decided in late September 2015 to blog every day that October about cooking and kitchens.
And I found that I had so much more to say than 31 days would hold. I found that I woke up in the morning wanting to go to the page to talk about food and what it did in my life. I wanted to bring myself to that place of figuring out how things were changing. And I did, every day, for a quickly-passing October and lots of time spent in front of my computer. When Halloween hit, I wanted to say more. I wasn’t tired. I had just started.
So I met with my friend Annie at my beloved Portland Brew one morning and whispered my dream to her. She listened to me ramble an as-yet-unarticulated-thesis of the book and when I slipped in my title idea without identifying it as a title idea, she said, “Oh, that’d be a great title.” We talked writing conferences and agents and word count and chapter lists. I was buzzing. I couldn’t figure out what to do with the remainder of that morning that would somehow get me closer to a book, so I made a Pinterest board for my blog posts. Of course.
Later I bought Post-Its and made a chapter list and arranged them on my wall. I had enough to say. I started writing. I sent some chapters to some readers who cheered me on. After the process came to a crashing halt for a while (writing takes energy, and I didn’t have much for the past several months), I’m starting again. I’m looking at a long process—one that might not ever come to fruition—but I’m also looking at something I believe in fully. I believe in how cooking can bring us close to God, how it can heal and teach and comfort. It’s true for me, and I want to tell that story.
So I’m telling you, (small group of) readers. I’m going to try this. Writing a book is probably the biggest dream I have. I’m going to try to go get it. And now it’s out there, so you’ll see me figure it all out and maybe fail but mostly tell stories along the way because that’s when I feel truly and fully alive.
As Cheryl Strayed says, “Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.”