The Food Analogy

When I started this blog, I intended to discuss my two passions: cooking and writing. After a while I felt like a servant of two masters fighting in a crowded blogosphere of people writing more intently about each on a separate basis. As my own writing life and journey was unique, I felt it more prudent to focus on that alone.

Over the course of time, I realized why I chose to wrote about each and how significant it was. Not because what I cooked was so special or worthy of people downloading my recipes. The thing that tied the two together was the acr of Creation.

Take disparate elements. Mix them in a known or new fashion. Allow it to ferment or bake. Present it to the world at large. Does it matter if we are talking about flour, yeast, water, and salt or scenes, descriptions, dialogue, and narration? The elements used by the writer and the cook are different; the process is entirely similar.

Take any recipe for artisan bread (this one perhaps) and marvel at the few ingredients and the simplicity of the instructions. Now, go do it. Does it come out perfectly? Putting it together slapdash will result in a less than palatable outcome.

Consider a work of genre fiction, any genre you like. Examine the tropes used that have been longstanding in such works. Outline a similar story and follow the guidelines. Now, sit down and write it. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

These processes are easy and difficult at the same time. It takes focus, concentration, and discipline. It also takes a passion and respect for the Process (for cooking) or the Craft (in writing). Sure, on a night when I don’t have a dinner planned, I have enough ingredients in my house to put together a palatable dinner. If I were at a writer’s conference, seminar, or class and was given ten minutes to write the opening paragraph of a futuristic noir piece, I would be able to write something interesting.

But over the long term, focus, concentration, and discipline are mainstays if you want to present to anyone a meal they will savor or a story they won’t forget.

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