The rules of engagement with my body of (lost) work for the next year, as outlined over brunch in Jamaica Plain with a dear friend, are thus:
1. work to be exchanged every 2 weeks, or once a month per participant.comments in on the alternate weeks.
2. occasional writing texts to be read and discussed.
3. our pieces of long work to be referred to as projects, rather than that nasty n word or any other such word.
4. an attempt made to join the larger writing community in our respective city, whether it be going to readings frequently, finding a writing buddy or joining a book club. we find outselves each in fabulous writing cities.
5. a letter to ourselves to be written and exchanged containing all of the fears and self criticisms we fall back on when we do not write. such letter containing all our worst barbs shall be read aloud by the other on the occasion of failing to turn in work on one's assigned date.
Last night I wrote my letter while chilling with Morgan at Ritual. I went through all of the usual criticisms, such as:
When was thelast time you spent more than 15 minutes working on a story? And that made you feel accomplished? Fucking pathetic. You spend more time than that making veloute.
And then halfway through something kept tugging at my mind. This lil cook part of me was urgently staying my pen arm. I realized that I needed to give myself permission to want to be a better cook also. Because when you cook and write it is a constant battle. They draw in the same resources and inspiratiomn, demand the same dedication and eye for detail, and craft and love, and my cook told me that she needed to be in this letter, too. Thus:
It's ok that you want to be a better cook. It's ok that you love your job. But you are not going to give up everything that you have wanted all your life and everything you think you are to be a cook. You don't have to make that a choice. You just need to stop wasting your time. You need to get to work. And it's not always fun.
So work, and then work.