I love this picture because I wasn’t posing. My son Stuart took it when I was watching my new husband speak about Schrodinger’s Cat at a presentation for his new book The Quantum League. Matt and I had only been married about a month. (Apparently, I hold my hands in weird ways and touch my face when I’m not aware of it.)
Once upon a time, I wanted to write novels. It was a mired path coming to that decision—with long distance chats with my mom and sister about finding our passions, hours of watching Oprah, and follow-up calls with my mom and sister about what we had just watched on Oprah. Once I finally settled on writing fiction as what I wanted to do, I put everything I had into it. At first, I trod carefully, like peering from behind the doorway into a crowded room. So I started by trying to find other people who also wanted to write, and as luck would have it (or Providence), I met a nice girl at church. Her name was Julie, and she confessed in one of our first conversations that she had actually been published once, and that she really wanted to be an author. We became fast friends and started working toward our dreams. We went to conferences, joined writing groups, entered contests, bought laptops, flew to England to research our stories, started submitting—well, she did. I was still too scared, and still too ADD to get anything done.
Then, one day, when my word count for my book was a decent size but my writing was still very crappy, I was visiting Julie in Salt Lake City. She mentioned how these girls in Utah were making money doing blogs. My husband and I were going through a rough spot financially at the time, and I thought, Hey wait. I could make money doing a blog. How hard could it be? (Ah, the innocence.)
Though I didn’t want to lose sight of my goals in fiction writing, the idea of supporting my family from home was too big a parsnip dangling out there to let it go, so I took it. And of course I didn’t want to do it just for the money. Doing anything just for the money only cheapens the medium. Besides, I didn’t want to be that girl.
Instead, I focused on things I was passionate about—things I would have written about for free. While logging all those hours of Oprah, I had realized one of my passions is food. I love to create beautiful food, I love beautiful food photography, I love entertaining. I had this idea back then that I wanted to write and photograph a cookbook about how to entertain your own family without giving all the good stuff to the neighbors. So I decided to write about things that would get me ready to reach that goal.
So the rest of the story went like this: I started my blog, got divorced, blogged, and blogged, and blogged, wrote that cookbook, blogged some more, got remarried, and . . . you haven’t really seen me since.
During all of that blogging, I never gave up on wanting to write fiction. I love my blog, I am proud of all the time I have put into it, and I am sometimes blown away by how I kept at it, even during such great struggle.
But now that I am married, and married to a children’s author (who happens to be an excellent cook and as passionate about food as I am), my life has started to settle into a place where I am not motivated by quite the same pressures as before, and I am free to examine who I really am, and what I really want. That’s not to say that I haven’t been trying to figure that out my whole life anyway, but now, at least some of the panic is gone.
And I’ve been looking for a balance. It turns out, I still love food, but I don’t necessarily want it to be all that I write about, and I certainly don’t want it to be the only thing that defines me.
Several months ago, I decided to take a month off from blogging, just to see how I felt. As it turned out, I didn’t miss it as much I thought. That month turned into several months, and though I am proud of everything I have done on my blog in the past, I don’t often feel a deep yearning to break out the mixing bowl and my camera again. The mixing bowl alone, yes. With the camera, not as much. I think what I’m saying is, I don’t want blogging to be my whole career, but rather, a small part of it. Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t ever post a recipe again. I’m sure I will, actually. And I would love to write another cookbook.
But for now, I am dusting off my dream of writing fiction.
And I’ll keep you posted.