Why Is A Ramen Like A Writing Desk? [And Other Miscellany.]

by thanklemons

It’s a lazy Sunday, and that means I’m splitting my time between ’90s sitcom reruns and whipping up a week’s worth of dinners and snacks in the kitchen. I was also struggling to think of something to write about, because I’ve been feeling uninspired for so long, and I’m lost. Stirring orzo and eggplant together is a casserole dish this afternoon, it hit me that I’ve been reluctant to write for the same reason I shy away from bringing food to pot lucks or baked goods to work. The same reason I invent excuses for never hosting parties and, even though everyone I know has long been privy to my obsession with pie, only a small handful have ever tasted a pastry I’ve made myself.

The short story is this: I feel about my cooking the way I feel about my writing. I like it well enough, but I don’t want anyone else to know about it. So there, I said it. I’m an insecure writer, much in the same way that I am an insecure cook. I’ve been doing both for ages and I like to experiment, but the thought of sharing either my paragraphs or my Parmigiana makes me cringe.

Maybe it’s just the insecurity that all creators feel (but magnified, because I am a self-consciousness superwoman). Anything you bring to life feels uncannily like a piece of yourself laid bare. It’s something akin to parenthood, I suppose, that inherent responsibility we feel to the things we create. So in some ways, maybe it’s natural, but I can’t get over the feeling that I am “doing it wrong”. Baking cookies and writing letters from the editor and semi-anonymous blog posts shouldn’t be nearly this stressful! Especially because, you know, I actually know how to bake and I’ve been cooking for myself for over 5 years and I speak English fluently as a first language…. so that kind of eliminates the good reasons one might have for crippling insecurity. But once again, I find my timidity knows no logical bounds.

Even casual writing about writing – this post – I will hesitate to advertise. I edit and re-edit and read and reread and agonize and re-agonize, and even though I know things aren’t quite perfect, I convince myself to share. Maybe it’s a fruitless exercise, but it feels like a step forward every time I hit that blue “Publish” button on WordPress, every time I let someone sample a lemon square or a spoonful of paneer tikka.

PS: if you’re curious about that baked orzo – try it. you’ll like it.