Before I say anything about bread I want to say something about the image posted here. This is my version of a selfie. I take photos of my shadows and mess with them.
This one particularly pleases me. It’s called Self-portrait with yucca crown. It would make a great album cover if I ever recorded an album (don’t hold your breath on that one — the world is not ready for my ukulele playing). I have put it on the back cover of my limited edition chapbooks, though, and it looks pretty cool there I think.
So about that bread
I like making bread. It’s not hard using the recipe I’ve shared with you and I like not buying bread from the store. But I also like that making bread is such a great metaphor for the writing process.
Making bread and writing? Well, yes — my writing process at least.
Bread dough is amazing stuff. There are only three ingredients needed: flour, yeast, and water. And writing is an amazing process, too, if you’re crazy enough to be serious about it. There are only three “ingredients” to writing: writer, ideas, and writing implements.
Oh wait, there’s a fourth and fifth ingredient for each: time and peace.
Bread dough ingredients get mixed together and then the yeast needs to be left alone. No poking at it. No jiggling it around. No interruptions and no hurrying it along. I’m convinced bread rises better and ends up tasting better when the rising is done in an emotionally peaceful environment, too, but that’s a subject for another blog post.
So yeah, it does seem to me that making bread is just like writing. A writer needs the time to write and the peace to write — at least this writer does. I can’t happily write if I feel the psychological equivalent of poking, jiggling, interruption, or hurrying. I am in awe of those writers who can create novels by stealing a few minutes here and there from their busy lives, but I need time and peace. Blocks of time and the peace of no interactions with the outside world.
That’s why I’ve designated the month of April as a writing month (I already take November for participating in NaNoWriMo). This is my time and peace month, when I’ve myself permission to just say no to everybody. No I can’t go anywhere, no I can’t take the time to __(whatever)__. For a hermit like me it’s a relief to be antisocial anyway, but to be creative I have to get aggressive about guarding my time and peace.
It truly is more than just luxury to be able to settle into the world I’m writing about and just hang out there. Time and peace allow the yeast of my imagination to give form, breadth (oooh, see what I did there), and depth to my ideas. Immersion in the world I’m building protects the dough of creativity that’s rising in me from the poking finger of collapse.
Well, enough of metaphor. I better get to work. But first — I think a slice of last night’s baked bread is in order.