I went away on my first writer’s retreat today. It was fabulous, it was peaceful, it was introspective, I had time and space to think, to process my thoughts, to get them down on paper, to breathe, to centre, to be.
It was great, I loved every minute of it and I am looking forward expectantly to the next one. But I can’t live in that space. I can’t live in the space of inward examination and introspection. I get to a point where the silence, the focus on self and the analysis are detrimental to me. Where there is no longer anything productive in the process rather it becomes more destructive.
That is why I need cooking. Again a creative process, but this one is noisy. The sizzle of the onions and garlic in the pan, the clunk as the knife goes through the ripe melon. It can be a solitary experience in the kitchen, but the sound of cooking keeps me company.
Cooking also has a focus on others. If you cook, and you love to cook, you cook for people. You cook for their enjoyment, yes to nourish, but also to stimulate the senses and to delight. You shop with care for the ingredients, you carefully plan the menu and you prepare and serve the dishes with love.
So maybe I am a cook who loves to write? Or a writer who loves to cook? Who knows? All I know is I need both.