It is a Wednesday afternoon, the kids are asleep, and I am preparing the squash for dinner. We have guests coming over for dinner – 8 adults in total. This is not a situation I find myself in very often, I am certainly outside of my comfort zone. But I have promised to do those things I think I cannot do.
I begin making supper, and I enjoy the process. The sight of the squash turning golden as it roasts in the oven, its juices caramelizing into a rich brown on the baking sheet. The delicious scent of onion and garlic sauteeing in the pan. The feeling of the soft white baguette being slowly cut into thick slices.
As the pasta comes to completion and I scoop it onto plates, ready to serve to my guests, I think how similar this experience is to writing – or creating anything for that matter. You start with nothing – whether it be an empty counter or a blank page – and you turn it into something. It begins with just a spark, a faint whisper of an idea, a craving. And then you listen to your intution. For dinner, I could have just as easily decided on a roast chicken, a tenderloin, or a lasagne. But something in me wanted to recreate this particular pasta that had warmed my tastebuds one night as a guest at someone else’s table. Because I obeyed this instinct I was able to be fully present in the act of making. It connected with me because it came from a true place within me. If I had made a dish solely to win approval, the process of creating may not have been as satisfying for me.
The reality of cooking for others, just as with sharing your art, is that you will not please everyone. Some people will not like the flavour, the texture, the ingredients, or some combination of these things. Other people will be indifferent to what you have made. Perhaps they weren’t hungry to begin with or their mind is consumed with something else. And others, sometimes they may be few, will taste, devour by spoonfuls, and be moved.
All of these responses are valid. We are humans with free choice and differing opinions. Yet none of these responses should determine whether or not I continue to create. Nor should they determine what I create. Certainly there is a place for considering one’s audience and “giving the people what they want”. But, for right now, I am not in that place. I will follow my intuition and create what it tells me to create.
Then, I will invite people to my table to taste what I have made. For I am doing those things I think I cannot do.