New Year’s Resolution
As writers, we find inspiration in the strangest places. Mine came in the form of a reality show called The Great British Baking Show (PBS).
The summer of 2018 proved to be a cornucopia of disasters, one after another spilling over into my life. A certain utility company destroyed my back yard to lay their fiber optic cable in April. My toilet exploded in May. Coverage was denied. I refinanced in June, and dealt with predatory contractors through July. Meanwhile, I lived out of boxes. I gained new respect for any and all disaster victims—one such victim whose house burned to the ground assured me a loss of four rooms to sewage was literally a drop in the bucket. A kidney stone in August surely meant the worst was over. Wrong. When the unnamed utility company busted my sewer pipe, they also nicked the electrical cable. I lost half my electrical power in September. Icing on the cake took the form of two back-to-back rejections from literary agents for a manuscript I’d submitted.
I was too traumatized to write. My mind and body had morphed into survival mode. Even doubling my meds to keep my nose above the sewer line didn’t help. Then, on PBS, I found something called The Great British Baking Show. One of the contestants nearly blew up a microwave, and I laughed for the first time in months. Another failed to cool her mousse completely. I watched as it sloughed off the cake plate, slid onto the counter in a huge puddle, and farted. I guffawed. The clincher came during bread week when a woman took her Chelsea buns out of the oven and proudly slid them off the baking sheet onto the counter, only to watch, horrified, as they continued their journey across the polished butcher block, then over the edge and onto the floor!
By now, I’m sure you’re asking (1) is there a point to this, (2) will I ever make my point, and (3) how could I possibly find a modicum of hope in a baking show when I’ve never been even a halfway decent cook?
The first thing I took away from The Great British Baking Show was the attitude of these people who live to bake. It’s what they do, what they love to do, what they were born to do. And every time they failed in some way, they resolved to crack on. To keep going, no matter what.
The second serving of reality came from the words they used. I’m not talking about their British take on how to pronounce oregano or banana. I noticed that every single one of them took ownership of their craft. When I follow a recipe and read the directions out loud to myself, it goes something like this: add the yeast, let the dough rise, fold in the strawberries, and line the pans. But when they related the same information, it was: I’m going to add MY yeast, let MY dough rise, fold in MY strawberries, and line MY pans. Boom. It hit me. They owned it.
So look out, 2019, I am resolved to crack on and write, no matter what disasters befall me! And I will own my craft and take pride in my product.
Even with my buns on the floor.
Thanks for walking through the corridor with me.