See What Happens When You Avoid Writing?

Shredded Envelopes

No, that’s not a pretty picture. Yes, I know that food blogs are supposed to be fairly busting out of their posts with succulent, juicy, fantastic pictures. Hell, that’s not even food. But that is a picture of my mind this afternoon and how antsy, a bit manic, and certainly ADD-ish I’m feeling as I’m trying to avoid writing my book.

Okay, one giant step backwards. Earlier today, I was in the middle of answering comments on my post about being depressed and baking bread. (I’m no longer depressed, but I’m still baking bread.) Then I heard the honk of the mail carrier. She pulls into our driveway whenever she has packages, and that honk is a heads up to get my ass out there and pick up my mail. “Holy go to war,” I say aloud to no one. It’s pouring here today—for the past two days, actually–and the last thing I wanted to do (besides writing) was slosh through the stream that’s carving its way along our driveway. Still, out I ran, barefoot, with my shoulders somewhere up around the top of my ears, as if that would prevent me from getting soaked.  Read more »

Yeast Are Never Depressed

Jim Lahey's Bread

I am depressed.

I can’t choke it down any longer. Like a fat birthday boy demanding the largest chunk of cake by moving his hands farther and farther apart, my depression has eyed me, every day wanting a bigger and bigger piece. This morning it took all of me.

Maybe I’m still sick with the flu, I think when I awake. It’s possible. I’ve been pummeled for more than 12 days with it. That could be the reason. I consider calling my assistant, Annie, and telling her not to come to work. Annie is cheerful. Sometimes relentlessly cheerful. I want to murder relentlessly cheerful people when I’m depressed. But I flutter the idea out of my mind. Isolation is the worst thing, I’ve learned from a lifetime of experience. Then I remember the bread dough that has been rising on my counter for almost 20 hours. I’m happy until I walk to the bathroom and forget I’m happy. Read more »

Embroidery Maker in Madeira

Lace Maker

I’ve been haunted by this picture since I took it a few weeks ago while in Madeira, Portugal. It’s of an embroidery pattern artisan. The boxes behind her extend far beyond what I was able to capture in this photo. We were literally surrounded by them. In each box were countless patterns—most far, far older than me. What makes this image so stirring is that the patterns are made of the thinnest tissue paper imaginable–whispery and ghost-like. I was reminded while standing there of the soft, crepe-thin skin of my grandmother’s hands, the near transparency of them, and how I could see the delicate bones and trace the fretwork of veins beneath. Read more »

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