Cooking School Journal: I Confess

So, I have to confess that I’m totally blocked. I am absolutely stopped in my writing tracks.

People have asked… when is the next installment?

Although, I’ve smiled and said ‘any day’, I’ve secretly been wallowing in self-pity.

And I must admit, it takes a certain type-who doesn’t have to work, has three gorgeous children and lives in a nicely appointed  home, to find a way to wallow in self-pity.

But, I’ve been doing it.

I think it’s genetic.

But, I have enjoyed writing to you.

It’s been my secret affair. I’ve tucked myself away at night and shared my experiences. It’s been such an amazing ride.

But then, My ‘Ode to Arthur’ was forwarded to Dean.

Dean just won a Tony. He’s a writer and he’s been chomping at the bit to read the journal.

“I hear your stuff is great. I want to hear more about NGL.”

When mom read my piece about Arthur (probably something too personal to even be included in this work), she felt it was time for Dean to see it. I manipulatively begged off. I wanted him to see it, but although my current task is to be direct, I coyly suggested to Mom, “Well, if you want to send it to Dean… okay.”

I wanted to give myself the out-“I wish you had never sent it to him!”

When I had last seen Dean in Montecito, I told him that I was reluctant and afraid that my writing was not good enough.

I told him he was a mentor, and that I didn’t want to be embarrassed.

He called immediately after Mom emailed my work to him.

Good sign! But it still took me two days to call back. I was shy and afraid.

When I finally found the gumption, I called him back.  He was at his summer house in The Hamptons.

He loved my piece. He loved the simplicity of the lead, “Arthur is sick.”

After that it just became a horrendous blur of constructive criticism, praise and suggestions.

I endured it all with a smile.

Most of it I expected. He wanted more exposition. He just simply wanted me to expand on everything.

He feels like the format of e-mail cheapens my writing.  I am so comfortable talking with all of you that I take literary short cuts…

“Maybe I should take a class at my community college in journal writing and present it to them.”


“Maybe I should review the entire work and expound, and then think about presenting it.”

You think?

I chimed, “Well, I’m thinking that this would be cute like ‘Bridget’s Jones’ Diary’ or like Anne La Mott’s “Operating Instructions”.

“Oh. Annie is fabulous,” was his reply.


When we finally hung up, I was so bummed.

Finally I have written something that my audience (save a few) were enjoying.  It can’t be real.

Like most of my life, it is almost too good to be true.  I must always prepare myself for the fact that certain doom lurks charmingly only a half a block away.

But I keep on tapping away at this keyboard with kids crying, dogs pawing and phones ringing.  I know that much more than finishing this course, finishing this journal-as crappy as it may be-may be my one chance at feeling like I have finally accomplished something.

And I persevere.