Bigfoot and Bread, Part 1

So I have this voice inside my head, and he's really annoying me.  After the recent food writer's retreat I attended with Cook & Scribble, I've taken to calling him Bigfoot. Despite the name, it is not the kind of voice to be concerned about. Not yet anyway. 

Because you probably have this voice too. It's one we all have... some of us just give him odd hairy names. But you'd recognize him anywhere - that assaultive one who stands in the background of your work, letting you know how terrible, boring and ridiculous that work is. Day after day, it gnaws at your creative self and can stop you in our tracks, having convinced you that failure is inevitable. It's beyond annoying really - Bigfoot is potentially paralyzing. 

photos courtesy of Jen Reyneri
In said food writing retreat, Molly O'neill and Shauna Ahern (two literary powerhouses I would trust any word with) wisely encouraged us to separate Bigfoot's voice from the creative self. The creative is flexible, curious, bold and expressive, and to flourish must be encouraged in spite of Bigfoot. In Natalie Goldberg’s instructive book, Writing Down the Bones, she advises not only separation of the two, but also suggests writing down what exactly Bigfoot whispers in the creative's sensitive ear. Perhaps getting to know him and his voice enables us to better ignore him. “Sit down whenever you need to and write what the editor is saying; give it full voice," Goldberg says.

So I’ve started doing just that - Writing down what that annoying voice in my brain is yelling. The first and most intense time I did so was on an airplane a couple weeks ago. I must have looked like a seriously mad woman as I scrawled, furiously letting it all come streaming out on the page.

What came onto the page was fascinating enough that I thought it worthy of sharing - it started with petty criticisms regarding my avoidance of the task of writing, simple, mundane stuff. But Bigfoot quickly grew louder with ridiculous crap about how I’m surely going to die an early death - childless, bookless, broke and alone. Apparently with the inability to bake bread. (The actual words of the hairy beast I'll post on Wednesday).

With great relief I saw that Bigfoot was actually quite humorous, laughable, and devoid of some its power. After that flight and first writing, I walked through DFW airport, Terminal A, as if a big hairy weight had been lifted. My creator had free reign for the moment, and every passing person seemed to deserve a poem.

So this series of posts deviates from the traditional.
Part 2 - That entry from the plane where Bigfoot assaults my baking ability.
Part 3 - The baking of bread! Something I'd not done at home in Santa Fe... where the altitude changes the game of yeast and flour.

It is not about being Mennonite. It is about being human. And the creative process, the things that stop us from moving forward – in writing, cooking, teaching, or accounting. Perhaps it’ll give you your own realization of the poems every person deserves.

Bread rising in Santa Fe during... not mine. Mine to come.

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