Today has been a bit of a lazy day. I slept like the dead, probably because of the painkillers I took last night. I didn’t do much writing yesterday and have done even less today. It’s not going to happen today, I don’t think. I have a friend coming round for dinner (yes, another friend – even I am shocked) so we will be eating/chatting, etc, etc.
It occurred to me earlier, as I was getting stuff out for lunch, that cooking is a creative pursuit, even if it doesn’t get words down on paper. I had a bit of a challenge yesterday. I had prepared a chicken and chorizo casserole and that was bubbling away happily in the oven. Then I realised that the casserole was sitting on the only shelf, so how the hell was I going to get the cheese biscuits in?
Eventually I got a rack and put it on top of the casserole dish and put the tray with the cheese biscuits on top of that. This probably would have worked if the top of the casserole dish wasn’t a knob one inch in diameter and therefore not the most stable thing to balance a baking tray on. Inevitably, the tray fell off. I muttered dark words which coiled the air like miniature evil tornadoes and retrieved the tray. Luckily the biscuits had stayed on it. I repositioned the biscuits and the tray.
The second time it fell off the curses appeared like anti-light, so that the room seemed a little dimmer each time one fell from my lips. I retrieved the tray, noticed that most of the biscuits were on the floor of the oven and uttered more evil promises to the gods of oven shelves.
The third time it fell off there were about ten biscuits left on the tray. I got the tray out, got the casserole out, got the shelf out. Put the casserole back in on the floor of the oven, put the shelf in above it and put the tray on that. The biscuits came out something on the golden side, but perfectly crispy and tasty.
The next batch went in and came out without a hassle.
Now, the thought that occurred to me in conjunction with all this while I was going about the business of setting up today’s lunch was that this could be seen as a metaphor for the writing process. As I thought it through I came hurrying to my laptop to write it down, which is why my stomach hates me and is growling like one of my curses.
The thing is, if I had planned out the whole casserole vs. cheese biscuit operation, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time retrieving biscuits, trays, racks and so on from where they had fallen in a very hot oven. If I had planned it out, I would have put the casserole on the floor of the oven in the first place. If I had thought it through the first time the rack fell off, I would have got the casserole out then and make the switch.
But I didn’t. I kept on with a flawed, i.e. half-arsed, plan which simply didn’t work. Basically it was no plan at all. While I got some perfectly good biscuits at the end of it, they weren’t quite as good as they could have been and required a good deal more effort than the second batch. And I got burnt. Literally. Which always hurts. The batch that I planned came out more or less perfect.
Lesson in there for the writers among us, I think. And possibly for life in general. Now I have to go and have lunch. I’m starving.