Friday, October 5, 2012

Collected Cookbooks // Collected Seasons


I have decided not to feel guilty about collecting cookbooks over other books. They are my book of preference, and I read them cover to cover, as novels, so while my library grows I accept (and rejoice in) being able to finger more bindings printed with Waters, Slater, and Swanson than Hemingway or Victor Hugo, as much as I enjoy them too.

The two cookbooks I presently desire to crawl into bed and thumb through on a cold winter night with some hot tea or warming whiskey are Rose Bakery and Polpo.

But it’s not winter yet, and I don’t even mean to rush autumn along. But here we are, and it has been almost a year since this one hungry soul breathed a written word.

[I didn’t mean for it to go this way, but I’ve also found life quite full without tending to this space. I’m not getting the sense that it will necessarily ease up soon, but I need to gather up the beauty around me and therefore brim with more hope and praise, and this space helps me do that.]


My confirmed craving of the Rose Bakery cookbook came three nights ago, as I sat at a bar stool at one of my favorite Bellingham spots, Cheese Meat(s) Beer, thumbing through it. I had finished work early and wanted to spend just a bit more time downtown before rushing off to a full, albeit wonderful, evening with family.

Cheese Meat(s) Beer has a long shelf as you enter with a whole treasury of cookbooks, and selecting Rose's bright green cover, a Northwest Pilsner, and a seat that faced out to a grey muggy sky, I was content to linger quietly for just under an hour.

I've been heavily in reflection mode, which works out quite well for revisiting a blog that's sat dormant for almost a year. It is not that the year's been dull or I've been entirely distracted from potential snapshots or kitchen creations. Rather, in certain ways my senses have been heightened in the last twelve months, and that's required putting down my camera -- removing the space of a lens between me and life -- and taking full, deep breaths of the present.

My camera was never entirely tucked away. I reached for it in moments of great significance and those where significance was intangible until seen through a viewfinder, and it needed to be given…like a pie awaiting a single crust over its cinnamon-sprinkled plums and apples, plums gathered from my own fence-lining tree. Or friends gathering around a crowded table. Or scones being mixed by hand in the early morning.




The holidays came and went and were accompanied by the visit of a college roommate from across the Pacific. January swept into February and I was signed up for a French language class at the local community college, trying my best to balance work, study, and the dream of moving to a chateau in Burgundy that had gotten me in the class in the first place. (I realized my attentiveness to French cookbooks is presently much sharper than to flashcards or nuanced pronunciations.)

France as a new home shifted to the outskirts of my vision, however, and I settled into the goodness of this present season. When my twenty-sixth birthday came in April, I marveled that I was celebrating my third consecutive birthday in this city to which I had resisted any sort of extended return.


At the time I could tally up the joys of being right where I was at with ease. I opened my well-guarded heart to a person and to love. Though a girl could torture herself with whether such love was in fact expressed well, I did indeed love in a way I have not before, and in both knowing someone and losing him, I learned a whole lot. I will also readily admit that, though it's already October and our relationship was brief, there is more for me to learn from having looked that man in the eyes for four months.

Right now I'm surprised to find myself still feeling the degree of emotion I do, which is a humbling place for a normally composed and verbally-articulate girl to be. It's also an undeniably ideal place for an artist to find herself, especially at a time when much creativity is being demanded of me…

I had my first individual art show throughout the month of September! The opening reception was a sweet experience, and I hung onto all that physical touch and generous verbal praise as long as it could be stretched.



Lael's Art Reception 014-001

Lael's Art Reception 008-001


I had precious family time through two other weekends in September, one with my father and the other with my brother, his wife, and their fourteen-month-old son. They just boarded a plan to head home after a five-day stay, and I'm still reveling in that reunion (especially kissing my absolutely adorable nephew countless times, and tickling the places under his knees and chin that set off a deep belly laugh, so wonderfully hearty for such a little man).

This week I’m returning to my studio and blank canvases because I have more artwork to create for another salon space, but I have no intention of neglecting the kitchen and the creativity and beauty I discover there. All the more, when I am heavily creating art, turning to my oven or stovetop is a simplified creative distraction and release, which inspires perseverance in a more thorough, less-explored medium.

I will post more of my completed artwork soon, and if you made it through all that, friend, bravo! (Confessions of scanning are allowed and forgiven.) I'm off to The Walrus and The Carpenter for oysters and drinks on Saturday. Be seeing you with some photos after that.


1 comment:

Michelle Stiles said...

splendid to read your words again.