Today I wanted to talk about something near and dear to me: food.
The past few years for me, it hasn't been super fun, because I was gluten intolerant. Spoiler: it went away a few months ago. Great for my sanity, not so much for my waistline. Sometimes, these things happen, which is awesome, but don't ask me to explain the whys behind it all. I'm not a doctor. But let me say one thing: trying to eat out when one has dietary restrictions can be very frustrating. Even more frustrating was the question I was asked, almost without fail:
"Can't you just have a salad?"
Within weeks I was ready to bite the head off of anyone who dared suggest such a thing. Maintaining my calm, my nostrils would flare, my expression would flatten and I would growl, in a voice two octaves lower than usual,
(Forget that I sacrificed five years of my teens and very early twenties to a certain fast food chain and was even in charge of *making* the salads on some mornings, so I know how much is just bland iceberg lettuce with some flavourful toppings and a pack of salty-sugary-fatty dressing for extra disguise. So I wasn't exactly a cheerleader for the things. But I digress.)
After awhile, people stopped asking. And I went on my merry way, trying to figure out creative adaptations of fast food and restaurant menus without resorting to gluten, which at the time was giving me trouble.
But one thing I did start to like was spinach. That was healthy and I could take it in my lunch without dressing. And then after that, in 2012, I was in Vegas as a bridesmaid for my best friend's wedding, and we went out for dinner and the menu's pickings were slim, but they did have this really nice ... you guessed it ... salad. Except that it was "chicken, mandarins, walnuts and raspberries on a bed of spinach". No lettuce to speak of. And that got me to thinking, wait a minute. I could totally try it if there was spinach involved. Spinach, at least, was reasonably healthy.
So I tried it. And it was delicious.
And when I got home, I started re-thinking what the word "salad" meant to me. Yes, it was still something I'd only be interested in when the days are warm, but trying out *my* variation, using ingredients that *I* liked, changed everything.
And suddenly I was enjoying salads.
So, what does this have to do with writing?
More than you'd think. Because one thing I've learned about myself is that the things I resist the hardest are the things I should give some consideration. Especially when it applies to critical feedback and my work.
I've told the story before about how when I wrote the novel I'm currently shopping around, I used first person present tense, and thought that because that's how the novel first came to me that I should keep it that way. It's a great example. So many people tried to tell me to change the tense to past, but I was so stuck on the idea that this was how my main character had spoken to me, had told the story, that I refused to listen to reason.
Luckily I have an awesome CP who found a way to get through to me and make me re-think this resistance that was really holding me back. As a result, I was able to discover my voice and make the story, IMHO, sing.
Have you ever had such an experience? Where you keep saying "no" to an idea or change, or perhaps a manuscript revision, only to realize that, "Wow, that's so much better!"? It's happened to me more than once. (I'll save the story about why I had to cut the man-eating lizards chapter for another day.) Each time, I resist. But each time, after some grumbling, I notice an improvement.
Even if it's just in my lunch.
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So, how are you faring with your goals, Mad Wipsters?
Newcomers: Don't know about March Madness for Writers? I know it's fairly late in the game, but if this is the first you've heard of this crazyfun approach to achieving goals, it's still not too late to get a full week's worth of work in! Just sign up here. We've got a great community that hangs out at #WIPmadness year-round, and we always have room for more. Check us out!
And of course, don't forget to check out Shari's blog tomorrow!
p.s. The recipe, as such:
- Baby spinach base
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar
- frozen raspberries
- frozen strawberries
- mandarin wedges (from a Dole jar)
- Dressing: 2 tbsp FINI Modena Basalmic Reduction, mixed well with the juice of the thawed/jarred fruit on top