Happy is the chef whose labors satisfy and create appetite.
This chef, through an activity that she takes delight in and strives to be creative in, obtains fulfillment when she witnesses her customers with sated faces.
At the end of the meal, she knows that it is not her last challenge. She knows that more hunger will develop, more need will be there to be filled.
Yet, the end of the meal comes—but it is not a sad event.
The end is not lasting, it is not final. The end creates opportunity for reflection, self-evaluation, critique, and to make room for changes, new ideas, and growth for the culinary experimenter.
The end is the medium through which the magic can meld, simmer, and concoct new recipes.
Elephant Journal’s summer Academy finished this month. I saw it as a test kitchen—a place where we could experiment with our ingredients and our own techniques.
My classmates and I gained advice from master chefs (experienced writers and editors) and materials of education galore. We made it through the rigors of study and passed our required work.
I was able to write a few articles that got published during the Academy.
I couldn’t believe that I wrote was something others enjoyed. Hearing positive commentary helped to boost the somewhat small level of confidence I previously had.
I tasted the individual wonderful ingredients and the elixir that developed from mixing them together.
I heard lots of positive feedback, but it was in the small amount of negative feedback that I learned I had the strength to withstand it and to not go and hide. I learned that I could respond with kindness to not-so-kind words. I also learned to stand up for myself. By doing so, I cooked myself a nourishing and tasty helping of soul food—nutrients I had been lacking.
Time, assignments, and new dishes passed, and I, along with my classmates, knew this period would end.
We have passed through the doors out of the test kitchen, and now it is our time to open our own restaurants.
In this new world, this new chapter, we have the challenge upon ourselves to keep writing and concocting for those around us.
I think I can maintain what I have learned in a few ways:
>> I will try to create new word entrées, even small ones, daily.
>> I will try to change my topics and ingredients up, to keep things fresh.
>> I will keep my mind and my eyes open for new ideas and for inspiration to explore other methods of word ingredient combination and flavor.
>> I will try to keep my relationships up with the other writing cuisiniers I have had great fortune to be around to create a group of support and encouragement.
Some of us will write our feasts only for ourselves. Great challenge exists in this in its own way. Some of us will write in meals only for small groups. Others of us may write extravagant spreads for large groups of hungry readers.
All forms of what we do are worthwhile, amazing, and offer the opportunity to end the hunger for our voices.
Despite the longing to go back to the test kitchen, the journey to create opens before us.
We close this part of our lives not to shed ourselves of it, but to add to our cookbook of life experiences that we may use to flavor our futures.