Mark Twain is often credited with saying that all ideas are “second hand.” I think that the author of Ecclesiastes may have beat him to the punch on this point, likely plagiarizing it from someone else even earlier, but why nitpick? What actually matters is what we choose to do with this knowledge. In my case, I choose to make scones.
“What? Has she gone mad?,” you might think to yourself. “What do scones have to do with anything? How can one little pastry possibly fight against the ever-present and nagging pressure of the literary establishment?” You’d be wise to ask these questions, but the reality is that my scones won’t address any of these issues. What they do accomplish is that, for one brief moment, they allow me to narrow my worldview down to one tiny, butter-filled, cinnamon-kissed pastry.
Suddenly, the fact that I’m almost 30 and just launching my writing career, and the fact that, according to some of the literary greats, there’s really nothing new for me to contribute anyway – suddenly these things seem much less important. Scones, it seems to me, are the perfect mental escape route.
I intend to write for the rest of my life. It’s my true calling, ever since I wrote my first poem a long time ago, inspired by a winery poster at a restaurant. (Incidentally, the poem was an instant hit, going something like: “Sutter Home, butter home. There’s no place like butter.”) So long as I do write, however, I’ll make sure to stock a decent supply of flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and raisins as back-up.
If, at the end of my life, people say, “She always wanted to be a great writer,” but if, at that exact moment, someone chimes in and says, “But she sure did make a damn good scone,” then I believe my mission here on earth will have been reasonably discharged. I don’t sweat the small stuff. I bake it.
Current Reading: Fish Whistle by Daniel Pinkwater. I discovered this hilarious collection of short stories from a tweet by Neil Gaiman (even better, it was free as an e-book). I’m halfway through and simply in awe of Pinkwater’s ability to pack so much story and hilarity into 500-word or less stories.