I've wanted to write a novel since the fourth grade, or maybe even the third. I'd painstakingly type out the handwritten drafts on our family's computer (very hi-tech at the time), print them out, and illustrate them. I'd coerce my teachers into giving me the "big" sheets of construction paper so I could make covers for books, and I'd proudly offer them to anyone who could read to read.
Now I pretty much just want a reason to fantasize about going on a book tour wearing the plethora of new Anthropology dresses I could all the sudden bankroll. Because, you know, first-time authors get huge signing bonuses and sent all over the world to read. Ha.
This really isn't the only reason I'd like to write, of course. I enjoy it and have some stories tumbling around my overtired, distracted brain that I'd love to coherently pull out and assemble. It's hard to carve the time out, though, since I feel like if I have anything less than a quiet half hour straight it's not worth it. And when I do have the time, there are a million other things that often take precedence. So despite having this idea that I truly am really excited about, and feel needs to be written while still relevant, I've just been sitting on it. There have been twelve pages written and waiting, open on my laptop for weeks. I'm a neglectful writer, to say the least.
But today I felt compelled to write, and I was finally able to put my finger on why. Sawyer was down for his morning nap and I was successfully ignoring a kitchen that needed to be cleaned, reading Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones & Butter. In fact, I've been on a restaurant/chef kick for awhile. I've listened to two of Anthony Bourdain's audiobooks, as well as Molly Wizenberg's Delancey and right now Bill Buford's Heat. Earlier this year I read Sous Chef by Michael Gibney, I just finished Marcus Samuelsson's Yes, Chef, and have two or three other titles sitting on my table.
The first attraction I have to these books is that I'm fascinated by the restaurant industry and, naively, think that I'd make a good owner, given my penchant for efficiency, task-mastering, budgeting prowess, and ability to manage people (I realistically know that such an endeavor is statistically destined to fail, so I won't be taking a second mortgage out on my house or anything). I also love food and cooking, so that's an obvious appeal to. I was lucky enough in college to work at a place from right before it opened through the first few months of business, so I was able to see the highs and lows that happen when opening a new business. It was awesome (probably because it wasn't my money or reputation on the line).
But today, while in the middle of Hamilton's book I felt like writing, for once. So I did. I reread the twelve pages I had, did some light editing, and then busted out a few more pages. And I'm ready and eager to return.
So why, in the middle of reading a book about a woman with a tough life who decides to transform a shit hole into an eatery did I feel inspired? Because she, like most of the other's I've read about, started with nothing and persevered until they got what they wanted. They didn't let naysayers or time constraints or needing to make money deter them. They refused to give up, despite failing countless times. They weren't hellbent on certain timelines and were always willing to grow and learn within their field. They have sharp edges and grit- it's not at all sappy or corny.
Will I create the equivalent to their famous, successful restaurants? Chances are no. Maybe more like the mom-and-pop deli tucked in a street that hardly anyone walks by. But you never know, and you won't until you get off your ass and at least attempt something.