Friday, June 01, 2012

Worrying About Creativity

Today I used some of my work time to bake something to bring to a writers' gathering I'm attending tomorrow. As I got started, I wondered if other people would be baking or would they be bringing bakery items and how I should package my stuff so it didn't look as if it came out of a kitchen that a health inspector had never been near. I also spared a few seconds to get all angstie about whether I should  be using work time to bake something when there are other options. But, then, I had to consider why I bake.

A family member has a friend who thinks it's really neat that I bake from scratch. That's flattering, though baking ain't brain surgery--and I do the kind of scratch baking that involves combining the basic elements myself, not using mixes. I mention that because a number of years ago a survey is supposed to have been done that indicated a large percentage of those polled would, indeed, bake "from scratch" if they had the ingredients available. Then the surveyors found out that by "ingredients available" a large chunk of their group meant "a prepackaged mix." They didn't know what scratch baking is.

I will spare you the health benefits of scratch baking both because this isn't a cooking blog and there really aren't a lot. I will also admit that there have been times when I've been working with deadlines when I brought Oreos and those creepy grocery store bakery cookies into my house. Otherwise, though, I've been baking weekly for years. Years and Years.

Why? Because baking is a creative act, and I am afraid that if I give up one creative act, I will give up others. How, I wondered when I first started publishing regularly, can a person be creative in only one thing? If you are a creative person, shouldn't it express itself in many things you do, if not all? I was afraid that if I became less creative in one aspect of my life, I would become less creative in others. If I no longer needed to create raspberry bar cookies, I was afraid I would no longer need to write fiction. If I stopped experimenting with using dark chocolate in just about every chocolate baked item I've ever made, I was afraid I'd stop experimenting with using different types of characters and settings in every kind of fiction I'd ever tried writing. I was afraid that if I didn't bake, something bad would happen.

And so I do bake. And bake and bake and bake.

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