2004-09-28

Dinner for Friends is the New Yoga / Writing Practice

Since getting married, I have ramped up the domestic duties a zillion-fold. Daily laundry is actually daily at this point, sheet-changes actually weekly, and I do make weekly menus and grocery lists and SHOP ACCORDINGLY. This may seem a form of complete subordination of every feminist bone in body, but (and this is hardly an original thought, I'm just repeating it b/c I think it bears repetition):

Household drudgery really seems to be freeing up my writing mind and making me a better (if better=more sociable) person.

For instance, preparing three-course meals every night, I'm getting very zen about chopping and sauteeing and table-setting. Shitty day at the office? Go make raspberry fools for four! Seriously. I am a decent cook. Those who don't know better think I'm even good. But never before have I been an almost-every-night-of-the-week feast-preparer. I used to think I didn't have the time (I mean, I'm spending three to four hours a night cooking, dining, and then cleaning up afterwards, and we're eating so well regularly that I'm even suggesting we have friends in more often than not). But post-nuptials, Making Dinner just seemed to be Something Wives Do (my mother did), so I starting Doing It, and damn if I'm not actually SLEEPING AT NIGHT. Gone are evenings spent freaking out over the crap I produced at the office ... a few hours peeling and slicing and sauteeing, and not only have I let go of the frustration, I may even have WORKED THROUGH IT.

And even more interesting:

I'm even a decent conversation partner if I've cooked. Pre-cooking: Pre-occupied and snappish. Post-cooking: Kinda laid back, or at least, closer to that than this neurotic Jewish ex-NYer writer tends to be the rest of the time. Not only did we have a friend in for dinner last night (a Monday night!) but we had another friend in for coffee afterwards! Amazing.

Plus afterwards I SLEPT (almost) THROUGH THE NIGHT without having nightmares about the plot difficulties of my mss. Really. Even with my 6 am wake-ups, I am refreshed and ready to go.

So go cook, really. Sure, the repetitive motions of folding laundry can be relaxing, but cooking may be the magic pills writers trying to balance work with life have been searching for: it's creative, it produces yummy and often colorful meals, and by feeding people you actually get to connect to them DESPITE YOUR WRITERLY ANGSTY SELF.

No kidding. Go cook.

Next stop: Finding Time For Yoga.

I think there may be a cookbook in all this ...

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