Weekly News Update 08/11/17 – Cooking Therapy Edition


This isn’t the usual reading and news update. First, because I’ve been doing very little reading this week. I’ve started a new novel, one that’s not part of my Fate series. It’s not even one that I’ve had on the back burner for a few months. It’s one that came to me with a boom, begging to be written. Actually, it’s two ideas that I’ve had bumping around in my head for a while, but I could never figure out how to make them work.

Until I realized, while on a walk, that they were two halves of a whole. They weren’t separate stories, but rather a whole story. I just had to see the connection and BANG, it was off to the races. This story is pouring out of me so quickly that it feels like something I’m “supposed” to write. A friend called it a passion project and I think she’s right.

It may never see publication… It’s far too early to judge that, and so far it doesn’t feel “commercial.” And it may be utter crap. But it’s certainly fun and surprising to write like this. It’s been a while since I’ve written with so much joy and freedom.

I’m excited every day to see what comes next. That in itself makes it a worthwhile project.

It’s also turning into a very musical novel. Five days in and the playlist is over thirty songs. Of course, I have a thing for music, so that may be part of the problem. (Don’t tell anyone, but I often write to piano concertos, typing as though I’m playing. I used to play piano. I wasn’t stupendous; merely adequate. But I do enjoy treating writing as similar to composing. It feels good to fly my fingers over the keyboard as though playing music instead of wrenching words out of my head. But I’m weird that way.)

Speaking of music… That brings me to the second reason why this isn’t a conventional news update. Well, there’s isn’t much news except for the new novel. So I thought I’d just share some random brain vomit this week. Maybe some of you will take something from it. More than likely you’ll think I’m nuts.

It’s no big secret that I’ve battled depression most of my adult life. This doesn’t make me special. There are tons of people who know the pain of depression. It’s just a fact of life for me. But… Of late I’ve found something that seems to be helping. Now, I’m no doctor, so you can’t try this and say I told you to do it, or that I’ve promoted it as a cure. Because it’s not a cure. It’s simply a way (for me) of pushing through and getting to a slightly better place.

Now, I’m no cook. Most of my life was dedicated to convenience foods. But a year or so ago, I decided to learn. And I turned out to be pretty decent at it. It’s relaxing, too, giving me a chance to unload my brain while chopping vegetables and work through thorny issues while stuffing a game hen.

And then one day I added music. And singing. That changed everything.

I put my iPod in my pocket and cranked it up. (I prefer hearing damage levels for my music as it’s the only way I’ve found to shut up the demons in my head that contribute to the depression. Yes, I know I’m going to pay for this later in life with hearing loss, but between hearing loss later and peace now, I’ll take peace most of the time.)

Anyway, you have to understand that I’m no songbird. I was in chorus in high school, but I was in the, “Take pity on them because they need credits to graduate,” section. But I like to sing, I just do it when no one is around. So now, every day in the late afternoon, I turn up my iPod, cook dinner and sing while I do it. I make sure to finish before hubby comes home because I really don’t want to damage him for life.

It’s turned into a form of therapy. Sad? Either embrace it and sing some sad songs, or put on the happy and lift myself up. Angry? This is why God invented heavy metal. I also do some spoken word, repeating along with interesting readings of poetry. Of course, I do have to be careful… I’ve learned the hard way that certain kinds of music and large knives just do not mix. But other than that? I feel pretty damn good after I cook dinner.

It’s not a cure, but it does buy me a few hours of feeling good. And it helps me process some of the garbage that’s been going on this year. And I get a good, nutritious meal out of the deal. It’s a win and I’ll take any of those I can get.

One final word:

This has nothing to do with anything, really, but while I’m on the topic of depression, I just thought I’d share this…

If you need a little perspective on life, listen to the late Alan Rickman read the poem, “If Death is Not The End.”  You’ll cry, you’ll laugh, and you’ll come away muttering, “Well, kiss my physics.” But you might, just might, have a littler bit better handle on things. Or not. Poetry moves people in funny ways. But whenever I’m in need of something that makes me feel better about death (if that’s possible), I put this on and listen. That magnificent voice can make even death seem not so bad.

(Photo courtesy of Alexas_Fotos)

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