Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The act of creation

 When I was in undergraduate school, one of the things I heard was that you had to have a handy oven to get through grad school because you had to bake bread or you would never finish your thesis. Whaaat?  As much of a fan of folk magic as I am, this one both captured me and mystified me at the same time.  I wanted it to be true, but I didn't know why.

That is because I was not in graduate school.

Undergrad requires a sustained effort at many consecutive (and simultaneous if you don't plan ahead) tasks and projects.  However, each project has an endpoint and you just knock them down like ducks at the state fair.  Graduate school, I was told by my elder peers (all of 3 years elder!) requires sustained effort at what seems like it might be an unending topic with a million or so slight tasks and possibly a thesis.  It takes forever and you never feel like you are making and forward movement.

Dinner was Jarlsberg, pulverized olive tapanade and warm
 whole wheat bread.  Also enjoy the countertop random stuff still life.
On the plus side, I made the lovely blue tiles and laid the countertop myself.
Later, friends who were not sharing my path of starting a family right away after graduation and marriage told me the same thing.  So, while they made bread to feel a sense of accomplishment and closure while writing a long dissertation on... well, not on gardening and painting trim and being pregnant, that's for sure, I began making bread to practice feeling like the trim and baby were moving forward.

You know what?  It really helped!  I can recommend the bread baking closure technique for the long projects of baby creation as well as thesis writing.  I decided to go do that as my babies went to middle and high school.  That took lots of bread, just like the waiting for the kids.  I'm pretty good at making bread now and it has been passed down to my child.

Practice the act of creation, both long term and short.  I've decided to look for a more challenging job (I've been a bit of a chicken about this and stayed in my outgrown comfort zone for too long) and to celebrate the decision I made what I expect will be the first in a long line of bread loaves.

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