Desires, complaints, and whimsies: A personal essay

<alt img="Trail through the Crops"/>

It’s been a year and a half since I’ve written here, and before that, nearly a year. When I think about why, several reasons come to mind, but the most significant is one most worthy; I wrote a novel.  This November represents the four-year mark of the beginning of the project and much has changed in that time. I’ve changed.

I’ve learned that unlike writing a personal essay, writing fiction takes a toll on some aspects of life more than others.  Cooking has become more of an interruption than an interest (not a good thing if you have a food-focused blog), evidence of consistent housework is sorely lacking (some things never change), and sadly, reading novels for pleasure has decreased substantially (but the key thing is that I do read). The desire to travel seems to be the only thing that has increased. Evidently, getting out of my head when writing fiction requires more than a long walk down the hill.

<img alt="Walking through the Rapeseed"/.

Since my last post in February of 2015, we’ve traveled to Austria, Switzerland, Germany, taken a road trip up the California coast to Santa Barbara and Big Sur, visited an old friend in January to enjoy the snow in western New York, and most recently, spent a week in London before venturing to Southwest England to hike more than 80 miles through Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset. Certainly, I could write about the “how to” of those experiences, but that would cast a shadow over what made my travels personal.

<img alt="A Path through the Wheat"/>

So where does all of this lead? Perhaps it’s the reason I’m here now, writing. The time I’ve spent away has provided much needed space and as most things in life I feel the need to escape (excellent fodder for kellementology, my other website), the time has been productive. I’ve learned that as much as I can write fiction and feel good about my effort, I miss the more personal writing an essay offers. Like a good, long walk, it clears my mind and once finished, I have a sense of moving on from whatever I felt the need to write about. I’m ready to take on everything else. In my everyday life, that could be anything from tackling the clutter in our house to organizing my digital photos. With respect to this website, writing about food, my travels, and life related to each in ways I haven’t experimented with may be of interest.  Whatever it is, it will be personal in nature.

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Phillip Lopate, editor of The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present, explains it best: 

“The hallmark of the personal essay is its intimacy. The writer seems to be speaking directly into your ear, confiding everything from gossip to wisdom. Through sharing thoughts, memories, desires, complaints, and whimsies, the personal essayist sets up a relationship with the reader, a dialogue–a friendship, if you will, based on identification, understanding, testiness, and companionship.”

If anything describes how I feel about sass & veracity at this point, nearly ten years after I first wrote here, Lopate’s words do so perfectly. Sometimes, it takes me a while to find the right way.

<alt img="Follow the Trail"/>

I hope you’ll join me when you can–if only to celebrate a few moments in an otherwise busy day where the direction we’re going will be decided upon a whim. Perhaps there will be recipes. Perhaps not. We’ll see.

There will be photos.

I promise.

<alt img="Path through Wildflowers"/>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Desires, complaints, and whimsies: A personal essay

  1. oh wow! HI! Your post is a gift of wonder this rainy morning. Happy to hear from you, anytime.

    I tire of cooking too. (There is also the planning, shopping, cleaning.) But then I get hungry and want something to eat, something good. Very good actually, and nourishing and fresh, so I keep the kitchen going. Baking is special, it’s extra. A quick project for my hands and mind. A time to stop and enjoy, a smile maker–just like your post.

    1. Deb, thank you so much! What a lovely surprise to see you here after I’ve been so neglectful. It’s amazing how quickly time passes, isn’t it? Glad to know someone else understands the quandary I’ve been in about food. I think my attitude has slowly begun to revert and have to give that credit for considering writing here again. I also try to make sure our food is nourishing and fresh — my husband can attest to that! I guess laziness on my part about recording it is the true culprit. I’ve been baking again, so do have a few things lined up. Wish me luck sharing them!

  2. Yay – Kelly writing returns! You always take me on a lovely adventure – in words and photos! Whether you’re in the kitchen, the garden, the countryside, or your own mind, I love that you share!

    1. What a great thing to see you here, Gina! w00t! Yes, writing returns. Thankfully. My head is so very full right now. I’m glad what I share makes an impact, and a good one at that. I’m at my Mac again, ready for the next post. Thanks for your buoyant energy and support, always.

  3. I’ve missed your “voice”–glad to hear it here again.

    Looking forward to your next adventure, whether writing, cooking, traveling, or other…

    1. Terri, thank you so much. I think I’ve missed this voice as well. I’m hoping the time away has effectively stoked the embers. Stay tuned…

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