But cooking, unlike writing, makes me curiously happy. I don't hate writing. I'm working on a short story today and there were moments of real pleasure. But every story is a shot at a once in a lifetime moment. Is this story great? Have I really reached? Is there that moment when the page is smarter than I am? It's hard and worrisome. Cooking is immediate gratification. Bob will come home and say happily, "Salmon!" Last time I made salmon, he liked it. I'll use the same marinade today, he'll like it. And next time I make salmon, it will work again.
The thing about writing is that it's a composing art, not a performing art. The performers are the readers. Unlike music, where the vast majority of the people who like music don't make it, most people who like fiction must take the raw score and perform it in their head. Used to be that people sat around in parlors and read to each other. We don't do that. Which is why books on tape are so wonderful because they bring back that pleasure of having writing performed for us.
There are all sorts of performance aspects of fiction that are rarely done anymore but thanks to things like books on tape or the internet, they're coming back.
One of the things that has nearly disappeared in the written word (but not in drama for example where it is a staple of television) is the serial. Years ago a writer took a book she couldn't sell and put it online a chapter at a time and I was rivited. Each week for something like half a year, I went to read the latest installment. Only near the end of the book did I discover that what was carrying me was as much the anticipation as the actual quality of the book. It was a book that turned out to be rather predictable and probably really not particularly publishable. In a different, but still serial performative way, Greg Van Eekhout asked for readers of his blog to give him words and each day he writes a short piece using the day's word. I know the word for tomorrow (pennywhistle) but I have no idea what Greg will do with it. Only that it won't be what I expect. I go every day in to see what he's done.
This blog started out as a kind of serial, although not fictional. It had a plot--would I or wouldn't I get better. (I would like to think that most of the suspense has been blown, although nothing is certain. And there's always the subplot about whether or not I'll leave a prescription in a library book again.) We're wired to like serials, I think and I hope they come back. I'm thinking someone, somewhere should do a podcast serial but I'm not up to doing it right now.
So I'm just a normal kind of girl tonight. Cooking dinner. Watching C.S.I. in a vicodin haze.