The Endless Immensity of the Sea

The (endless, immense) stormy sea before Hurricane Sandy hit.

This is day eight of NaBloPoMo, and for the first time, I felt myself revving up into a petulant temper tantrum about blogging.

Please don’t take this personally. I love blogging. I love writing. I love food. I love writing about food. I love writing about writing, too. It’s a long, loving cycle.

And yet. Sometimes, I just plain don’t want to do it.

In her excellent book, An Everlasting Meal, Tamar Adler writes a chapter that seemed to sing out to me as someone who, every now and again, hates her passions. She writes about hating to cook even though she loves it.

There are times when I can’t bear to think about cooking. Food is what I love, and how I communicate love, and how I calm myself. But sometimes, without my knowing why, it is drained of all of that. Then cooking becomes just another one of hunger’s jagged edges. 

So it was that tonight, at around 7:00, I found myself curled up in a tight ball of Dana, my stomach attacking me after too much pizza and brownie and not enough water and fruit and veggies. We were in the thick of some serious TV watching. And I thought, oh crap, I still have to blog.

Tamar Adler has a few suggestions for returning to that loving feeling for food and for cooking. She says, “Let yourself love what you love, and see if it doesn’t lead you back to what you ate when you loved it.” Good advice. I find it helps to remember the good, glowing, happy parts of my passion, rather than focusing on the deadlines, the blocks against creativity, the pressure and insecurity. It helps to remember things like, finishing a book so good I want to flip back to page one and start again; the good feeling that comes with crying hard for a fictional character; the moment of elation (it never fades) when I open an email, expecting a rejection notice, and find instead that an editor wants to publish my work; reading comments from you, my readers, who cheer me on and share in my blogging community and remind me there are kindred spirits out there.

Those moments take me back to the good parts of blogging. The remembering helps motivate my actions.

The title for this blog post comes from the epigraph to the chapter from Tamar Adler’s excellent book, and that’s what I want to leave you with tonight. I need to curl back up into a ball soon since my stomach is still attacking me. But first, I want to leave you with that epigraph, a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, writer of Le Petit Prince. This quote seems to belong to teachers, writers, parents, artists, revolutionaries, activists, and even just a blogger with a belly ache. May we all taste that desire for the endless immensity of the sea; may it propel us to build a boat.

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood, and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. 

8 thoughts on “The Endless Immensity of the Sea

  1. I’m enjoying this daily posting thing more than I thought, but I won’t keep doing it after this month for this exact reason. I don’t want my hobby to become a chore.

  2. For someone who was unmotivated – this turned out to be a wonderful and thoughtful post. I think anytime something we enjoy as a creative outlet becomes a “have to” it’s difficult. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a day or two also!


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