Food for Thought

This week, the planets aligned in my creative galaxy: acceptance letters from two publications; a literary agent seeking quirky cookbooks; a food memoir writing course; a blogger who wants to feature my mother’s cooking newsletter on her site.

As I ran in pre-dawn dusk this morning, drenched in sweat and the deluge of inspiration, I decided to reopen a writing project I’d shelved two years ago in a fit of rage at a disease that knows no shame.

I’d envisioned the book as a tribute to my mother’s many talents. We’d write it together, I thought, the perfect project to regain the sense of purpose Alzheimer’s was slowly stripping away. I’d interlace essays from the monthly newsletter she’d written and designed for thirty years with posts from my blog; use artwork and recipes from her cookbook Cook & Tell, published nearly two decades ago.

But reminders of the skills she’d lost and attempts to reclaim the identity of the woman she no longer remembered proved too painful for either of us to endure. I surrendered the project and Alzheimer’s won that round. Almost.

When the Universe nudges, I’ve learned to listen. And when inspiration sparks creativity, I’m propelled into action.

Home Improvement

Home. More than a place, it’s the state of living in blissful gratitude—a luxury after decades as a road warrior, where home was an airport, hotel room, rental car.

And even as life later pulled me along its bungee cord of obligation, caring for my mother in the island house of my childhood never felt like home.

Now, having moved her near me, I’ve found my home. I have a routine. I’ve said this before, but it’s been a lie. This time I’m different.

I write at dawn. Run the dogs. Take mom shopping. Spend time with my husband. Volunteer. Hike with friends. On evening strolls, I breathe in muted cheers of a softball game in the park, the thick mesquite of a neighbor’s firepit.

The rhythm of routine seeps into my soul. My soundtrack: the breath of home.

Upta Camp

It’s the first summer in years we won’t be at camp, and I have to wonder: Is it really summer without camp?

In Maine, we say we’re going “upta camp”—what flatlanders would call a lake house, cabin or cottage.

Enjoyed by family for four generations, camp is my rock. The place where I embrace the extended step-family who grounded me so many years ago, offering a semi-normal life with a brother, grandparents, aunts, nieces, another mother.

Camp is sunrise on the deck with my brother; tubing behind the jetski; chocolate donuts and Orange Crush; kayaking at sunset. Camp is where I snuck out as a teen to meet the boys. And it’s where I unwittingly began writing morning pages two years ago.

At camp, we undock our worries and let them drift away.

Camp is a state of mind.