Thursday, March 10, 2011
Writerly Life Lessons From A Mad Professor Chef
Any Top Chef fans out there? My husband and I only watch 2 shows on TV....Project Runway and Top Chef. Both of these shows are appealing to me because of the creativity factor. It's amazing to watch fashion designers take burlap sacks and create gorgeous and innovative clothes. Likewise, it's totally inspirational to see master chefs produce wonderful meals using.... stuff from vending machines, kiddie-friendly fare, and fish they catch themselves. I love seeing creativity in action.
Which brings me to the finale of Top Chef, and my light-bulb epiphany last night. There are 5 contestants left in this Top Chef season, and one of them is Richard Blais. (Let's call him Richie, shall we?) Anyway, he is the mad professor of the bunch. He loves liquid nitrogen, he loves thinking outside of the box. He's part chemist, part chef, part scowling, self-doubting faux-mohawk dude.
Last night he made the fatal error that may break him. He stopped focusing on the food, and focused only on the win. The competition. He wants to redeem himself and his past failure. He wants to out-think his colleagues. It's all about "the game." And that, my friends, may be the kiss of death for Richie. Because it has to be about the food.
I've been struggling with my WIP, Lumberjack In Love. (Yes, it's about a lumberjack in love. I'm not great with titles.) It was feeling flat and I didn't know why. Instead of brainstorming about the story and the characters, I've been thinking about where to publish it. Self-pub? E-book? Try for a larger pub? Print? I haven't been letting my brain do its typical stream of consciousness thing. Where scenes and dialogue and romantic moments pop into my head. I've been too consumed with the endpoint, the game, the competition, the win, and not focusing on the creative aspect of writing.
As soon as I decided to forget about the game, I figured out how to fix the story. (Suffice it to say, it has something to do with a humorous POV and an English bulldog. But I digress). Anyhow, I owe it all to Richie. Maybe I'll dedicate Lumberjack in Love to him. He made me realize it has to be about the writing, not the win.
Because the writing is the win.