Daring to Live (part 1-Become a Gourmet Chef)


I sometimes wonder if Emily Dickinson had the right idea.  Lock yourself away from the world in your house and write.  One can write about spiders without overthinking it.  What Miss Dickinson taught us is that intuitive, highly sensitive, intelligent women suffer from anxiety.  It’s built in.  I have been overthinking everything since I was six years old.  It’s annoying.  I worry about the cause and effect and intricate details of absolutely everything.  Particularly when it comes to food.  Which is sad, because I love food.


How I would love to spend the next year doing exactly as I pleased without all the fuss.  I adore cooking.  I am good at it.  I love fresh ingredients, the smell of soil from a farm after the rain, the vibrant colors of vegetables and fruits, the aromas wafting from the kitchen, tables of people enjoying great food that is nourishing and sensual, the sound of laughter as friends clink glasses, and the very essence of life being enjoyed.  I have three entire cupboards filled with only herbs, spices and infused oils.  Not to mention an entire pantry, root cellar, and garden filled with delicious, life giving ingredients.  I have never missed a movie about food.  How I would love to spend a year cooking exactly as I pleased.

marg chicken

I don’t worry about food changing my appearance, that is not the problem.  I worry that if I eat how I would love to cook and eat, would I become sick and fat like so many?  Would too many animals suffer so that I could eat?  What about the rainforests, would that be affected?  Would my husband get sick?  Is all the information I have gathered over twenty-five years of really stressing over food correct?

I was fine being a vegetarian for twenty-seven years of my life.  That was before I learned how hypocritical it was, seeings how the dairy and eggs came straight from the meat industry.  Veganism has never been my friend though. I wish I could just eat solely plants and be satisfied.  I really do.  I do not want to cause suffering to any creature (or plant)and I am envious of those who can go through life without overthinking every damned thing.


I have two very different sides of me that fight to be.  As my housekeeper said last week, “Don’t take offense to this but you remind me of Little House on the Prairie.”  None taken.  I do not know how donning an apron, canning corn, growing medicinal herbs, being an intuitive herbalist, and homebody has anything to do with the other side of me who loves high heels and pencil skirts, pink lipstick, and the great world of food and wine and world travel and wonderful local farms, and writing.  But, it must somehow, I suppose.

Life is short, I have said it probably a hundred times in my years writing, and we all want to do the right thing.  What is the right thing?  But for the next month, I am going to explore (whoa nelly!) things I am interested in (but you can’t make a living at it or make money from it, why learn it?…See what I mean?  Always overthinking…) and I am not going to overthink it!  (My goodness, that does cost a lot…)


August is the month I am going to enroll in cooking classes and more wine classes.  They are going to cook meat.  That is okay.  I like meat.  I will not overthink where it came from.  I will not turn suddenly introverted and shy.  I will make new friends, enjoy new cooking styles.  I will not make excuses why I can’t go.  I will wear high heels if I dang well please (I’ll just have to duck in my own house.) and live how I want without thinking of every cause and effect.  In reason, of course.  At least for a month.

I am going to finish my novel.  I am going to purchase pink lipstick.  I am going to learn to pressure cook a chicken.  Discover a new wine.  Plan a weekend vacation.

Dear Miss. Dickinson, I love your poetry.  I just don’t want to live like you.  I do like spiders though.

A spider sewed at night
Without a light
Upon an arc of white.
If ruff it was of dame
Or shroud of gnome,
Himself, himself inform.
Of immortality
His strategy
Was physiognomy.

-Emily Dickinson 1896

(What will you dare to do?)


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