Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Secret Life of a Baker, Runner, Writer

There are days I wake up literally craving baking. Not the pastries themselves, but rather it’s the process of stirring chocolate into cream and blending sugar and butter that I crave. I might glide a knife piled high with butter cream frosting across the tops of cupcakes or press my flower-shaped cookie cutters into sugar cookie dough.  I have stashes of pastry tube tips and high-quality dark chocolate. The night before Mother’s Day, I baked classic chocolate macarons and I watched really bad TV that I would never admit to watching, like Mob Wives (darn… I guess my secret’s out).

I set my alarm early for runs. I travel everywhere with sneakers and a baseball cap. I’ve become dedicated to physical therapy exercises and ice packs, so that I can run. The reasons why I run are countless and they change. But whatever these reasons are, they’re compelling enough that what I do never feels like a sacrifice. It’s just what I do. And I can’t imagine not doing it. There are weeks, months even, when I run maybe only once a week and there are months of training, with carefully planned speed workouts… and then there’s everything in between. I love the “in between”… when I lace up my sneakers to explore.

I write sentences in my mind everywhere. In the shower; during downward dog in yoga class; on the treadmill. I jot down little notes on the backs of envelopes, on receipts, on napkins. And then, later, I sit down and try to piece my phrases together into something logical or, at a minimum, at least grammatical.  I write for five minute or for hours. I just opened a new Moleskine sketchbook, gently cracking the leather spine and taking a marker to the first page, and I wonder what these pages will be filled with: lists, crummy sketches with mistakes that I’ll scribble out, directions and subway schedules, and clusters of words that I’ll separate with hyphens because I’m trying to capture a moment and can’t be bothered with commas and periods. 

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