The other day I looked up and saw a single strand of a spider’s web, an arc drooping under the weight of the steam that was still in the air from my shower.
Without thinking I reached up and flicked it loose from the tiles. Light was coming in through the window so it was illuminated as it descended, artful as steam coming off a skillet.
The descent of spider’s silk is nothing like steam curling up from a mess of sautéing shrimp, of course. Steam breaks into the air in unchoreographed swirls. That spider’s web, despite its lazy fall, was gnashing at the atmosphere, resisting gravity. Every molecule putting out a set of heels and digging in to try and stop, stop, stop.
Creating a blog, learning to write, figuring out the relationship between light and the camera lens, these are creative endeavors, and ones that can feel like a tortured descent, like a fight with the air, no matter how graceful the journey might look.
Or, when an idea takes off or a concept clicks, creativity can feel like the space above a pot at a rolling boil. A water-and-air pinball machine.
This blog is a heart-and-soul project. And things of the heart and soul are often products of the night, attended to at odd hours and only when the whim doesn’t conflict with wider responsibilities.
It was exhilarating to have three days to pay undivided attention to this shingle at the International Food Blogger’s Conference last weekend. To go to a writing workshop in the morning. To take notes at sessions on the technical side of blogging and the nuts-and-bolts of writing a book proposal. To bat around ideas with other bloggers over breakfast, and sometimes over wine.
It felt good, in short, to tend to something I care about.
When you tend to something, you hold it between your hands. It’s not falling, gracefully or not. It’s not leaping away, on a kamikaze mission toward the fan in the kitchen hood. It’s intentional and measured out, the way you (you and Chie, not I) might test a recipe. Over and over again, until it’s just so.
It’s how you might learn to take photos of beautiful food in a conference room. You listen to Andrew Scrivani talk about it, studying his photos on the big screen at the front of the room. Then you watch a cooking demonstration and listen to suggestions on camera angle, backdrop, capturing motion. You take careful notes on equipment and watch as he sets up a light source, a backdrop, a scene. Then, even though your lens may not be a fancy one and you know you’ll only end up with some snapshots, you try your hand at it anyway.