Yesterday, I attempted something that I rarely do. I used a recipe. Two of them actually. I even used measuring cups, spoons and a scale. And I barely cheated at all.
You see yesterday was the first anniversary of the death of Cookie Monster’s wife (yes, for all you people doing the math out there…He and I met less than six months after her death). I volunteered to do a dinner party in her honor for Him and a couple of their friends. One of the things I wanted to do for Him was to cook some of her old favorites. And that meant pulling out the 3-ring binder with the tattered and yellowed pages, some with her writing on them.
Now you have to understand something about me and cooking…I don’t use recipes. And even if I do…I change them. One of my early successes with Cookie and this group of their friends was His birthday party right after we moved up here with him. I made an elaborate menu with four starters, a main and Mississippi Mud cake for dessert.
One of those starters that everyone LOVED was Swedish meatballs. I had never made them before and had only ever eaten the ones you get in a vac bag from Ikea. So of course I needed a recipe. Well, two actually. I blended them using the instructions for how to make them from one and the spices from another. No one could get enough of them. And I have repeated that success a couple of times since then. It has become a go-to fav.
But this time…it was about doing things the way ‘she’ did…making her recipes her way…so that the food looked and tasted the way He remembered it. And since I had never eaten her cooking, the only way to do that was by following the recipes as closely as I could. (I did have to make a couple of substitutions for things I could not find…but those were minor). As challenging as I found the whole thing, He and the other guests said I got it pretty close to hers.
But that experience got me to thinking about not just my cooking, but my writing and life.
One of the biggest problems I have had as a writer is that I do not neatly fit into any category/genre.
When I began to write on Literotica, I thought 35 categories…this is a cinch. But if I had a dollar for every time I got a nasty comment about a story being in the wrong category, I could buy a plane ticket for certain. Perhaps the whole vacation.
No Tara Neale story is just one thing. It could be romance…BDSM…non-consent…poly/menage. And that is just my Ægir’s trilogy. It gets even more complicated on Amazon and the other ebook distributors. How the heck am I supposed to select just TWO genres?
And tropes? Those formulas for success in the romance/erotica genre…you know boy meets girl…girl likes boy…boy is a$$…then she ‘saves’ him. Forget it!
My writing is too complex and dark to fit neatly into erotica or romance. I have had one beta ‘complain’ that she felt like she had PTSD alongside Mike in the Miracle Tour series (I consider that a helluva compliment actually). And one Amazon reviewer seriously objected to me killing off the beloved mother in Nothing Done in Love. At the same time, my stories contain way too much graphic sex to be considered serious mainstream fiction.
Then again…what do I expect? I have rarely played life by the ‘rules.’ And those few times that I did were some of my most miserable. I mean I am the woman who:
- Has six children…well above that 2.1 average.
- Went back to college at the age of twenty-eight with four children under the age of 10 at the time…and finished magna cum laude.
- Has held jobs as diverse as bank teller, stripper, preacher’s wife, personal trainer, and fundraiser to the stars.
- Has lived in close to 30 places in almost as many years.
- Has been married twice, had a handful of other serious relationships and let’s don’t even talk that other number.
I suppose when it comes right down to it…whether it is recipes or writing or life…this song says it best…
Look…even in this I have to do it my way…choosing the Elvis version rather than the more famous Sinatra one (heck it could be worse…Sid Vicious has one too).
And like my cooking…95% of the time, it tastes great…but wow is that other 5% shit. I guess that is just the price of doing it…My Way.
After all, who is to say that a recipe can’t be improved…a story needs to be told just as it is…and life… Well, every day I wake up next to the ‘perfect’ man, write at the desk of, and do my best to follow the recipes (at least that time) of a woman younger than me, who died well before her time.
That alone makes me appreciate that life is meant to be LIVED. Every moment of every day. Every breath and heartbeat. Every millisecond.