Witchcraft, Writing, and Cooking with Ann Gimpel

I was in the beauty shop the other day and my hairdresser carted out lots of little plastic bowls for the various colors we streak my hair with. She chatted about mixing a little of this and a little of that and said she cooks the same way. Then she grinned and said she was probably a witch in a former life.

I can sure relate to that one!  Not so much mixing hair color, but cooking. I rarely use recipes. Just sort of toss things in until it tastes right. It’s probably not accidental that Ceridwen and her cauldron show up in some of my books. Not that she was a witch, but she was the Celtic goddess Shakespeare probably used as his prototype for the witches in Macbeth hovering over their cauldron. 

Back to cooking. Many years back, I baked a lot of bread and made pastries and pies. I still do, just not as much. Bread dough and pie crust are two items that are different every time you make them. I look for a certain consistency and manipulate the flour/water balance until I have what I need. In many ways, writing isn’t all that different.

I start with characters (my ingredients). They have to be fresh, the best I can obtain, just like when I cook. Then I mix them together in unique ways, add heat and tension—not too much, just enough—and voila! A novel emerges in much the same way I pulled bread or a soufflĂ© from the oven. Thank goodness I can alter my books until they feel “right” to me. If I blew the timing on that soufflĂ©, or overcooked the bread, there wasn’t much I could do to remedy the situation.

Creativity, whether in the kitchen, at the keyboard, or studying a grimoire for a handy spell, taps into right brain fluidity. That’s the side of the brain that does math and listens to/appreciates music. It’s also the side that allows writers to enter their fictional worlds and make their characters come alive. 

The linear, left brain function is what allows writers to edit and cooks to assimilate a recipe before they begin tinkering with it.

How about you? Where does your creativity lie? Is there something you yearn to do, but haven’t?

~Ann Gimpel is a USA Today Bestselling Author and lifelong aficionado of the unusual, Ann began writing speculative fiction a few years back. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines, magazines, and anthologies. Her longer paranormal romance and urban fantasy books are available in e-format, print, and audio. In 2014, after two dozen books with publishers, she made the leap into self-publishing. She’s loving the freedom and it’s possible she’ll never look back. Learn more at https://www.anngimpel.com/

No comments:

Post a Comment