*I know this post is a deviation from things food, but it's here none the less. Read it, don't read it. Just needed to get started again.

Perhaps taking on the challenge of NaNoWriMo in the midst of a cataclysmic midterm election was not the best of ideas. I am having a difficult time finding my inner fiction when my thoughts are so overwhelmed with today’s realities. Don’t misunderstand these feelings as a degradation of stories, an unappreciation of novels, a pushing of creativity to the periphery. Quite the contrary. I believe creativity to be absolutely essential to the realities of everyday life. From the most mundane of tasks (How to make a meal out of these leftover scraps?) to the life-changing decisions (Do we leave the city and our jobs behind to start new lives?), the creative thought process is needed to conjure solutions.

I have been sitting here these past few days, and lying awake at night, trying (and I am sure, way too hard) to formulate fantastical ideas in my head. I have been working fictional conversations between dreamed-up characters. Little ideas grow, and then suddenly pop like bubbles and disappear.

It is not so much worry (although I indeed engage in an unhealthy amount of that) than personal and internal calls to action on every front of my life and the lives of all who matter to me that hold my thoughts. It is as if we are being hurtled, ever faster and violently, towards making those big and scary decisions that will have lasting consequences for all of us. Standing on the edge, I have yet to figure out just how exactly to take these first steps. What direction to take? Which path to follow? To what end and for what purpose? And I know I am far from alone in these often frustrating, sometimes annoying, ruminations.

I have always struggled with creative fictional writing. I’ve never really had a problem with reading it. In fact, I used to get in trouble in school for hiding novels behind my textbooks, a fact to which my high school French teacher could readily attest. Subconsciously, I can be as creative as the best; my dreams are the stuff of graphic novels. Translating any of that to a readable work of fiction is another animal (I have tried) entirely.

The writing and reading of fictional works can be many things to many people: catalysts of emotion, sources of entertainment, escapes from the mundane, comforts for pain. I still read fiction for all of these benefits. Writing it, however, seems an insurmountable task at present. Every time I sit down at this laptop, my fingers are overtaken by the desire to write about all that presently concerns me. Trying to write a story right now, to me, is like trying to concentrate on one clean plate amongst a pile of dirty dishes, counters cluttered with scraps and spills, and a grease-spattered stove. I have to clean up the mess to concentrate, to even start, what I want to create.

What do I do with music? How far do I pursue it? When will it stop scaring me? What do I do with food? How far do I pursue it? In what direction do I take it? How do we get where we want to go? How do we reach that end? How do I raise my child? What is really important for her to learn? How do I strengthen my faith? Will we ever get out of Dayton? How do we achieve the level of independence we really want? If we do achieve it, will we really want it? These questions are the big ones for me, for us, and they of course have their own offspring, for nothing is cut and dry and everything is connected.

I will continue to write this month, and will push myself to write every day. I will write about my questions, and when I come up with more questions, I will probably write about those too. I will write about them to find solutions, to see who else has these questions, and to pick the brains of those who have found answers. I have found a little fiction the deeper, narrower spaces, and as time goes by I hope to open up those places into wide creative caverns. In the meantime, I will write what I can and hope for the occasional fictional sprinkling to spice things up.