the trend is upward; the days are longer

Making some notes before some more custard deep diving.

Hello there, greetings from the land of panic-stricken nail-biters. From the island of post-its and stacks of paper everywhere. As of this moment, I have a little over two weeks to finish a manuscript for a book. And let’s just say I’m not where I want to be. Not even close. And instead of working on the book, I’m writing a post here. How’s that for procrastination? In a little while, I’m going to go to the kitchen and make some pie dough. On my marble counter. I don’t think a marble counter is christened until you make some pie dough on it, doesn’t that sound right?

I have slowly, cautiously, redipped my toes into cooking again. That stove/gas-leak/no-stove sitch managed to make me a little skittish. I can’t just up and start making souffles and think it’s smooth sailing from here on out. What if we get another lemon? What if?

Lack of stove and all those details aside, I feel like this move, the kitchen renovations (there’s a final post coming, I swear), this winter – they finally did me in. I’ve corresponded with a few of you, lovely writers, whose work has inspired me, kept me going, made me not lose perspective. But the flurry of that activity, the combination of everything at once – work, two books, kitchen, winter – well, it kind of did me in. And I’ve been trying to dig myself out of this space where my creativity feels like a thing of the past, never to return. I know this to be false, but man, it feels so damn true. I feel like I have so much to say and no words to say it. Everything feels a little grayer to me. A little more faded. Is there a word for this thing? Ennui sounds awfully aristocratic, and I simply don’t have the luxury to wallow.

My camera has felt too heavy for my hands. Too foreign. I picked it up a few times in the last couple of months, and then put it down again. It didn’t feel right. And just this morning, I felt that itch again – and it felt wonderful.

I keep reminding myself of little blessings. Remember, I say, you were able to buy a place. In Brooklyn. Thank god for savings you tucked away years ago, just for that purpose. Focus on that. Your kitchen works. Finally. This is a good thing. Take a breath.

I’ve been reading a lot about life advice. You know the kind of stuff that helps to sort things out. Learning to say no in order to say yes. Or better put: if you say yes to everything, you say no to everything, because no one can ever do everything, so you wind up just doing nothing.

Giving yourself a break. Trusting your gut. Asking for what you want and not being afraid. And something I need to practice in particular: turn off in order to turn on.

I’m looking forward to spring. It’s been nice to have a few days when it doesn’t take me ten minutes of layering just to get out the door. March, I know, is tricky that way. We’ll get some freezing days ahead and some nice ones. But the trend is upward and the days are longer.

And I’m grateful for that.


  • Margarita

    hi olga… i love the honesty in this post. i am on the opposite spectrum of your problems… i have all the time in my hands (unable to find a full time teaching position as of the moment). i sub at schools here and there, teach yoga 3 times a week, and do a lot of my favorite housework (just cooking and laundry… everything else I pray will just clean itself up). most days i feel like i’m accomplishing nothing because i’m not earning anything. i remember a time when i dreamt of not having a job so i can focus on doing what i really love to do and make a living out of it, but i am nowhere near taking a step towards that. such a coward! i wish you the best with your book. if you need help (like recipe testing or whatever else i may be able to do from a hundred miles away), let me know. i would be glad to help. really.

  • P

    Hi, Olga,

    something is in the water or in the air, I see the feelings you described manifesting all around and in me as well. For my own situation (crumbling long-term relationship where we just drifted apart) I went over to see a life coach, and I am learning to apply the same advice and techniques. Joy and drive for life is not something served on a plate for breakfast, one open up and actively search for it .

    I like your food writing, have been reading too long without commenting, (love is too tricky a word to write from my cool + reserved Baltic perspective) and the links posts. If you have any good stuff to share on this as a link, please, do .

  • olga

    Margarita – I’m good with testing, thank you! I have to supervise the process, you know, so remote testing is not optimal. But I wish you all the luck in finding work. I was in that situation last year. It was rough. Plus – winter!! Hopefully you can maybe find part time work? Bakery? A shop you like? A flower nursery?

    P – I am sorry about your relationship dissolving. Even though I’ve gone through my share of breakups, each one, and each person is different and has a different response. We all process these things in various ways. I don’t have links, but I do know that doing things I enjoyed, finding comfort in making my apartment a true home, going for a walk or a run, significantly improved my outlook on life. I bought plants. I put up some pictures on the wall. I cooked a ton and fed my friends. These things take time. I hope spring helps you a ton as well!

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