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Rice Diversity. Part of the image collection o...

Rice Diversity. Part of the image collection of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I cut open a new bag of brown rice and poured grains into a one cup measure. Noticing the off aroma wafting, replacing the one I know well (the one that always makes me wish it didn’t have to cook so long) I leveled it off and poured it into a pot, then filled a half cup measure and poured that in, too.

The rice smelled like it had been tainted with rancid oil. Very wrong. While measuring three cups of water, I wondered what made this day different from another when I would rush to the phone to create a record at the grocery store of my dissatisfaction, making sure they were waiting for me to come in and exchange this possibly dangerous purchase. What makes this a day when I let go of what’s best for me and walk through what should be avoided as if I don’t see, hear, or smell?

I’ve done this often — turned up fires beneath pots and set timers, knowing all the while in some deep broken place that I’m giving up control, stirring something volatile, convincing myself to disregard what may be coming next.

I ate frosted cake on a movie set, placed in the sun and left for hours, happy that there was so much left and I could have more than one piece. 

I convinced myself that a man who proved he didn’t know me had my best interests in mind when he said, “Trust me.”

I didn’t say no, as an adult should, when others decided how every corner of my next few years should go. I walked through them like a zombie, nodding, forgetting I could bite.

I was worn out this morning after perhaps four hours of sleep and scant dreams, but woke feeling the newness of the day and my ability to get things done perched light on my shoulders, like those sights at the end of the tunnel that I’ve heard about but never seen for myself. That’s the good part. I haven’t been upset today. But while the rice cooks I’m remembering things and wondering why, hoping my dinner tastes better than it smells, readying to clear out more clutter from the living room and maybe my head, counting the hours until I can try to sleep again.

I wonder if the writer in me nudges my deeds past reason when it needs to cross another plateau, stretch to understand new ways of being so I can interpret them better? Another personal flaw I would have to fix. My creativity should not be like an addictive drug. It’s dark side should be in the listening, in the art — not in my veins.

After thinking this over and deciding to do better in the future, I’ll still eat the rice. Unless it tastes funny…

*What do your writing demons nudge you to do?


18 thoughts on “Rice

    • Thanks for the kind thought, Jennifer.

      And eww for making my dinner rise up in my throat. 🙂 The expiration date on the package is November 2012, so I don’t know why it smelled like rancid oil. It didn’t taste bad, but it wasn’t good old brown rice either. I think I’ll take the rest of it back. As it cooked, I hated the thought that I bought it to eat some this week, while it was cooler, and then I might not be able to. Maybe some quiet stubbornness played a part in me eating it, too.

  1. Oh, good question and very thoughtful post. I have to say my writing demons whisper to me ‘why bother?’ and then weigh me down with overwhelmed whispers until my hand is too heavy to lift and the writing time ends up gone. I love your second to last paragraph and it has me thinking. Maybe creativity should be in our veins and arteries, our lifeblood. Isn’t that what writing is to us? Our breath? I don’t know.

    • My demons do that to me, too. I hate time wasted waiting for words to break through those “overwhelmed whispers.”

      Until today, I liked the analogy of creativity being in our veins and arteries, as you suggest, but if it screws up my ability to make healthy choices, like heroin or meth would, that’s too much. I might prefer to think of creativity as a vital part of my thought process that informs my life and work but doesn’t dictate in areas where it shouldn’t. I’m still trying to figure myself out. I don’t know either.

  2. My writing bug prompts to go and sit in bars, with wine, with my notebook, and watch and listen. It’s sometimes a pleasant experience and if nothing comes of it I get a warm glow from the wine. To be honest, I find it hard to get down to anything sat at a desk. I have to go outside and mix it with the world – to get the spark anyway.

    • I like coffee shops that way. One in particular feeds my writing muse with its rustic decor — pitted wood and old tin — and the laid back demeanor of it servers. If it were someplace central, I would go in every now and then and make a coffee last as long as I could, just for the spark.

      But come on, Al. No demons? No darker suggestions from them? Or just none you’ll share with us here?

      • Demons? I don’t think so. I’ve never been a roulette player. But on the other hand I’m not afraid to try things for the first time if I really want to do it. Interestingly, Lisa mentions below getting lost in a new city for the experience. Now, when travelling I will do that often. I’ll happily wander into the hinterland to see what I find and often at night, too. And now I mention it. The only place in the world that has scared the shit out of me at night is L.A. I did think I’d pushed my luck a bit there.

  3. Don’t eat the rice if it tastes funny!

    Maybe it’s not that you’re a writer so you take certain actions, but that you take certain kinds of actions and that pushed you into being a writer. That’s what I always wonder, anyway. Am I this way because I’m an artist? Or am I an artist because I’m this way? I just posted about letting myself get lost in Edinburgh alone, a potentially very stupid thing to do (in other cities at least, if not this one). What is reasonable, what is not reasonable? Eating something that tastes “off” could be deadly, or it could be the discovery of cheese!

    • I love that you mentioned cheese! My sister is fascinated by the thought of “first eaters” — the people who ate the cheese, drank the cider, first tasted the foods that were accidentally aged, then didn’t get sick or die so everyone said, all right then, and ate some, too.

      The rice was only not as good as it should’ve been, inadvertently packaged stale, I suppose. I’ll take it back this weekend, if I get out.

  4. Provocative post, LadySparks. “What do your writing demons nudge you to do?” I’m not sure that they are my writing demons, but one bears two heads – one named insecurity, the other fear – taunting me that I won’t finish, or that I won’t know how to “mask” the truth for fear of hurting someone else’s feelings, reminding me that there is so much else to do that is so much more important than writing the story. Frightening at times.

  5. If this had been a book I would have read cover to cover. Really interesting. Our local supermarket sells spoiled cream all the time, they’re so blatant about it it actually has me questioning humanity sometimes. Don’t they care if people get sick?

    I would love to answer that question Sparks, embarassingly I’m not 100% sure what you mean. I do have script writing demons, LOL! But not sure I know what the question was.

    I’ll go make more coffee as I obviously need some. 😉

    • Thanks, Amelie.

      If your script writing demons had lured you to do something that was against your better interests, or just weird, I think you’d know. Maybe the question just doesn’t apply because they haven’t. 🙂

  6. Oh, okay. I get the question now. Like SE I don’t know if they’re exactly demons, maybe more like viruses. Mine have convinced me to look into dark cellars and around corners that I never dared see before. And to dive into my insecurities so I can finally get over them and get filming, already! No less than that. I figure I must really love film since that’s the case, LOL!

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