Monday, November 30, 2009

NoJoMo, The Last Entry

Today is the last day of NoJoMo: November Journaling month. My blogging buddy, Stove Lady dared me to take the challenge of journaling everyday in the month of November. Well,  I did it!

Had Stove Lady not challenged me, I never would have done it. This was an incredibly difficult month; divorce proceedings have been haunting my every shallow breath.  The paperwork involved was more than I ever could have imagined. My house is a wreck from all the files scattered about the house.

The idea of running a food blog was getting me down. I'd stopped writing in it. It's hard to write a blog about home cooking when there's no one at home; no one to eat my delicious food. It's harder still when my kitchen is full of stacks of legal documents staring back, watching me cook.

However, NoJoMo was a lifesaver.  It gave me something I had to do everyday, no matter how discouraged or sad I might have been.  It forced me out of a funk.

NoJoMo became my walking buddy.  Looking for beautiful fall leaves for the cranberry sauce shoot, I returned to my daily walk. Neglected in my despondency, my daily walk is my companion once again. I'd forgotten how beautiful my neighborhood is. Now, I've taken to bringing along my iPhone.  A leaf or lawn ornament may inspire another story and I'll need that picture.

Cooking for one lonely divorcée seemed horribly sad. Instead, blogging everyday has connected me with old and new friends.

Forcing myself to develop recipes for this blog left me with more food than I could ever possibly eat. The apple fritter story left 40 fritters in need of a good home. I took them to the attorney's office, making delicious the sad task of divorce mediation.

Friends email or Facebook me with culinary questions now.  In real life, (or as my friend, Bucks Burnett, calls it, "Face-to-face book") friends mention a recipe or story from my blog. What do you know? People actually read this!

Patient dining companions are almost used to hearing me exclaim, "Don't eat that yet! I need to take a picture!" They even model for me. ("Now put your hands around the plate as if you can't wait to dig in!")

There were times when desperation made me write about the craziest topics, like frying chocolate chip cookies. That crazy post resulted in a funny reply from a French chef -- now another blogging buddy!  (By the way, you can't fry chocolate chip cookies, but you can microwave them for two minutes on 50% power. They won't be as brown as they would be baked in a conventional oven, but they will definitely satisfy a sweet tooth!)

Even now, with the deadline for this entry approaching, blogging forced me get out of the house to buy batteries for my dying mouse.  I'd been indoors all day, pitying myself for not having anyone with whom to make Christmas cookies.

Blogging forced me to reflect fondly on family memories. It connected me to my precious niece. Photo shoots made me dig out grandmother's silver and polish it.

Constant blogging drove traffic to this site as well as to my music website. In fact, this experience inspired me to set up a blog on the music site as well.

Publications have hired me as a freelance writer.

Blogging during this difficult time gave me a way to say good-bye to my ex in a way both compassionate and delicious.

Will I continue? Yes, but probably not as often. Christmas is upon us. For musicians, that means work! I discovered it's easier to blog everyday than sporadically, but I may take off the weekends. Singing beckons.

So, thank you, Stove Lady. Thank you for bringing old and new friends into my heart and home. Blogging pulled me through during a difficult time. While there is no one to share my home and the fear of losing my home still haunts me, good friends are only a mouse click away.