Laura had a little trouble with the title of this brant, not just because it’s been almost two months since she last branted and she’s woefully out of practice writing anything longer than a 140 character Tweet, but because this is one of those brants that’s about a whole bunch of different things that are all kind of related. That’s like most things, she’s guesses — everything’s connected to something else, in one way or another — and while it makes for a thick complex soup of a brant it makes finding a title a bit of a challenge.
Laura wrote a brant last week she never posted – it was about her epic Resistance (she’s using the capital “R” to reflect Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art) to starting the book she really wants to start — and she’s not entirely sure why she didn’t post it but she thinks it has something, if not everything, to do with the fact that she’s really sick of the sound of her own complaining. Take it from the person who couldn’t start a shrink session for years without prefacing it with “I know I have nothing to complain about since I don’t have cancer” (she even said this when she did have cancer, because her cancer wasn’t as bad as other people’s cancers): Laura’s never been comfortable with being a whiner. That’s not to say she hasn’t at times been a prolific whiner, but her whining always reaches a critical point at which she decides it’s unseemly and wrong: which usually means that she’s gotten to the point of understanding what her whining is really about:
It’s only fitting and ironic, then, that last night she drove to New Hampshire to see Gesine Bullock-Prado read at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It wasn’t far from Boston, a little over an hour, and since connecting with Gesine on Twitter (Gesine remembered Laura’s books from when they were submitted to her sister, Sandra’s, production company) and reading her wonderful memoir over a month ago, she wanted very much to meet her. Not just because she knew it would be one of those rare readings that was worth the shlep (as a former book publicist who had to go to 1000s of readings, most are not worth the shlep) — and not just because Gesine was allegedly bringing baked goods — but because she wanted to be inspired. Inspired to stop whining and start doing already.
For those of you who haven’t yet read Gesine’s gorgeous little gem of a book, Confections of a Closet Master Baker, you should, and not just for the amazing recipes and lovely vignettes of quirky small-town Vermont life . You should read it for the honesty, and for the simplicity of her story, which of course is only simple in the retelling, since, when all is said and done, it’s about someone doing something really hard: staring down their resistance and moving forward. The broad strokes of Gesine’s story may be reducible to the logline shorthand Hollywood executives (like the one she herself used to be) are so fond of using to oversimplify already simplified stories — Unfulfilled Hollywood executive leaves Hollywood for small-town New England to become a country baker and madness ensues!! But as you can see from the book trailer that her husband, super-talented artist Raymond Prado [be sure to click here to see his amazing animated video, “Wasted”], made, there is a rock-hard solid core to the cookie of her story: overcoming resistance. After years of feeling disconnected and empty but resistant to chucking the life she had come to hate in order to pursue the one she secretly yearned for, she finally does, realizing it’s through baking that she feels most connected to herself, and to the adored mother she lost, and to the people around her:
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Laura’s no stranger to overcoming resistance — to doing the thing she wants most in the world to do — she wrote a piece in the Washington Post a few years ago about being a Secret Writer Person (“How (Not) To Become a Writer”), much like Gesine was a Closet Baker, and she’s no stranger to making a huge life change in order to get there: she did, after all, leave 10 years in New York book publishing with no job and no apartment to move to Washington so that she could get a life and maybe even finish her novel — so there’s nothing she loves more than a story like Gesine’s. Especially now, since it’s been years since Laura’s done anything big and brave and non-resistant. Hearing her talk and read from her book last night at the bookstore, feeling the energy that someone who has pursued their dream and followed their bliss exudes, gave Laura hope that she, too, could pursue her dream and follow her bliss once again.
For anyone out there who wants a little inspiration: watch Gesine’s book trailer and read her book. Not only will it make you crave quality baked goods, but it will make you crave doing what you really want to do. For that, and for the amazing chocolate Starry Starry Night cookie that she ate on the way out of the bookstore, moved by the lovely things Gesine said to her about her books, she is deeply grateful.