WHEN do you take something comfortable -- an attitude, a philosophy, a way of moving in the world -- and morph it into something new and scary? And risk spectacular failure? And become a beginner, again?
This question has consumed me for the past several days. It's a hummingbird, fluttering in place, diverting my attention from everything else around.
Each year I attend IACP, a professional conference that speeds my pulse and forces me to re-assess my career trajectory. Am I doing this stuff right? Making quick enough progress? Keeping up with what's new / what's hot / what's coming down the pike?
The answers rush forth: sort of, maybe, not really.
In a professional landscape where Pinterest, video, and co-branding are king, where does that leave the lonely writer, the one who used to get by with her keyboard, her tea, and her moments of quiet reflection? Is there a place for old-school, single-platform, words-on-a-screen content anymore? Do people still read, even? Or do they just clickety-clack, leaping online from one diversion to the next?
I've been told to mobilize. Not to get moving, which is what this word used to mean, but to make my work mobile-phone-friendly. Apparently you're all reading me on your cellphones now. Colin tells me next year everyone will be using Google Glass. (I think I just had a heart attack writing that sentence.) I need multimedia. Content-sharing. Corporate partners. Bells on top of whistles on top of bells on top of whistles. I need fewer words, more images, lots of podcasts, giveaways, co-branding relationships, and a coding team to optimize my bliggityblooblamblahblah if I'm ever going to survive in this field.
So I'm left with choices. Do I evolve? Risk-take? Fail, get up, try again, fail again, and maybe, just maybe, discover some wonderful new platform, ability, passion, proclivity I never knew I had? Or do I ignore it all, and just keep on keeping on, writing words, thinking thoughts, snapping photos, authoring books, cooking (for god's sake) and standing by as my audience defects to shinier, brighter, louder, more modern media forms that flash their perfect pearly teeth and seduce like snake charmers?
What's the answer?
Maybe we can work through this together.
You bring your advice. And I'll bring the cookies.
Recipe for Meyer Lemon Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies
Old-fashioned and newfangled, rooted in tradition and careening towards modernity, these cookies offer lots of lemon, a bit of coarse salt, and a heap of pistachios to keep up with the times. And yet, I can assure you: they never forget where they came from.
If you like these, you'll also love these.
Makes about 45 cookies
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 1 Meyer (or standard) lemon
1 cup unsalted pistachios
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
Additional lemon zest and crunchy fleur de sel, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line your baking sheets with parchment.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, oats, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla and lemon zest, beating until incorporated. Beat in the flour-oat mixture, in two additions. Fold in the nuts and chocolate.
Using a 1-1/2 inch scoop, divide the batter among parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for about 14 minutes, until nicely browned. Cool. Just before serving, sprinkle each cookie with additional lemon zest and a scant pinch of fleur de sel.