05 May 2010

What's your Cheesecake?

In my family, when we have a party - and we have a fair few, between birthdays, graduations, showers, holidays, and the odd Pig Roast - it's a pot-luck affair. Everyone in my family has something that they are asked to bring to every gathering, because it's what they do best. My aunt's potato salad. My step-mother's coleslaw. My brother-in-law's ribs. A veritable feast of deliciousness (leading to the expansion of waistlines).

For me, it's cheesecake. I am always asked to make a cheesecake, because supposedly it's one of the best ever tasted. I've had good and bad ones, but usually the best are when I use five blocks of real cream cheese and a tub of sour cream. I have a stand mixer that I use to pulverize the cream cheese, making sure it's smooth before I add the rest of the ingredients. Baking it without it cracking has become an art form. I've taken a good thing and learned how to make it better, and people ALWAYS ask for it.

It's a lot like writing.

By that I mean that every writer has their own strength. For me it's YA fantasy. I've tried writing picture books, short stories, and realistic tween and YA books, really I have. They all fall flat as a bad souffle. I just don't get it and can't seem to wrap my head around how to write it . Kind of like my aunt's potato salad--I can get close, but there's always something missing. But I have become a master of cheesecake. Relatively speaking. There's always something new to learn about writing. And cheesecake. (can you tell I like cheesecake?)

Does that mean I stop trying to make new dishes or write outside of my comfort zone? Of course not. Like cooking, I can try out new recipes and see what happens. No one has to eat the burnt sweet potato pie or read the terrible poetry I try to put down. I'll always learn something. But YA and tween fantasy is like my cheesecake: I've been making it for years, so now I play around with it and feel confident in the results.

What's your cheesecake?

Christine Norris

1 comment:

Carolan Ivey said...

I'm writing something outside my comfort zone right now, maybe that's why every word seems like pulling teeth. LOL

But it's like exercise, you have to do it or your writing will get flabby. Hm, I wonder what flabby writing looks like? Not pretty, I'm sure! ;)