Why Not Cheese?

I think so often about what life would be like if I had been something else. What if I hadn't dropped my art major in college to focus on English, and instead dropped English to focus on art? 

Sitting on the counter last night and waiting for the water to boil for pasta, I sliced myself a chunk of stinky cheese that my friend and I snagged with a Groupon over the weekend. I am devoted to cheese. It may have to do with the fact that I grew up on a dairy farm. It may be a result of having traveled to other countries in the world that have a healthier relationship to cheese than Americans do. Either way, I am devoted to cheese. I could never be a vegan because of cheese, never mind the fact that I could never be a vegetarian because of bacon. 

And this funny thought popped into my head, 

Why not cheese? 

Why not devote myself to cheese and forget about this whole writing business? 

Cheese is simple. Food is simple. Cooking is a simple pleasure that fulfills a basic need. I'm a fairly good cook, so why not just do that? Why not just research and make and sell and eat cheese for the rest of my life?  Add a little bread and wine and fruit and maybe some olives and I'm set. 

There is cheese, and then there are words. Words, for all their necessity to life, are complicated. I do not write because I find words easy or because I understand them. And on days like today, I can't find words to explain why I write at all. 

So why writing?

I think about these things when caught in the throws of a particularly difficult piece of writing, or when the question confronts me again, where will you go next? or when I get the same compliment again that I'm a good writer, because just between you and me, that compliment is sometimes more of a blow than a boost to my ego.

And I think about that part in Blue Like Jazz when Miller talks about how people always assume that because writers can articulate thoughts and ideas better than other people, that this somehow means they have the answers to everything. It's kind of an unfair assumption when you think about it. Writers, for all their words of wisdom, have a pretty good track record for insanity.

I always feel compelled to temper that praise with realism - or is it cynicism? But I don't have it all figured out, I want to say.

And for this, I contemplate a career in cheese rather than writing. And then I go and write a blog post about it. 



Sarah said...

So true. The life of being a writer is so perfectly summed up in your question, "Why not cheese?" I'm asking myself that question a lot, but I think we have to believe that writing, like cheese, can also be simple, fulfilling, and downright tasty.

Kim Taylor said...

Love this!! With you in a shared love of cheese. Laughing because this brings to mind the scene from French Kiss when Meg Ryan goes against her lactose intolerance on a train in the French countryside. Have you seen this best of Meg movie?

Rachel Hanson said...

If you find that cheese is your calling, I know people at Whole Foods who do NOTHING but exactly that all day long. Well, they do other stuff, but tasting cheese, olives and wine is heavily involved. ;)

Bethany Suckrow said...

AHHH! Kim, that is seriously one of my favorite movies EVER. I may even watch it tonight, just to keep with the theme. It really is the best of Meg. 

Bethany Suckrow said...

Such a good parallel you've drawn there, Sarah. Thank you for reading!

Bethany Suckrow said...

Brilliant! Don't be surprised if you find me lingering near the cheese counter sometime in the near future. Which one do you work at, btw? (You can message me on fb if you want.)

Andrea Beltran said...

Love this! I may join you with your cheese and olives...and a nice glass of wine. ;)

Lore Ferguson said...

Yessssss.  "Writers, for all their words of wisdom, have a pretty good track record for insanity."

Adriana said...

Just...keep writing.Please.

Emily Drevets said...

Cheese also tastes better on pasta than shredded newspapers. 

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