Easy muffins: flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, oil, egg, lemon zest, blueberries.
Most days aren't perfect; that's a fact and not much of a revelation. Most days go wrong in a lot of small ways--a joke that falls flat,  bill I didn't expect, a flood of unproductive emails that keeps me from good work. On those not perfect days, making something keeps me afloat.

I remember a fantasy novel I read years ago in which the vague, distant evil is called the Unmaker. The Unmaker wants to take apart the world, and the only way to combat it is to make things. In one scene, the protagonist explains how he can only push back the destruction, not defeat it. Agitated and fearful, while he's talking, he makes a tiny basket out of the grass at his feet. It calms him. Making something keeps destruction at bay, even if that something is small and unlikely to last.

I think that's what I like about cooking. It's necessary, but it can also be beautiful if you take a little care. On Wednesday morning, I made these very easy blueberry muffins, mostly just to use up the blueberries that were going bad faster than we could eat them in yogurt and pancakes, but when they came out of the oven all golden and oozing bright purple juice, I felt a great sense of comfort. It felt like, however my day might go wrong after that, I had made something beautiful and nourishing. That made all the mundane nonsense that followed almost irrelevant.

That's the thing about art: it sustains us. It pushes back the chaos of the universe. It lets us make a little space in which to thrive. But we have to keep making it.

I'm interested: what keeps you going, art-wise?


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