Sharing The Love

I like to share the love. It is in fact possible that I go beyond sharing into recruiting. And by ‘possible’ I mean ‘everyone who knows me is aware of this thing’.

When I find a thing I like, I want to share it with people. It makes me happy, so it might make them happy, so why not, right? If I find an awesome new shop, or blog, or trick with broccoli, it needs to be shared!

Which is why I spent half an hour at a NaNoWriMo write-in extolling the virtues of my favourite bra-shop to every other large-busted lady at the table because they were having a sale. (Seriously, specialty sizes tend to cost $70- $150 per bra, sales are important). I was writing down the name and address and handing them out like party favours.

I have also been a fervent recruiter for bento box lunches. I adore bento boxes, when I was working I had half a dozen of them and filled one nearly every day, and that is also a love I want to share. With the world. I have recipes and I know the best sites to buy from online and I read bento blogs and my enthusiasm must be shared!

I also like to cook. I have been planning a food-blog for a while, (Cooking from the very beginning – simple instructions for the total amateur!) and I read food blogs and I like talking about food and our NaNoWriMo group – being ninety-nine percent of the people I associate with because I don’t get out much – has already had one Cooking Day where those of us who like to cook got together and made sushi and meatballs and pikelets together for the rest of the group. We’re planning to do it again. Like I said, I recruit.

I actually do this less with new fandoms than I do with food and shopping, because I’m willing to concede that fandoms are more subjective than the need to eat or put clothing upon our bodies when in public. But if I fall in love with something new, I’ll still ask people if they’ve seen it and try to find – or encourage a friend to become – someone to share my enthusiasm.

I do try not to be pushy about this. If someone’s not interested in cooking or Being Human or whatever, that’s fine. I will ask someone else. But I do always ask, because fandom is even more delightful when it’s shared.

So I’ll be sharing some of my favourite links with you. And if you’re wondering what they have to do with writing, well, there’s a lot. I’ve blogged before about how important it is to mention food in your writing – not only do people need to eat, but what they eat tells you something about them. Food blogs can provide wonderful inspiration not only for your kitchen, but for your characters’ kitchens. Sometimes during November I’ll pack myself a cute little bento and make myself earn it with word-count, which makes for a less guilt-inducing reward than buckets of chocolate, and also means that if you get on a roll you have something healthy to eat without having to get up. Promising to buy yourself a nice box set if you win NaNoWriMo or finish your first draft is also a nice incentive.

I wordle this blog frequently, and often put chapters of my novels in there to check word frequency. If ‘and’ is one of your biggest words, which did happen to me once, your writing has a problem. Plus, it’s just fun to see a word-picture of your work. I use doll-creators to work out at least an approximation of how my characters look, since I can’t draw myself. As for the tiny houses – well, I love them because they’re adorable play-houses for grownups and I want one, but they’re also a good reference for how big a little cottage or one-room shack actually is, and what you can and can’t fit into one.

So in the spirit of sharing, here are some sites that I like featuring things that I love:

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The Big Blue Room

Today I am leaving the house to go visit a friend!

Being unemployed, the mother of a toddler and having an anxiety disorder, this is actually a bit of a big deal for me. I’m going to an unfamiliar place, too, which doesn’t help. But my husband is home and can watch the night-owlet, and my friend is meeting me at the station so I won’t get lost, and we’re going to watch anime together and have an awesome time before going to drinks with the NaNoWriMo group, which we do every week all year long because we’re awesome that way.

I’m also going to cook for her, which is a thing I love doing. I like cooking for people – I go over to my mother’s house every week and cook her a big batch of something that she can freeze for lunches to take to work, and I’m a bit notorious for compulsively feeding people when they come over to my place. Feeding people makes me happy.

I’m not alone in this – there are some fictional characters I share the trait with. Makoto/Lita/Sailor Jupiter loves to cook, and to share her cooking with her friends. Seeing her on TV when I was younger meant a lot to me – I wasn’t the only gargantuan female who loved to cook and do girly things! Because when you’re a head taller than all your friends at school, you feel pretty gargantuan.

Molly Weasley feeds everyone compulsively, as a way of showing affection and taking care of people, and I like that too. The mother of seven children doesn’t always have much time for one-on-one affection, but feeding them all is an important thing that she does with a lot of love.

And I know she’s frequently decried as a living example of gender stereotyping and patriarchal oppression, but damn it, I loved Anne Bannard when I was a id. Anne was the youngest human member of the Famous Five, the ‘girly’ one who cooked and tidied up after her brothers and her cousin George (Georgina) who aspired to be a boy and refused to do girl things unless forced at knife-point. The rest of them wouldn’t have gotten far without Anne organizing meals, let me tell you.

And Susan! Susan from the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ series was one of my favourites. She was responsible, she was organized, she managed meals and camp-sites, fire-safety and minor injuries with calm good sense. Oh, how I wanted to be Susan when I was a kid. Susan was the reason, as several adults mention throughout the series, that the kids were allowed to go off adventuring on their own. Susan would make sure they were fed, dry, and safe, and could be relied on to call in an adult if necessary, as many of the others (Nancy especially) could not. She was an excellent campfire cook, and rose to the occasion in an emergency like nobody’s business. (And when she was scared or upset, that meant things were *serious*… it was like seeing your mother cry when you’re little, unfamiliar and upsetting).

I adore Studio Ghibli movies for the way they lovingly depict food. From Chihiro’s parents stealing the feast meant for the spirits, to Ponyo’s passion for ham, to Shiro feeding Shizuku noodles when she’s upset, to the fancy foods in the Kingdom of the Cats contrasting with the little crackers Haru feeds one lost kitten… the list goes on, but they show food as being important and having emotional weight as well as providing simple sustenance. It’s easy to be hungry after watching a Ghibli movie!

And with that, I’m off to watch ‘Whisper of the Heart’ and cook chicken for my friend.

I haven’t been writing much – well, at all – this last week. Sleep deprivation and stress do not make for words that trip lightly off the fingertips. But I will try again today, and keep trying, Persistence is the key!