New Day, New Start

It all began with making marmalade. Well, actually it didn't - it began with the news that, along with a great many others, my services were no longer required. For the past few years I've been writing freelance and one of my regular customers has been my local newspaper. The writing, so to speak, had been on the wall for a while now. Many of us had been told to cut back on our submissions, full-time employees were being laid off - it was clearly only a matter of time. And sure enough, yesterday as it happens, the axe fell on my last remaining contribution. Now normally we writers - particularly the freelance ones - have fragile egos. Our professional 'worth' horribly yo-yoing from week to week but, given the times in which we live, and the cut-backs every industry seems to be struggling through, my ego has remained, more or less, intact. After all, it was one knock-back that was more of a redundancy than a rejection.
So, as I started to regroup I returned to my personal therapy of choice - cooking. Being a freelance writer means I'm used to the ebbs and floes of work, to the intensity of producing a book and the contrasting calm in between times. For me, it's often time in the kitchen that fills those gaps and finds our pantry piled high with preserves, the freezer topped up with pies and the fridge laden with soups. The thing about that kind of cooking is that it requires attention, it occupies your mind and body, it isn't particularly difficult, and it reaps wonderful, delicious rewards.
Of course all that stirring gives you time to think and, by the time I had finished over my cauldron (there is, after all, just a touch of magic in cooking!), I had put all the day's disappointment behind me and begun to see, not a loss or an end, but a new, fresh beginning. And jars and jars of marmalade!