In my old age, I have come to believe that love is not a noun but a verb. An action. Like water, it flows to its own current. If you were to corner it in a dam, true love is so bountiful it would flow over. Even in separation, even in death, it moves and changes. It lives within memory, in the haunting of a touch, the transience of a smell, or the nuance of a sigh. It seeks to leave a trace like a fossil in the sand, a leaf burning into baking asphalt.
If art could be absolutely verified as to importance in, say, the way gold can be judged for purity and weight, then it would of course be finished as mythic activity. Free of doubt, controversy, and the inexplicable fluctuation of reputation, art-making would bear the same relationship to creativity as cake mix does to baking.
Anyway, madness and genius. They're the disturbed pals of the human condition. The Bonnie and Clyde, the Thelma and Louise, the baking soda and vinegar. Insanity just walks alongside the brilliant like some creepy, insistent shadow.
When you smell our candles burning, what does it make you think of, my child?" Winterfell, she might have said. I smell snow and smoke and pine needles. I smell the stables. I smell Hodor laughing, and Jon and Robb battling in the yard, and Sansa singing about some stupid lady fair. I smell the crypts where the stone kings sit. I smell hot bread baking. I smell the godswood. I smell my wolf. I smell her fur, almost as if she were still beside me. "I don't smell anything," she said.
Baking makes me focus. On weighing the sugar. On sieving the flour. I find it calming and rewarding because, in fairness, it is sort of magic - you start off with all this disparate stuff, such as butter and eggs, and what you end up with is so totally different. And also delicious.
To stay balanced, I exercise by walking and taking private Pilates lessons and salsa dance lessons. I also meditate and spend quality time with my kids by baking or doing crafts, hiking, going to the theater and movies.