The sweet smell of sweated onion in olive oil floats under my noise, only to be drenched by the sharp scent of fresh cilantro and the intense sizzling aroma from scarlet chillies. I slice crimson tomatoes and vibrant orange peppers, enjoying the mottled collage of color against the backdrop of my white cutting board. My glass of red wine emits a peppery scent, adding an extra bit of zest to the robust seasoning emanating from the pan. I add each ingredient, one by one, listening to the serene hiss of tender veggies surrendering to heated oil, and allow them to simmer for thirty minutes; the result is a rich homemade salsa designed to tease the taste buds…and an unexpected formula for writing.
I discovered that writing is identical to cooking. The same techniques can be applied: create your recipe (your idea); prep your working area (the skeleton of your story); gather your ingredients (characters, plot, setting, action); put them together in the same pot (first draft); simmer for a while (put it aside); come back and give it a stir (first editing); try a small taste (first reader); make your adjustments (editing and rewrites); and plate you creation (ready to submit).
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.