As I said in my last post, I think I need to write more. When I studied abroad in Italy, I was an intern for an online Italian newspaper. Every week I would write a short article on my time abroad- the latest element of culture shock, the beautiful moments I was experiencing, a noteworthy comparison between the States and Italy, etc. Some days I truly didn't feel like writing, but I had to make the deadline. So I'd camp at the table in my apartment for an hour or two, drink my coffee, eat some fruit, and write until my thoughts were complete and the page was filled up.
And through it all I learned to love the process of writing. I knew I'd liked it before, but aside from long essays for school I had never been on a regular, mandatory schedule for a piece. Though it was challenging at times, it was wonderful. A constant output of creativity, a workout for the brain and emotions, a chance for a regular voice and expression. If I'm honest, some days the words felt like complete and total BS. But I think that's part of it all. Even if in that moment I didn't believe or resonate with the sentences I was forming, it still was a reminder- of the good things, the hard things, the truth, the reality of our lives and surroundings. An opportunity to be a little more grounded, to snatch at life with my ever-hoping hands and embrace it in all its rawness. It gave me some purpose, some reminder that my words hold value.
Lately I've been thinking about this regular schedule and have decided to return to it. In the midst of such a shocking transition, the internship gave me stability. Now, as I've just moved into a new house and am still adjusting to a new lifestyle, I'm hoping that a consistent output of words will do the same thing as it did a year ago. Even if I feel frantic, emotional, unstable, or frustrated, I will write. And I will LIKE IT.
I don't know what exactly I will write about, but I am committing to setting aside time weekly simply to write. My deadline, I think, will be Mondays at midnight. Maybe I'll blog the words here, or maybe they'll remain in my journal or on my computer. But the act will be done, the paragraphs will be formed, the art will be manifested.
If you don't call yourself a writer, just try it. I wasn't supposed to be the writer; my sister always filled that role. But we're different, so we think differently and we write differently, and I think that's what's so beautiful about art at all. For an hour or two, dare to call yourself an artist. Even if you can only eek out seven sentences, write sentences that connect you with hope and reality all at once. Try it again, and do it when you don't feel like it. It's addicting, I'm telling you. You'll be surprised.
And as per usual, I have rambled so much that I haven't spoken a word of this pesto.
Recently I've fallen in love with the more rustic, hand-chopped version of pesto. True, when it's in this form, it doesn't emulsify, but I like to think that I'm a little bit more connected to Italy and purity of life by doing it the old-fashioned way. And, this way you can taste more distinctly each flavor, as if you're traveling through an exhibit or reading a very robust sentence. And it looks cool. So why not make it this way?
It's garlicky and salty and fresh and delicious, as I think everything in this world ought to be. Mix it into warm ricotta cheese for a bread spread, or through rotini pasta for a classic, or atop salmon for dinner. Welcome to the superior race.
One large bunch basil leaves
3 medium-sized cloves of garlic, or two large
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 Tbs pine nuts
About 1/3 cup olive oil, just enough to bring it together but also keep it loose
Lots of salt and pepper
Start with your basil; pull the leaves from the stems, stack them up, and chop, chop, chop until they are as fine as can be. Put it all in a medium-sized bowl. Next, mince the garlic and chop the pine nuts. Side note- if you have lots of time and want to make this even more delicious, I would toast the pine nuts for a few minutes under the broiler first, then chop them. Even better. Add the garlic and pine nuts to the basil. Grate or chop the parmesan, adding this also. Now, start to stream in the olive oil and stir at the same time. Unless you have three arms, you'll probably need a sous chef for this. Season with salt and pepper, taste test, and add more of whatever your tastebuds miss.