You try not to get your hopes up, but there you are, breath held, anticipation building, excitement held in check by nothing more than a tiny, niggling bit of self-doubt.
You think, because you’ve made it to the next step in the process, you must be in the running. You brush other important things aside because you want to place all of your focus on this particular possibility.
And then the email, or the phone call, or the letter comes. “Thank you for your interest in X position. We had many qualified candidates. Unfortunately, you were not chosen. Best of luck in your future endeavors. Please check back for other opportunities that may fit your interests. Sincerely, Nameless Faceless Person.”
You try not to let it, but it gets you down. You feel, for lack of a better term, deflated. Unwanted. Unqualified. And that’s especially hard when you’re trying something new. When you’re trying to make a name for yourself in a new industry.
So that’s why I’ve been a bit of an absentee blogger the last few weeks. I’ve been wallowing, questioning my ability as a writer, as a storyteller, as a photographer, as a home cook. Wondering if this rejection spoke to a larger issue. If a professional doesn’t like what I produce, then is it worth anybody’s time and effort to read what I put out there? I’ve been hiding.
I’ve been looking for inspiration – something to get me back in the saddle. Our garden is growing, my deck herb garden is thriving, our chickens are producing. Life is generally good.
Before the temperatures soared into the nineties, we were eating almost every meal under the gazebo on the deck – the trickle of the fountain providing a lovely backdrop, the gentle clucking of the chickens drifting up from the coop, the breeze whispering in the tulip poplars at the back of the property. If there’s not inspiration to be found here, then I’m not sure where I’ll find it.
This last weekend – Memorial Day weekend, to be exact – we had family in town. My mother’s sister was here, and on Monday, my husband’s family came for dinner. We had four generations of family in one house – our boys and their two cousins; my husband’s brother and his wife (and of course my husband and I); my mother and her sister, and my husband’s parents; and then we were lucky enough to have my mother-in-law’s parents there with us. This is the only living set of great-grandparents the boys have, and we don’t have many opportunities to spend time with them, so the fact that we were all able to celebrate Memorial Day together was a real blessing. I’m so appreciative that I have such a wonderful family with which to spend my time.
And it was just the thing I needed to get over myself. Being surrounded by people I love, taking time to listen to the stories being told by my husband’s grandparents, watching the children play happily with each other, enjoying good food – that’s what brings me joy.
The other thing that brings me joy, and the thing that I’ve been missing, is creating good food. Today I got back to it. I had some pears left from my produce box last week, and some spicy red mustard greens from the garden. Paired with some creamy goat cheese and salty, silky Prosciutto di Parma, it made a wonderful grilled pizza.
I used my favorite Pizza Dough recipe, rolled it out super thin, and topped it with the pears, cheese and greens.
I slid the whole thing as carefully as I could onto the grill and let it get nice and toasty (you can probably tell I didn’t do such an graceful job of getting the pizza on the grill – it still tasted good, though).
Then I topped the whole thing with some thinly shaved pieces of prosciutto and drizzled it all with a tiny bit of raw honey. It was a little bitter and peppery from the greens, sweet from the pears and honey, and salty from the cheese and prosciutto. It had a variety of textures – crispy, chewy, creamy – that all added up to a nicely balanced combination.
So, rejection brings you down, but family and good food can pick you right back up. I love the connection between food and people and the stories that come with that. So, I’ll continue cooking and taking pictures and writing. And if you want to read, you will, and if you don’t you won’t. It’s that simple. And I’m okay with that.