I received this e mail from woman called Hilary Cooper whom I met at the recent Resurgence conference. Satish Kumar kindly asked me to talk about virtuousbread.com and Hilary was particularly interested in the idea of baking with groups. After some e mail back and forth to talk about the time constraints of baking from first ingredients, and whether it was a crazy idea to combine baking and writing, Hilary wrote to tell me she had adapted the baking process to fit her needs and worked with a writing group – using bread as the trigger for creativity. Here are her words, I think they are splendid and thank her very much for them.
I hope you are impressed (!) that I actually made a start with the whole ‘bread-writing’ thing this week. Working from the idea that if I aim too high I’ll never get started, I made a big batch of dough and took it into the creative writing group. We spent 10 mins kneading silently, while I voiced a few reflections about bread and its significance. Then we decided what kind of bread we would each be, if we were a loaf – some hilarious results. I am a bit hard to digest – more grainy and wholemeal than I look from the crust! Another was rounded and soft- easily dented by careless hands. You get the idea! Then we made mini-loves, in whatever shape took our fancy and, as they were rising, made lists of ‘bread-making words’, which we then used to write a metaphorical poem about ourselves as a loaf of bread in the making. There were some surprising results – people beginning to look inside themselves a little, and a teenage boy, eyes closed, lost in thought over his bread! ‘More, please!’ they cried after the hour was up! All three of them (well, this is Grimsby -neither bread nor creative writing are high on the agenda……….) But it is a start.