1.07.2013

Plan B

If only all backup plans came in the form of a pill

Having a Plan B is a good thing. And I'm not talking about the emergency contraception kind, although that's not really a bad idea either.

What I ultimately mean is a backup plan for life.

None of us can bank on the notion that what we do is eternally secure. Jobs can disappear as quickly as snow in Arizona. Entire once-viable markets can evaporate. Just ask the guy who used to repair VCRs. Ask mail carriers in about five years. Ask Barnes & Noble employees in six months.

Shit happens.

Not only that, enthusiasm can wane. Dreams that seemed so ripe for potential can go bust before they ever take off, like so many North Korean rockets on the launch pad. This writing thing I've been working steadfastly at since 2007 might still never really go anywhere. That book I have coming out in a few months might flop. Hell, what if my publisher goes out of business? What's going to happen to the publishing industry when the last national bookstore chain goes under? What if I have a commercial failure that's so spectacular it kills my desire to be an author?

I don't have any reason right now to believe any of those things will happen (well, except the Barnes & Noble thing), but you just never know. You can't predict these things. Just like I never would have predicted that,in 2009, my husband would lose the job he'd held for the last 13 years and that in the blink of an eye we'd go from a decent middle-class income with scads of benefits to living on welfare for three months to keep the lights on, and that a few months after that, we'd be living halfway across the country. But it happened, and here we are.

So what is my backup dream? What's the other card up my sleeve? What's the one thing in the world I want to do more than writing?

Well, luckily for me, there are a lot of things I love. Recently, I've pondered the possibility of going to culinary school. It's probably the one vocational field I think I would excel in. I want to be a pastry chef. I want to own my own bakery. I even came up with a name for it awhile back: The Ugly Pastry Company. I would specialize in rustic breads, cookies, muffins, cakes, and pies, all made with local ingredients. Why ugly? Because I don't make pretty food. I make delicious food.

I don't necessarily think I need to go to culinary school to become a chef, but I think it would help. It would also be fun. I've dreamed a lot of having a business I could pass down to my kids. Better yet, I think I could be a baker and still be a writer. But it would be a lot easier to do both once the writing career is paying for itself a little more, and the good thing is I'm really really close to making that happen.

So that's my Plan B. If I couldn't be a writer, I'd be a baker. One day, I hope to be both.

What's yours?