Warm yeasty thoughts bubble to the surface. I find the other ingredients: flour, oil, eggs, milk and honey. I’m not much for exact measurements, but I do like tried and true recipes. I want things to work; to come out right.

I know when I’ve kneaded the mixture to the right consistency. The sticky mess comes together, takes on life. The blob springs back when punched down.

I experimented with the ingredients of my last loaf. The abstract shape had edges¾the flavor required a sophisticated palate. I took my latest effort for testing. Filled with hopeful excitement I offered slices of insight as appetizers. I built sandwiches of courage. I dipped the crusts in spicy mustard and spread sweet jam over toast.  I offered it all up on a silver platter.

I didn’t mind that the meal didn’t fit expectations or tasted exotic to some, bland to others. What mattered was the presentation¾a fresh approach. My creative effort met harsh resistance.  Surely, they could find some redeeming value¾take the time to understand?  I grabbed my meal to go.

Safe in my kitchen, I nibbled a slice of my creation.  This is not bad. I need another set of taste buds.  I called up a few new acquaintances I met along the writing path¾adventurous souls like myself.  They agreed to a sampler pack. As I awaited their reply, I reflected on the differences between critique groups. My first group no longer fit with my vision, although they continue on smoothly without me. These new folks, though, they challenge me. I can take chances. I can make bread.

The next day, e-mails filled my box. I felt like a playwright, holding her breath, watching for the audience’s reaction. Glowing reviews came through cyberspace; I can do this, I can write and I can do it differently.

Back in my kitchen, the original loaf, now stale, was ready to toss out. I remembered the zucchini and mushrooms I had bought that morning.  Breadcrumbs¾I’ll use them as coating for something fresh.