Sunday, October 31, 2010

Of cupcakes, inspiration and new beginnings

As a little girl, I remember the schoolyard seemed endless as I tried to run from one end to another. Hills seemed to tilt precariously as I rolled down them. Trees towered above me and I felt miles above ground as I climbed them. The world was a gigantic place to be explored and discovered.

When I came back to these places years later, suddenly everything was smaller, shorter, less steep. The magnitude and mystery of the world was reduced in the rational eyes of an adult.

One thing I'm learning with age - some things, like fine wine, do get better with time. Take, for instance cupcakes.

The cupcakes of my childhood were flat and dry with watery icing. Multicoloured sprinkles were about as exciting as it got. But in recent years, these flat excuses for cake in a cup seem to have gotten a face lift. All of a sudden, they seem to have morphed into these moist creations adorned with generous doses of buttery icing and all kinds of creative flavours I'd never dreamed of as a child.

Sure, most of the time these new cupcakes are more icing than cake. Actually, most of the time there's more icing than any of us would admit to eating in public. But secretely, I enjoy the excuse of being able to indulge in that extra little bit of sweetness - somehow what seems wrong when eaten straight out of the Betty Crocker jar seems right if it's artistically presented on a round dollop of cake.

Lately I feel like this new generation of cupcakes seem to have exploded into the popular consciousness of adults (primarily women - I don't think my husband would be caught dead eating a creamy pink cupcake). They're everywhere, with stores dedicated to them, local coffee shops selling them next to Nanaimo bars, cookies and muffins, cupcake-decorated pyjamas and even a reality show.

And they're not being marketed to children, either. Whereas cupcakes were once the stuff of kids' birthday parties, today's second generation of cupcakes is being purchased (or baked) by office workers as treats for colleagues. They're a snack to accompany a snooty coffee. Towers of cupcakes are now popular alternatives to wedding cakes.


Is this recent popularity of these newer, prettier cupcakes really just an excuse to eat more icing without the guilt? Is it a secret desire to return to that innocence of childhood, even if just for the fleeting moment it takes to eat those three or four mouthfuls?

Or is it just me?

Ever have that thing happen where you notice someone once, and all of a sudden they're everywhere? Or you notice a certain colour and suddenly you're surrounded by it? Am I doing this with cupcakes? Do I just like saying "cupcake"? And what do cupcakes have to do with my first blog on this site in four years (after a short hiatus on another blog because I forgot my password to this one ;) )?

Not a lot, and yet something.

Cause lately not only have I been noticing cupcakes everywhere, but blogs seem to be everywhere I look, too. And suddenly, I want to write mine again.

Perhaps it's just me, but perhaps it is indeed a growing trend. Maybe it's because I've finally run my marathon (more on that in a future post) and have time to write on my hands; maybe it's because I'm surrounding myself more and more with good writers who inspire me. Whatever the reason, now that my husband and I are married and Halifax is starting to feel like home, I've taken a hankering to writing again for writing's sake, and this blog seems like a great  place to do that.

What will this blog be about? How do writing, editing, running, yoga and nature all fit together? I'm not sure. All I know is that these are themes that have defined my life for years. And although the communicator in me says, "know your audience," I admit - I have no idea who my readers will be.

All I can wish is that this will be a place for random musings, observation and discussion; not proselytizing. And I know there are other bloggers out there who have the gift of the gab in ways that I don't. But hopefully others will find things here that inspire them, or at least get them chatting.

Actually, now that I think of it, cupcakes really are a great metaphor for what I envision this reincarnation of my blog will be - pretty, yummy sweet indulgences that have you licking your fingers and coming back for more.
So welcome, reader, whoever you are. I hope you'll keep coming back for more than just the crumbs.


Jodi R. said...

Hurrah! Welcome back to blog world Ceebie! Blogs are great for writing practice - I am using mine to help me get back into the habit of writing and writing quickly. It's so much fun too!

Hurrah for cupcakes! Never be ashamed to eat cupcakes. Never be ashamed to eat icing out of the can/bowl either! My grandmother used to decorate cakes and I remember taking spoonsful of a veritable rainbow of sugary goodness. For our birthdays, we each got a cake with boiled icing, and on your special day, you got your very own Cool Whip container filled with icing just for you! Now that I live away and my grandmother isn't making boiled icing so much any more, we carry on the tradition somewhat buy getting an extra container of icing from Superstore on my birthday!

My daughter and I spent a couple of hours on Saturday decorating 40 cupcakes in a Hallowe'en theme - they were fantastic! We're both pretty detail oriented so we came up with some awesome scenes and had a great time doing it - and an even better time sharing our joy and sugar blast with our friends. We'll probably end up throwing the rest out - it's not about eating them, but the shared experience...

One more - when I worked at the head office of a grocery chain, when we had a really bad day, the lady who took pictures for the flyers used to let us decorate cupcakes she had just shot. It worked every time - very therapeutic!

Sugar ain't all bad in moderation (or in excess from time to time) - just think of all the happy memories it elicits...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and inspiring some great memories! (I promise not to be so verbose next time... lol)

JuliaandKieran said...

Glad to see you're back blogging!