Cookies are my…

A. favorite

B. happy place

C. brand

D. values

E. All of the above?


I was talking to some writer friends about the joys of being a writer in the digital age. Doesn’t matter if you are trad published or an indie darling, everyone expects authors to be doing their part when it come to marketing and building their brand. But my marketing abilities mirror my French–super earnest, super embarrassing, neither will take me where I want to go.

“I don’t have a face for selling books; I have a face for eating cookies,” I quipped before taking the opportunity to express my deep and abiding love for the baked good. You’d think the frequency of my declarations regarding cookies would make me unpopular at parties, but as I tend to bring cookies with me wherever I go, my pontificating is tolerated.

“So cookies are your brand,” one friend said.

“Yeah, if I were writing cookbooks about cookies.” I’m not by the way. I like collecting tried and true recipes, not inventing my own. Too much is on the line when you have only one cup of butter left, and it’s 11 pm on a school night. The stakes are too high for experimentation. I will follow Grandma’s recipe, and we will arrive at school drop off tomorrow with (cookies for breakfast and) cookies packed in everyone’s lunch.

But my writer pal has a gift for marketing, and she’s patient. “Let’s look into the symbolism of cookies,” she said.

I prepared to scour the internet like a good millennial, meanwhile writer friend asked Chat GPT. “Says here cookies symbolize comfort, warmth, and welcoming of new and old friends. Does that sound like any of the things you want readers to feel about your books?”

My eyes were wide and unblinking, not just because she succinctly nailed my writer hopes and dreams but because she harnessed the power of A.I. like a digital native. “That sounds exactly like what I want for my readers,” I said.

“So maybe you should embrace cookies as part of your brand and trust that they have everything to do with your fairy tales and rom-coms.”

Maybe I should. People write books for lots of reasons, but I write to escape. Escape is literally in the title of my debut novel. Life is hard when you are a mommy. Life is impossible when your world is turned upside down by a new diagnosis or accident. And what I need when I escape is comfort: a world where I know happily-ever-afters are as assured as the warm cookie that comes from following grandma’s recipe. What I welcome is a bit of whimsy, wit, and romance on my romp to HEA. My friend (and Chat GPT) helped me see that I’m basically trying to create the novel version of a cookie. And… while this makes perfect sense, I’m wondering if that is okay. Is it enough?

I’ve been doing a lot of work with my therapist (Yes, I have one. Mama of two special needs kiddos with a life partner who is also neurodiverse–I’m still standing because I have a therapist) around values. Because sometimes our lives can become all about serving a set of values that don’t do anything for us. Sometimes we inherit values or are prescribed values that we don’t care about. Sometimes our values are at odds with our partner’s values. An example: I deeply value novelty while Mr. Trent deeply values stability. But living a life that is worthwhile and meaningful depends on embracing, interacting, and realizing one’s values. And there is no right or wrong answer to any of this, just as there is no right or wrong answer to picking which flavor of gelato you want to enjoy at the chocolatier’s. Choosing to embrace mint chocolate over raspberry cream is not a morally superior action. Yet, at times I have felt that choosing humor, gratitude, altruism over compassion, whimsy, and ambition has.

The list of values that I discussed in great detail with Dr. L was extensive. There were hundreds of values on that list. All of them were good things. All of them will matter more or less to different people. But my goodness, the level of judgment I am bringing to my values is discouraging. “That’s not important,” my inner critic snickers. “You only value that because you will never have it.”

Cookies were not on the list of values we discussed. Friendship, whimsy, comfort, compassion, and ambition were. All of them are guiding stars in the constellations of what matters to me most and many of them align with the symbolic meaning of cookies. So if my ambition is to create cookies, both literal and metaphorical, and then share them, why can’t that be okay?

“Because it’s silly.” My inner critic chimes in. “Because there are more nutritious and nobler things to make and eat.”

But what if my inner critic sounded more like my writing pal? “Maybe you should stop asking for permission and just embrace the cookies.” Or, “Let’s look into how cookies might line up with your value of compassion.”

Hmm… Maybe sharing a cookie is my way of saying, “I see you. I get it. That new diagnosis, that accident, that’s really hard. You’re giving it all you’ve got, and you can’t afford to worry if it is enough.”

Maybe taking comfort in something simple and sweet in a world that overwhelms me and mine on the regular, is more than okay. “Don’t over think it,” my writing pal is fond of saying. Today, I’m inclined to listen.

what do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. More Information