My husband, Rory and I share important beliefs, but we often disagree on things we like, i.e. the safe stuff we tell strangers when we want to create an impression of who we are—‘safe’ because things are not who we are; things exist outside of ourselves. This might partly explain why he and I took forever to become friends, and when we eventually did, decided that we would get married. (To my mind, ‘friends’ are people who have exhausted the Easter-egg hunt for things they both like, and simply like each other.) Usually now when I like something, it’s enough that he can demonstrate his understanding of why I like it. Hearing him describe exactly where and how this thing clicks onto my personality usually gives me more pleasure than the thing itself. Sometimes, though, I like something so much that I really wish he would like it and we could get hyped up together. This whole preamble is background to something that happened recently. For ages, he had felt luke-warm about something that I really liked, and he didn’t understand why I liked it. (I know he didn’t understand because its presence annoyed him.) Then one day he picked it up again and decided that actually he did like it, really liked it, loved it, and we got super hyped up—about that thing of course, but also the fact that he felt differently about something (he wants, but seldom experiences, changes of heart).
Yesterday I commented on Ella Mills’s Instagram, pointing out that her recipe for healthy chocolate bars very closely resembles that of Sarah Britton from the blog, “My New Roots.” If you read the full My New Roots blog post, you’ll see that unlike energy balls and sweet potato brownies, which wellness foodies have been co-perfecting for some time now, these chocolate bars are new on the scene because Sarah Britton dreamed them up a few months ago.
This was Deliciously Ella’s reply to my comment:
“I hadn’t looked at her recipe before, adore her but too many things going on to spend time looking through other blogs at the moment, but of course there are similarities. There are so many varieties on similar recipes from these to energy balls, sweet potato brownies etc and only so many ingredients you can use to create something if you follow this way of life. Looking at the recipes, the main part which could be different is the base and that’s quite different – I use oats, coconut, coconut oil, vanilla and maple and she uses flax and apple sauce which I don’t and then no oats and no vanilla. She asks then includes a layer of roasted nuts, which I don’t. Hope that explains it for you xx”
Ella’s brush-off gets to the heart of something that troubles me about the wellness movement: an ideas-sharing community has birthed a profit-driven industry cloaked in a fake generosity of spirit. As is typical of capitalism, an open community of generous enthusiasts produced a potential market to be exploited by individuals with the desire and financial backing to set up shop and market communally generated ideas as their own. Ella Mills does not completely deny the shift from sharing to selling—she is a proud young business owner—but she does deny it when it suits her, i.e. when she wants to use the spirit of the wellness movement to disguise her exploitation of the community that made her. I suppose you could say that on the one hand, sharing ideas and inspiration are the principles governing Deliciously Ella’s behaviour—she has helped herself to inspiration from My New Roots.
But let’s say that Deliciously Ella has never laid eyes on Sarah Britton’s recipe. Still her fault. As an industry profiteer, Deliciously Ella has a responsibility to ensure that she is not reproducing existing ideas and claiming them as her own, i.e. infringing on intellectual property. She shouldn’t mind the work of staying informed, though, since she adores Sarah Britton (Ella has even interviewed Sarah for her blog’s section called Inspiration). Whether or not she reads for enjoyment, keeping up with Sarah Britton’s blog is Deliciously Ella’s job, but she shirks this responsibility by implying that there is no business going on, it’s just a way of life: she and Sarah are just two girls messing around with the same ingredients.
My dream the other night took place in the world of “A Little Life.” All the gang were there, but instead of four successful male friends, there were five, and in my dream, I was half-aware that I was creating the fifth character myself. I take the dream to mean: I can write like Yanagihara in my sleep. Hardly an insight—my self-belief also taunts me by day.
Does Yanagihara actually write in her sleep?
Two things. Rory got a job at Ladbrokes, the betting shop. We were worried we’d run out of money and I would run out of days on my visa. Also, in the night, my blog had its first visitor. Hooray!
On my way to the park this morning, I had to stop for a chat with Paddy next door. He was watering his and Mary’s roses. It’s occurred to me that if I was capable of imagining away the wall between our two courtyards, I could count Paddy and Mary’s roses as my roses. Paddy and I spoke a few days ago, and he remembers that I can’t understand a word of his English. I really tried to understand this time: a man who washes the windows came, to my house?, and he took a bucket, but he might come back?, though I’m young enough to wash the windows myself. After each new piece of information, Paddy did a corresponding arm gesture and asked if I understood. I laughed and said yes.