As I’m sure you know, you can learn all sorts of things if you’ve got an Internet connection (and find all sorts of Monty Python stuff). Four years ago I learned to write novels, three years ago learned how to publish my own books, two years ago I decided to teach myself to play the ukulele and now I’m been learning to make cheese. I'm like a crack addict, but with milk.
I made a cow’s milk feta to start and then took what I learned from that experience to make it again with my daughter Emma in Bozeman. The Bozeman cheese turned out so good one day for lunch we shared it with the girl farmers where Emma works (the Montana State University farm, Towne Harvest).
I’ve got made a Colby, a beer infused Gouda, 4 small aged goat cheeses (one of which we at and wow, was it good), 4 double crème brie and another batch of feta (cause we at ours). Oh, and a cheddar, a Parm and a Gruyere and some other stuff…. I’m obsessed and the people at Sprouts think I’ve got a milk addiction. And I needed a cheese press and they’re expensive, but guess what? There are videos on how to make your own—or how to get your husband to make you one. How great is that?
What’s my point? It’s possible to keep learning stuff, even when we’re OLD. In fact, it’s not just possible, it’s essential to a quality life. Not calculus maybe (at least not for me), but stuff that makes your heart go pitter pat. I’m gonna be honest, I think there’s a LOT wrong with our country right now and I think a lot of it can be marked down to people who decided they were done learning new things, done expanding their worlds, done thinking about their values in an honest, evaluative way. It’s why we live in a ‘facts don’t matter’ world. Except that we don’t. Facts do matter because it’s in facts we find ideas and ideas are the only real thing we have. The rest is bullshit that distracts us from meaningful lives. Of course, if you’re reading this you already know all this stuff (cause readers are the smartest people in the world), but do you know where to by milk that’s not Ultra-High pasteurized?
On a related note, my 4th Kate Warne book, Iron Widow (the one with the black widow on the cover!) has been delayed. Don’t blame it on the cheese. I’m perfecting my editing process, which is easier said than done, but it will be out this month. I’m also writing about a late Renaissance woman painter and I just finished the first draft. You know what I like about writing about her? I didn’t know anything about late Renaissance painting and I learned a lot.
So I gotta ask, what are you learning these days? And if the answer is nothing—WTF? What could you give yourself permission to learn and do? And how much greater would you be if you did?