Illustration by Ana Hinojosa.

Illustration by Ana Hinojosa.

Hello, Rookies! I’m Sonya Vatomsky, and I write about folktales, feelings, and femme magic. The scary stuff that happens to us, and how sometimes we need to get a little scary in order to keep going. My first book, Salt Is For Curing, is a poetry collection about bones, dill, and survival—many of the poems are structured as recipes using real measurements and sometimes real ingredients to describe emotions that are too big and confusing to write literally. Here is one:

1 cup grain alcohol strong enough to blind you,
make you forget your first love, turn gills to lungs
or vice versa.
5 tablespoons burdock root — I know an herbalist
who sells in bulk, and that’s precisely
the kind of ally you need these days; forget
the friends with their ears and tenderness
bittering agents —
and some cardamom pods,
fennel seeds,
something sweet and dried (figs?) and
1 tablespoon honey dissolved in 2 teaspoons of hot water.
Store in a cold, dry place
until you have one
that isn’t.

Use the loose format of a recipe—or magic spell!—to explore an emotion that unsettled you, or that you’re reluctant to let yourself feel. Maybe it’s the kind of hurt from when you share a part of yourself with someone who doesn’t understand (two cups of bravery left out ’til they spoil) or a want so strong it scares you. Maybe it’s how mad you got when something you looked forward to went really, really wrong, or how mad you wanted to be on a day you pretended nothing was wrong.

Be as literal or as abstract as you want. You can use your favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies as a base, or just start throwing everything you can think of into the cauldron. And like something you cooked, you can keep it to yourself or share it with us. Send your recipe to [email protected] with the subject line “Creative Prompt” by Monday, January 16. Please include your first name, last initial, age, and location.

For last week’s Creative Prompt, we asked you to imagine that anything is possible in 2017. Here’s what you dreamed up…

Sonya Vatomsky is a Russian American non-binary artist with too much cat hair on the outside and too many feelings on the inside. They are the author of Salt Is For Curing and a staff writer at Haute Macabre, where they have covered everything including literature and fashion and dinnerware made out of human ashes. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram.