Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Alone in the Kitchen

Salsa in Green Bowl, Upper Left, 2014

Have you read Laurie Colwin's essay, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant? I have, multiple times, and I just heard it read in a late September episode of Selected Shorts from PRI, the Next Stop, Greenwich Village episode.

"People lie when you ask them what they eat when they are alone. A salad, they tell you. But when you persist, they confess to peanut butter and bacon sandwiches deep fried and eaten with hot sauce, or spaghetti with butter and grape jam."

I love this essay. I listened while eating breakfast, a simple and lovely plate of food I posted on Instagram. My photo showed an apple, a few pieces of sharp cheddar cheese, and a long slice of bread neatly cut in half. What I did not post was the last of the bag of Tostitos and the salsa that I ate after I finished the lovely plate of food, when I was still hungry.

It was perfect timing, listening to Laurie Colwin reminisce about washing arugula in her bathtub, eating the same toasted cheese dinner for six months, and her failed beef fondue, laughing at herself as I laughed at myself and finished off the tortilla chip crumbs at the bottom of the bag.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ooh La La

 Light, 2014

When I was younger I wasn't really aware of good light, no more than aligning my beach towel with the sun for the best tan.

It has me thinking of this song. I thought it was new, not from 1973.

I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was younger

Friday, October 10, 2014


My View, 2014

I sit here in this large empty restaurant, contentedly eating my bowl of fruit and looking out at the bay.

A man with greasy hair and excellent posture walks in and sits down at the table directly across from mine, his back to the bay. He looks into my eyes while purposefully arranging on his table, a small paperback copy of Irrational Man beside a paper cup and a rumpled brown bag from another eating establishment.

Leaning back in his chair and crossing his right leg over his left, he opens his book and bites into his pain au chocolat. No one seems to mind.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Everyone Is Talking About It


I'm sitting here inhaling the crazy delicious scent of the almond cake I have baking in the oven. I listened to a Dorothy Parker episode of Selected Shorts while pulling it all together. Earlier today I read two essays from Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem, and Lena Dunham's excerpt from her new book in The New Yorker.

I've been reading and writing and listening and thinking all day. A little baking too. It is and isn't as luxurious as one might think. Too much time wandering around in one's own mind is dangerous, yet so often where I find myself.

Yesterday, like Monday and Tuesday, was incredibly different from today, but I did make a point of visiting Browser Books to see if they had Dunham's new book. I wanted to buy it. Everyone is talking about it. Everyone.

I decide to read a few pages before bringing it up to the register. I don't love it. I'm not even sure I like it. It makes me uncomfortable. Part of me still wants to buy it, the part of me that hopes I’ll absorb a tiny percentage of what makes everyone love her so much. I leave the bookstore with Joan Didion instead.

I wake up today haunted by Dunham. I listen to her chat with Terry Gross. As mentioned, I read the excerpt from her book in The New Yorker. It's long for online reading, but I don't even pause. She can write. I consider buying the audio version of her book. She reads it herself. Finally, I request her book from the library. I simply don’t want to miss out. I would be missing out if I didn’t read it, right?

What is my problem? I like her, but maybe I selfishly want her to be different. I don’t want her to do things she’ll regret. I want her to stay away from crappy people. I want her to like herself more. I want to protect her in some way.

Dorothy Parker and Joan Didion certainly make people uncomfortable. What's the difference? Well, Dorothy Parker died a long time ago, she's beyond protection, and there's something about Joan Didion that makes me think she'd give me a sharp little slap in the face if I said I wanted to protect her.

Dunham's life is really none of my business, but she’s made it my business, she’s made it everyone’s business. Is there anyone who hasn’t talked about Lena Dunham this week?

Strangely, my feelings for this person I do not even know are awkward and stressful, but I’m realizing they shouldn’t be. She’s found a way to charm people by sharing her foibles, mistakes, and humiliations in a way that makes her feel better about them and leaves us all wanting to give her a big fat hug. Maybe I will buy the audio book and cancel my library request. Maybe I'll listen and read. I don't know. Maybe I’m the one who needs protecting.