Archive for April, 2018

Random quote of the day:

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

—William Faulkner, The Paris Review, Issue 12, Spring 1956

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

My mother’s 97th birthday was April 7. She used to make some damned fine chicken cacciatore. So in celebration of her birth month, I invited my friends who used to dine on her cacciatore for dinner in which I tried to recreate Ma’s cooking. I had her well-loved and well-worn recipe, but I was nervous that I couldn’t duplicate it.

As any cook knows, recipes are only suggestions. You add a little more of this, a little more of that, to make it your own. I was pretty sure I knew how Mom fudged the details—because the things she would add would be the same as the things I would add.

I was still nervous.

Still, I persisted.

Friday, I got out the old cast iron Dutch oven and went through the paces. The cat, who hadn’t smelled chicken cooking in my house for a long time, followed me from room to room meowing because she wanted to make sure she got her share. (She did.) I let the cacciatore cool then stuck it in the fridge overnight. On Saturday, all I had to do was reheat it and cook the spaghetti and garlic cheese toast.

My mother had this theory of feeding people which boiled down essentially to “too much is never enough.” Many who have eaten at her table learned the hard way to wear loose clothing and to eat sparingly of the oer d’oeuvres because Mom’s servings were large—with a rich dessert to follow. Also, asking for seconds usually meant you got a plate heaped as full as the first.

I didn’t honor that tradition. (Sorry, Ma.) We had plenty to eat but we’d all agreed there would be no oer d’oeuvres and I let everyone choose their own serving size. Rich dessert afterwards, yes. We’re none of us ascetics, after all. But somebody else was responsible for the sweets. (And he did a fine job, bringing a tiramisu and serving portions almost as large as the diners’ heads. Mom would have been proud of him.)

I’m happy to report that the cacciatore tasted just like Mama used to make. I was so happy that I could recreate such a well-loved taste from my past. It let me know she was still with me.

Still with me, but still missed.

Random quote of the day:

“’My country right or wrong,’ is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’”

—G. K. Chesterton, The Defendant

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“It’s easier for a Russian to be an atheist than for anyone else in the world.”

—Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new.”

—St. Augustine, Confessions (tr. Henry Chadwick)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

After hitting the five week mark on the poetry project I think I’m going to stop–because I’ve started working on a story. I’m not going to discuss that because it’s early days yet and in my experience if I talk too much about a story before it’s well-launched it dissipates the energy and I don’t finish it. And by story, I probably mean novel. I can’t seem to conceptualize and stay true to anything less complex.

So the poetry project did what I hoped it would do, got me back to a regular writing practice. It’s still early days on that, too, but I’m hopeful. I also hope to put something up on this blog at least once a week. I have found that all writing, no matter what, begets more writing. The important part is to start (or restart) the regular practice of writing.

So wish me luck. But, of course, what I really need is to just keep doing it, whatever it is.

Random quote of the day:

“If you think you are so enlightened go and spend a week with your parents.”

—attributed to Ram Dass

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Sloth in writers is always a symptom of an acute inner conflict, especially that laziness which renders them incapable of doing the thing which they are most looking forward to.”

—Cyril Connolly, Enemies of Promise

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Poetry is not personal.

And so, the spring!
Green grass, fog, blossoms,
the daffodils headless
after the gardener passed through.

Birdsong, God yes, birdsong,
morning, noon, twilight,
even a damned nightingale
passing through on its way
from point A to points farther north.

The crack of the bat,
the smell of the crowd,
young bodies turning to fancy,
fancy bodies turning to fever.

Bleating lambs with gay
red X’s spray painted on their coats,
and orange tags stapled to their ears,
frolicking and jumping while
they still have a chance
to be something more than chops.

And so, the spring!
(Nothing personal.)

 

*For the poetry project, phase one go here.

*For a definition of Phase 2, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.

Random quote of the day:

“Never say you know the last word about any human heart!”

—Henry James, “Louisa Pallant”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.