Monday, August 1, 2011

Adult Dazed at the Beach

On Friday, B and I took the trains and a bus to Jacob Riis Park for some beach swimming. It was a much needed rest for both of us since next to all of our energy is poured into our respective academic/artistic pursuits. I was happy to discover
that I'm not so far removed from recreation that I need to accustom myself to being at the beach. My mind quickly unwinds and I can forget my troubles quite easily. The picture to the left is of B walking past the Riis art deco bathhouse.

Aside from the pleasure of lying out on the beach and once or twice catching a good wave and body-surfing, my favorite moment of the excursion was the bus ride back to the trains. It's actually indescribable. A series of words will have to suffice for a narration or description. Youth, sand, vibrant, happy exhaustion, warm skin, cool air, infinite, expansive, light, summer memory, nostalgia.

A few days later B made Vegan Sloppy Joe's for dinner. And they were amazing! There they are to the left. There was actually a little more salad with them but I ate most of mine before I took the picture. The link above is the recipe B used. I don't think she changed or altered it in any way, except that we used Kaiser rolls instead of hamburger buns. The last few weeks I feel like my stomach and mouth have been the recipients of the best food I've had in my life. Or at least the best food for the particular moment for the longest stretch of time. B and I have had nearly every flavor of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, strawberry, cinnamon, pistachio, ginger, in pints and on cones. We've had pizza slices from South Brooklyn Pizza. Homemade veggie burgers with bleu cheese and fake bacon, chipotle veggie burgers with all the best condiments, homemade hummus, salsa, pasta salad, gazpacho. Fresh salad dressings and salads, plums and apples and bananas, berries and almonds. Moist coffee cake with red berries, crumbly coffee cake with banana. It gets me to thinking about a previous prejudice I had when I was in undergrad at UCSC. Every once in a while in a creative writing class someone would end up writing about food. Descriptions of food. I never understood them and for some reason I viewed them as a weak and unintelligible way of describing a character. How does what one eats add to the readers' understanding of a character? What does food tell us? At the time I thought NOTHING. I was adamantly opposed to including any description of food into my own writing and felt bored by writers who did. Strange that eventually the book I'm working on would have to do with a character's complicated relationship to food - at least part of the story would be about that. Even as I wrote WOLF/catherine I had reservations about describing food. It still looks a little funny to me on the page, all the names of fruits and vegetables. But I knew I would have to include food into the narrative. Until recently I wasn't aware of how to do that, but in the last few books I've read, the authors have included great descriptions of food. When I say great I don't mean after reading them I wanted to run into the kitchen and fire up some veggies. The mere mentioning of food by these writers brought the life of the characters further into focus. I can't really directly identify exactly what has been brought into focus for my writing, but I feel like food and descriptions of food can now be present in my writing. It is something people do and is worth mentioning.

Don't expect recipes in my next book or anything, but you know, soon I might be traveling to 18th century Versailles and food could play a role once I'm there, we will see.

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