Thursday, April 19, 2007

Poetry Nights with Eeyore

I realized it took me a couple weeks to adjust to being back home after my trip. It happened in stages, but I'm not sure why it took so long to feel completely adjusted. I struggled with fatigue, malaise, low concentration.

My friend Robin told me today, "It's good to hear you all fired up again. Although I must admit I also enjoyed my poetry nights with Eeyore."

Although you really haven't met Eeyore until you've met my dad, I appreciated the sentiment and was glad to hear he enjoys being with me even when I'm Eeyore (and not just when I'm Roo).

I had an amazing night of poetry, music, and community at Bai Pai, which I wrote about on my poetry blog.

Today's Thought

This is either really simple or really hard and I can't figure out which.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Without the Vigorous Scrubbing of Youth

From the beginning, I liked to eat. Mother’s milk, formula, baby food, blender food, sister’s food, dog food…well, I became more discerning as time went on. But before discernment, everything was fuel for my growing and learning. That is still true, but perhaps I have to sample the rotten, the stale, the not-to-my-taste less frequently now than I did so many years ago. How many years ago, I don’t choose to reveal.

What will I reveal? More than you might want to know. Hell, more than I might want to know. But I don’t choose the events; I merely relate them. Does my perception also shape them? As storyteller, am I also part author/creator, part chef? Yes; I am chef, waiter, and customer, epicure. I want to tantalize, feed, fill, and fortify.
When I was young, able to stand but not able to see over the kitchen counter, I began experimenting in the kitchen. Father made me a stool and Mother placed it in the kitchen. There, on rainy afternoons, I became acquainted with cumin, garlic, and saffron. No, not saffron. That came later in life, I think. There, in the warmth of kitchen and family, I became acquainted with comfort and nutrition, nurturing. I carry that knowledge with me today. Believe me, I do not wish to lead you astray. I do not wish to, but I might. I am only…a chef standing 4 feet, 0 inches at home, where critics are gentle and adventurous.

I went to school, as children do. My parents had taught me that I was smart and capable. School was supposed to sharpen me, but it ground me down. At least, that is how I see it now. But I see that it is lunchtime and my stomach tells me it is time for a little something.

. . .

Please excuse the crumbs and stains. But eating and reading—or eating and writing—is one of the simple pleasures in life. We have control over few things, and that includes stains. So I have stopped trying to stop the encroachment of stains. I still do the laundry and clean the counters, mind you, but without the vigorous scrubbing of youth. I have come to accept imperfection, and I am happier for it. I suggest you do the same.

I live with a dog now. Wolf is my best friend and constant, undemanding companion. I meet other dog-walkers in the city and we stop to chat and sniff the air (and other places we shan’t mention here). I like dogs, and I like people with dogs because I believe they tend to be looser than other people, say those young, urban professionals I see hurrying across the street. Dog people know that stains happen. No one likes them, but you deal with them and move on. No sense crying over spilt milk or dwelling over rotten, up-chucked woodchuck. In fact, it is especially best if you don’t dwell over the latter. Or so I hear from my friends who live in the country. We don’t get many woodchucks in the city. We do get rats and pigeons, though. Some people don’t choose to distinguish between the two, but I do.