Bookish

Last night, the television sat mute.  I curled up with steaming Earl Grey and handcrafted cookies, reading until my eyes drooped closed.

I’ve joined a book club.  We’re reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  The first few pages brought to mind ersatz Thoreau, but as I ventured a little further, I realized that Dillard isn’t copying Walden, but using the Walden experience to make it her own. Her writing is both lush and raw – describing the beautiful and the horrific.

I’m not alone

This is what I wrote on June 5 .

This is what I came across last night:

“The downside of measuring by hand is what happens to the hands. At the end of an evening, your fingertips are irretrievably stained with some very heady aromatics, and there’s nothing you can do to eliminate them. You wash your hands. You soak them, You shower, you scrub them again. The next day, they still stink of onion, garlic and pork fat and, convinced that everyone around you is picking up the smell, you ram them into your pockets, maniacally rubbing your fingers against each other like an obsessive-compulsive Lady Macbeth. At night, in bed, my wife and I had some tough times…ever since one of my hands flopped across her face and woke her with a revolting start.”

Heat – by Bill Buford

I guess I’m not the only one.

Obsession

My hiatus from the daily grind appears to have influenced my postings as well. The break has been renewing, but I find as my vacation nears its end, I desire again to place cyber pen to paper, but gently – not robustly, as I should expect.

I’ve been struggling this week with the definition of ‘obsession’. At what point does a healthy interest morph into obsession? What within us pulls us past ‘normal’ and into harmful fixation?

I’ve filled the hours and days of this week with food, cooking and menu planning to the point where I want to escape from all of it. Perhaps it’s merely a newly heightened interest that has me thinking too often about the culinary world – not unlike my fascination with yoga soon after I began my practice. While deciphering this new overwhelming interest, I’m struck by how it has infiltrated my life this week: I wake dreaming of chefs, restaurants and cooking, my days have been spent planning my menu and unsuccessfully (in most cases) practicing new recipes. I’ve started watching cooking shows on TV. As the proverbial cherry-on-top, I’m reading a book about the secret world of a restaurant kitchen, falling asleep with thoughts of the culinary world as well. Enough already! Where’s the healthy balance I strive for?

Not Fit for Publication

“Have you ever had a difference with a dear friend? How his letters, written in the period of love and confidence, sicken and rebuke you! What a dreary mourning it is to dwell upon those vehement protests of dead affection! What lying epitaphs they make over the corpse of love! What dark, cruel comments upon Life and Vanities! Most of us have got or written drawers full of them. They are closet-skeletons which we keep and shun.”

 

Vanity Fair, William Thackeray

 

 

In my post of September 18, I briefly mentioned J, my Love from year’s past.  N was J’s best friend and seeing N again, along with digging through old letters to find something for him, brought to light once again these memories of tragic love that I had so conveniently tucked away.  Ours was a tempestuous and impossible devotion that spanned the years from 1989 to 1998.  It could hold it’s own next to Heathcliff and Catherine or Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in its passion, drama, rancor and love.  This tale of love is written in the poems and paintings he sent me, as well as my journal entries, and the letters we exchanged throughout the years – all of it kept by me.

 

This weekend, I decided to gather it all and write a book– not for publication and most likely not for others eyes, but so I can put it all down, once and for all, to organize, catalog and lay it to rest – before I forget.  I realize my story would be dissimilar to his.   I’ve completed 39 pages, mostly taken from my journals.  N will play a role; he is inextricably linked to my relationship with J.  I cannot publish it here – for fear the wrong person would see.  It’s a book for me, a cleansing of sorts, to put into context the events that forever altered me.