(from another writer in a thread called "It's new, it's pretty, it's banal-free!"):
The thing is, I just know I'm gonna end up writing things that I'll
later cut because they're not essential to the story, but this will break my f***ing
heart, because I'll love the way I said them. Does that make sense?
It's (prolly not) new, it's (not) pretty (yet), (and there
is no guarantee) it's banal-free!
Today is my daughter's birthday.
We are having a few people in for dinner and a cake. I'm looking forward to it.
Wait, I left out something... She's now eight years older than
her mother. Margin of sampling error: plus or minus 400%.
left out something else. The weather the week she was born is just like that we
experienced yesterday: cold and rain, wind and thrashing greenery.
More things I left out: I have developed a strange way of viewing television.
I don't watch it. I listen to it, mostly, but that is usually more than enough.
Last night I watched, full frontal contact between eyeballs and screen, "David
Copperfield." As good a Dickens as I remember seeing. I just wish Uriah Heep
had been shorter, more monkey-like (as in the early movie) and had spoken louder.
OK, the truth is, I left out a LOT of things about today's
Today is my daughter's birthday. I'm the menu chairman
for the event, conception to fruition, so to speak. Here I go to the provender
mart. When I shop I run out of things to think about. I guess what I do is "buy,"
and "shopping" is alien to me. I know what I'm after and where it is, so as my
tangible self goes on about its business, my mind wanders a little.
It went to this question of what to include, what to cut, just as I reached for
the 5.63-pound strawberry cheesecake, Best If Used Before 4-23-00. It was in my
hands, complete, attractive, and guaranteed to be among the highest concentrations
of calories and cholesterol anywhere. Real, fresh strawberries and all they and
their setting implied. Even though it reposed nakedly in its sturdy cardboard
box, cellophane top panel exposing the entire heavy but fragile foodstuff to my
view, I was not completely aware of its details.
A vision of an iceberg
was foremost in my consciousness: through a fog composed of equal parts boredom,
excitement, discovery, and amusement, I wondered how the elements I sensed were
not yet within my ken would play out if I took the serving-cheesecake scenario
as a metaphor for writing a story. Could I, should I try to give readers a taste
of what it will be like to expose this contraption in its final moments of coherent
There will be a dozen people around the cheesecake
this evening. For some of them it will be the highlight of the day. Some, perhaps
even some of the highlighters, will have decided against having any of it, minutes,
months or years before. At least one will be glad for that, and will think—out
loud unless I miss my guess—"Menos burro, más comida."
There is responsibility resident in the role, Partitioner Of The Strawberry Cheesecake.
He could offer knife, plates, forks and "Serve yourselves." That would be infra
dig for this occasion, already elevated as part of fond ritual. He could cut
and serve equal slices of what he thought reasonable size based on his experience
with the slim slivers served in 24-hour troughs near freeway interchanges, pieces
that seemed always on the cusp of serve-lying-on-a-side width-to-height ratio.
A little more generous than that, of course, but not so much so that the superrich
paste reached a point of cloy and saturation and might be wasted on pushed-away
plates or surreptitious dog bribery.
Rather, he will exercise his knowledge
of each of the celebrants, he will cut and serve a piece proportional and appropriate
to each of their spoken or unspoken, known or unknowing requirements.
Extra strawberries for the young blonde who is so deliberate in her eating that
she might have a ritual or two of her own going. Extra wide, no-holds-barred,
fall-off-the-knife portion for the slim-bodied high-metabolizer who may or may
not actually be in contact with any seat he seems to be sitting in. For the calm-when-organized
one, a carefully cut piece chosen for the direct open path between circle center
and periphery, a cutline that breaks no berry, smears no sauce, swirls no substances
between strata, crumbles no crummy crust particles onto a pristine paper plate.
The occasion might call for a toast, or lecture, beforehand. If we assume
the provider knew all the ingredients and processes that eventually found resolution
in strawberry cheesecakeness, even the agricultural techniques and the philosophy
of dessert, and the incipient ferment within the thing that might progress and
add an exotic "nose" for an attentive taster, would we want him to share that
with us? Sometimes, maybe.
To another the delay could reveal cues to
the close relationship between cottage and cream cheeses. Yet another might begin
wondering if he should say what he is thinking, if he will ever tell anyone what
he is thinking, has thought, might think, might do, might be resigned to. Do we
need to know that? Could be.
Serious responsibility, deciding what to
The recipients of my affection and attention depend on me
to offer, to shield, to share, to expound, to require, to consider them and the
context and the content, and to make good choices on their behalf. Behalves?
I hope I continue to merit their trust.
And that ain't all...
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