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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Writing Life: A Good Morning of Writing


A good morning of writing is as satisfying as the hunger for a dish you crave.  

How is hunger satisfying? It’s yours and no one else’s. It arises from the depths of your memory. The taste, what was it? Can you match the taste in your memory and bring it into reality onto the plate?


You set the stage. You bring out the block of unsalted European butter and let it come to room temperature. You choose the right pan, an old pan, one that is familiar – it gleams its bent and misshapen self with confidence. Just large enough but not too big for the sink, as it will need washing afterwards.


Hunger is your story. It craves to be told. Dished up. 


Near the tail of the Dover sole she made the requisite cut as she had seen done and then held the flap of sandpapery skin with a side towel. She peeled off the skin as if the fish was a crab molting and shedding its shell to prepare for its next season of life in the dining room. With precision she used the manicure scissors to trim the fronds of flesh, dangling like drowned feathers along the sides as if the fish were a bird being plucked smooth.



You want simplicity. You want heat. You love desire and the hunger that never abates to tell the truth.


The yellow knob of sweet butter melts in the pan. The sole slips in.


A good morning of writing is the most you can hope for to forget it’s almost spring outside, the bird feeder needs replenishing and there are hordes of emails and recipes that need attention, phone calls from folks who say they want to learn to cook, they do. But this moment. This is only once. And you work quickly before the lettuce wilts or the butter burns in the pan.  


Swirling the fish loose the pan to be sure it was crisp on one side, then lifting pushing and jerking the pan back towards her, she flipped the fish perfectly, quietly, and wait, even, professionally. She had that nailed, by God, she did, she had, and as they closed down the line, giggled, and she marveled at the transformation and the heat even followed her upstairs and was more than likely sleeping, still, in her bed.



Your story, like spring, being on the verge of warmth, is ready for renewal, up for understanding and awareness, and the desire to say this is what it’s like for me, this is what it’s like to stand in front of the heat with a ready pan. 

This pan, hit with butter and sole, hot with longing to stretch out the world inside to live for a few moments on the plate.



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