Monday, August 13, 2007

editing process, and fruit

Is it important at all to come out in my review of The Hours? To say that Michael Cunningham is a queer author and he writes good books, but hey, I like them also because I am queer.

Cunningham tells compelling stories about queer lives, and as I was figuring out my own sexuality I found solace in his work. I took out the last part of the sentence. The review will be up soon.

My friends are getting nectarine and blackberry crisp tomorrow. I followed the proportions in the Chez Panisse Fruit cookbook but changed the AP to tapioca flour and upped it by 2T, so we shall see if it is rock hard or watery or just right. And since my eggs and dairy are going bad, I should make more ice cream before this weekend.

I'm working on editing this piece I've been editing since June, I think. I've written about this piece before.It's almost done, but I'm not satisfied with certain elements of it, and while rereading it last night I realized the narrator spends a long time alone wandering around the kitchen giving pertinent backstory and revealing character information. And while I'll follow pretty much anyone around a kitchen, most people aren't me. And I think the tone of the end needs to change. Darker. Bleaker. Because I am no fun and I don't smile and life is just so bleak (oh wait, it's not 5 a.m.)

I've got to get more of my work out there, but it's a struggle (do I want it in print or is online okay? how do I feel about this piece? what's it worth to me?).

There is this one paragraph, a recent addition. I really like it. This paragraph tells the complete story of The Story. It's evocative and sad. This paragraph is why I like exposition so much more than scene, and that is my weakness as a writer (too much exposition. but the prose can be lovely.). This paragraph, if I expand it or extrapolate out of it to action, to scene, probably stands a better chance of being published than the seventeen page story it is from. When I think that I forget how to create sentences that are haunting or evocative, I should pull up this paragraph among other things.

If you are reading this, who or what inspires you?

And for the paragraph, here we go:

When Erin left, Rachel almost sawed through her hand, I got cleanup duty, and I could only get Rachel out of the house with booze. We were pretty much always drunk, and we worked drunk, and if I sneaked into the staff bathroom with Rachel to slug back tall boys of Bud and stroke her hair while she kicked the wall, how else could we have coped? I’d overhear the messages she’d leave begging Erin to come back. I’d spent my Sunday off cleaning Rachel’s dishes, washing her clothes, walking her dog because it had taken to peeing on the bathroom carpet, because she couldn’t get out of bed. Afterward in bars I’d space out with a pint glass, come back later to find a row of empties, have no idea how many I’d drunk only that everything felt so inessential. I’d go to sleep hungry, smoke on the walk to work to avoid Rachel’s chronic moping, and after a month, I started looking for a new job without telling anyone. I knew it was either Abeille or Rachel that I would have to let go of.

Lastly, I can't stop reading the Chez Panisse Fruit cookbook. I interrupt my friends to tell them that papaya trees are ambiguously sexed and that the lemons we spend so much on have probably been stored in a basement and picked while green.

I bought some nectarines at Safeway for the crisp (1.99 per pound as opposed to 3 or 3.90 at the FB). They were Arcticwhite or something like that. It felt surreal to be buying them in a supermarket no less, very much removed from what a fruit experience should be. I just knew they'd be bad. Not because they were rock hard (I was picking riper soft ones). I could tell somehow that they'd have no flavor and that they'd probable be ok fo baking and I didn't have an alternative if I wanted to give crisp tomorrow to the cupcake slingers. It hit me then what leaving SF would do...whenever I leave this town for wherever else I go I will probably have to say goodbye to fruit. Let me come to terms with it then while I am here, even though that only invites more sorrow in parting.

1 comment:

Marusya said...

Liked your paragraph - dry and sensual at the same time. Tell us more about jam, and why the sterilized-jar thing is so scary. I have a little fruit museum in my fridge and need more ways to think about pies, and also ways to think about about pie as the single gal I am about to become. Keep writing and baking.