Instructor Did NOT Like My Work

Dear Reader:

“My Favorite Kitchen” did not earn high praise. This does not crush me; in fact, it rather excites me. It gives me the impetus to ask: Why do I write? It fires me up! It makes me thankful that I’m 57 years old and so I can see that it doesn’t matter that my instructor didn’t appreciate my essay. It makes me think about other writers; it makes me think about readers.

First, I write because I’ve always admired writers and loved books. I write because I enjoy the challenge of it and I am so elated when I feel I’ve got it just right. Nathaniel Hawthorne said “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Yes, it is!

Sometimes I write because I hope I can help someone. I always turn to the page when life becomes difficult for me. I look for advice and comfort and I find it. When I wrote about my brother’s death, my decision to be a stay-at-home mom and the benefits of Prozac, I was reaching out to you, dear reader.

I also write because it’s more fun than cleaning, jogging, golfing, cooking….etc.!  In other words, I enjoy it. And, it is nice to think that others enjoy reading my posts. With you in mind, I  keep my entries as short as possible and as entertaining and truthful as possible.

When I was asked to write 750 words describing a kitchen…I thought:  What? Why? I don’t want to write that. (BTW…750 words just happens to be my self-imposed max limit: I figure if I can do death, marriage and antidepressants in that many words, I should be able to convey most ideas within that word count!)  So, I improvised. I didn’t adhere to the word count. I didn’t offer generous details of how the kitchen looked (I can’t remember what color the walls were or how the countertops looked). I tried to make the topic work for me and this venue.

I decided to publish the work here because I thought it might remind you of your own grandmother or inspire you to allow someone to linger in your work space, and I added the recipe because I thought you’d like that!

Off to make some coffee,

Michele

 

 

 

 

What’s at the Bottom of Your Heart?

Dear Reader:

I attended a half day writer’s workshop yesterday…you know the routine. After the facilitator reads inspiring works of literature, you are given a writing prompt and 30 minutes to record your thoughts. Usually, I’m not fond of the prompts, but I liked this one, so I thought I’d pass it along to you.

At the bottom of your heart…

At the bottom of my heart, there’s a mess

A beautiful mess

There are stacks and piles, bits and fragments,

Bright colors and blurred lines

All collected over more than half a century

It is a painful and joyous mix

It is particular and general

Fanciful and serious

It is, I imagine, not so different from what is at the bottom of every one else’s heart

And, yet it is uniquely mine.

There is the face of my very elegant third grade teacher who seemed to approve of me in the way I wished my mother had and often simply wrote “tres bien” at the top of my papers.

There is the memory of the summer day when I drove my shiny new olive-green 1967 Mustang down the street and the handsome guy stopped in the car next to me at the red light shouted out his approval.

There is a small herb garden just outside the kitchen door at my Nonnie’s house. I’m picking and she’s cooking just inside.

There is the note I’ve left on the counter for my grandmother 35 years ago stating that “Tom has picked me up for dinner and will return me at around 8 or 9 …. Or “maybe never” scrawled in his horrible writing below mine.

There is a smile that stands out from the rest. It’s the smile of a darling boy who grows into a very handsome young man but never has the chance to grow old.

There is an angel, Mary. Once a week for that horrible year, I came to her and spilled out my life. She helped me find my strength.

There is the Mexican family who served us dinner for years in their tiny restaurant, and also opened their hearts to me and my family.

There are the faces of neighbors and friends who have come and gone but will always remain.

There is the doctor with the heavy German accent, the stylish blonde hair and the sensible brogues worn with fashionably simple black under her white coat. I trusted her with my daughter.

And my daughter, so difficult in birth, yet so easy in life. My joy.

There is a push and a pull at work in this very messy heart. It can be difficult to leave the door open. It is not without pain or risk or effort. But it is not yet full.

I’d love to know what’s at the bottom of your heart, dear reader!

Sincerely,

Michele