I’m fascinated by organizations and governmental entities working to bring farming and rural life to city folks. I love reading about beekeeping workshops in Manhattan, and itinerant greenhouse grocery stores.
My novel, Drowning Cactus, features an organization that teaches organic farming to inner city kids. Even my daughter’s “in town” preschool has a school garden. We’re not in the city (in fact we’re biking distance to a small chicken farm where we buy our eggs), but everyone seems very concerned that my kids have an opportunity to delve into agricultural life. Probably a good idea.
But what about the rural folks missing out on the urban experience?
The time has come to bring city living to the country. I’m thinking about opera, or maybe mediocre street performers, on farms, and food truck conventions in orchards. Said food trucks must serve bacon-laced dessert items. Let’s relocate the Central Park roller skating party spot to a 4H Fair venue. Could one of those critical mass bike rallies overtake a tractor pull or small town Memorial Day parade?
I’d like to start an organization dedicated to sharing the reality of city life with America’s rural youth. Anyone interested in an unpaid internship? Applicants must be sharply dressed in dark, slim fitting clothes, generally in a hurry, extremely ironic, and deeply skeptical, but fully committed to current food and music trends. A mind-your-own-business attitude and in-your-face speaking style are expected. Grittiness preferred.
To apply, submit your qualifications through the comment section.
Look out for my short story, The Break-In, available as a free download only the weekends of July 26-28 and August 2-4 on Amazon.com.
Big news: I packed away my beloved Joy of Cooking today.
I’m clearing my house out for renters because I leave in about two weeks for a year away. As I reluctantly sealed the box of cookbooks, my husband teased, “We’re in for a year of joyless cooking, aren’t we?”
For just a second, I panicked. We are in for a year of joyless cooking. Maybe a joyless year entirely. Fortunately, the thought and my anxiety evaporated almost instantly, replaced by a cracker jack idea.
You’ve probably read the book Julie and Julia based on Julie Powell’s blog, or seen the movie. It was fun to read about Ms. Powell’s attempts to tackle aspic, but aren’t you dying to hear about my free-style hard boiled eggs? Simmer or boil? How many minutes? Fourteen, right? I totally have this under control. Wait! Is that for large eggs or medium? You just know I’m going to end up with some hilariously green-tinted yolk rings.
Yes, I think the world might be ready for Carrie without Irma (Marion, and Ethan): My Year of Cooking Joylessly.
I can already predict that my homemade mayonnaise is going to come out runny. I’ll almost definitely rush my frittatas without my J of C’s warnings to cook them low, slow and steady. All those disasters and I haven’t even thought past the chapter on eggs! Oh, Joy of Cooking, I miss you already!
Sure, I could look recipes up on the Internet and I can probably improvise a frittata, but that would be boring. If I try hard enough, I’m almost certain I can come up with some disastrous culinary experiences–perfect fodder for a blog on joyless cooking.
Foodies have been hip for a while. Kitchen klutzes are poised to hit the big time. Who better to fill the role than me?!
Now, excuse me while I attempt an impromptu zucchini/barley flour/dried porcini casserole. I won’t blog about it though. The world is so NOT ready for posts about the meals I’m creating as I attempt to use up the remains of my pantry. You guys want humor, not horror, right?
My small town has been invaded by thousands of men dressed as Civil War soldiers. I have to admit, I find the phenomenon a little baffling. Why do grown men want to wear wool pants and coats and then lay on the ground, under the hot sun, pretending they aren’t alive? I get that they’re interested in history, but the urge to dress up as one of many suffering soldiers doesn’t resonate at all.
Tuesday night, while the reenactors cooked their coffee and beans over campfires, I watched the movie Kumare. A documentary about faith, Kumare follows an American masquerading as a guru from India, gathering followers and learning about spirituality while he lives a lie. It’s funny, thought-provoking, and I highly recommend it. The subject of the film is able to convince intelligent people he is a guru in part because of his attire. In fact, by changing his clothes and growing his hair long, he manages to step so far out of his normal life that he discovers a new side of himself and a new way to connect with others.
Maybe those Civil War reenactors are doing something right. By dressing the part, they can become their heroes, people who were part of a transformative moment of American history, who risked their own lives to protect their families, their homes, and ideals.* Maybe they’re learning something about fortitude, brotherhood or their insignificance in the face of larger forces—political, natural, or even modern ones, like the hordes of camera-happy tourists who’ve also arrived in town.
There’s no question that costumes have power to change who we are and how we see the world.
Lately, I’ve been wearing torn cargo shorts from the late nineties and even older T-shirts. I’ve given myself permission to indulge in all the nail biting I desire. I’m trying to sort out the health problems that sent my toddler into the emergency room while I pack up my house for a move abroad, and get a book and short story out to press all before the end of the month. Plus, all those re-enactors have thrown a monkey-wrench into my usual traffic-free life. Rather than give in to stress, I think I need to try costuming, to re-connect with the part of myself that is deeply relaxed and calm.
So, should I go the guru route, and attempt to channel the inner peace of a yogi or monk? Or should I don Civil War era attire, to get some perspective and escape into another time, when most people’s lives were far more difficult than mine?
* I’m trying to stay neutral here. Insert your own angry objection about Confederate or Union ideals, if you like.