Where have I been?
Well, I’ve been thinking about you. You’ve been on my list, believe me. I imagine you peeking through the velvet curtains, clicking the website address in vain. Anybody home? Not recently. Ah, well. I’ll try again. And I’m grateful you did.
I’ve been writing, so don’t worry too much about that. You can find my latest food writing here about chocolate and butchers and teriyaki history on Seattlest, and about yoga and running here for my yoga studio. I’m also excited for my upcoming first freelance assignment with the International Examiner, a Seattle Asian American community newspaper. And there’s some other writing I’ve been doing that I can’t quite post here just yet. But I’ve been writing hard. Just not here. Sorry.
I’ve been reading, too. I bought a few new books for the first time in ages—my own copy of Stephen King’s memoir On Writing, plus Colum McCann’s novel Let The Great World Spin, on the recommendation of a couple of friends. I’m excited to begin Monique Truong’s latest novel Bitter In the Mouth. I’m also two-thirds of the way through Daphne Kalotay’s novel about ballet and jewelry and Stalinist oppression, Russian Winter. And I don’t want to return my library copy (though I will!) of the letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, collected and called As Always, Julia. Their affection and wit and friendship made me fall in love with the two of them, and made want to write more letters again.
And I’ve been following the discussion on the movie and book The Help. In case you haven’t seen this response yet, by Ohio State University professor Rebecca Wanzo, I highly recommend it. It’s pretty evenhanded and thorough, acknowledging the book’s emotional power while sustaining a more detailed critique.
I’ve been out and about a lot more—even a lovely date night here!–which is mostly good for me, not so great for the household sleep schedules, and thus not so good for downtime and writing time here.
I’ve been making jam, stocking the jam closet space downstairs. There’s a wonderful line from my goddess of domesticity, Pat in one of L.M. Montgomery’s novels: “While I move and live and have my being I’ll want a jam closet.” A jam closet! I might have scoffed a few years ago. Ah, but now. Now I understand.
And if you read the last few paragraphs of this haunting essay by Alexander Chee, you’ll get some of the feeling of where I’ve been. “What can you trust of what you can’t see?” his yoga teacher asks at the end. Like the yoga students in that essay, I’ve been moving thoughtfully through uncertainty, and trying not to fall. It is terrifying and it is heady. Because of that combination, I’m sure it will eventually be good for me.
Nevertheless, I’m here too. I made you chocolate cookies. They’re still warm. Or you can spoon up some homemade peach jam over vanilla gelato, to hold onto summer as I have for the last two nights.
In other writing news, my creative nonfiction essay, “How It Feels To Inherit Camp,” is being republished and anthologized. It appeared in Kartika Review this year. I’m thrilled. And I’ll keep you posted.