An informal introduction

 

I am not one who naturally shares, though I am one who loves to give. In that, I mean that of the monetary offerings that I may have, if it’d make you happy or bring a smile, you can keep them; the things that are close to my heart, or part of my heart, I’d share if I could, but often can’t.

I am driven to write, in part, because I don’t want to forget and sharing is the byproduct.

You see, your brain dumps trivial information over time to make way for a constant input of data and to clear space for processing. All of your stories and experiences and exposures become your variable: it’s nature and nurture and everything in between.

I do not want to insinuate that I have come to, by way of age, some manner or degree of wisdom; this is something that I have known since I was a girl. It is not lesson, but integral truth: I am appalled by stagnation and driven to experience, and as a consequence, less prone to sadness as it’s often felt within a narrow field of vision. The scope, sometimes, has been pre-determined.

The only time my heart has ever truly broken was for people who I love.

My sister’s voice echoing through the foyer, bouncing up the wooden stairs, “would like like to see my new drawing?”

“Actually, no, not really,” followed a second voice that kind of hung in the air, like a fact that needed checking. A kick to your guts.

In a drawer, in my Mother’s writing, an affirmation of self-worth; a struggle. I read it in her kind voice, folded it, and placed it back. The drawer stuck a little as it shut.

A conversation over lunch plates: hot tea, silverware, and an unsolicited bit of history. “He would have rather died out there than come back. I think he wanted to.” I know that to be true and I know that, if you listen really, really hard you can hear the electricity in a room as opposed to what you’re being told.

There is a spark in some people, and as you float around you light it in others, or they light it in you – it might be small, but it never goes out.

Your heart breaks for people in the dark. A long exhale and short, shallow subsequent breaths; a candle in a vacuum that will never, ever light. The delirium of deprivation.

I want to write because there’s all this sadness, and story, and truth; I want to write because there is, incidentally, laughter.

 

Shit I Found Soup: a philosophy

My first apartment was a third floor walk up in the historic district of a small Virginia port city. On occasion, when I’d walk to work first thing in the morning, the streets hazy and shadowed, I could hear ships in the Elizabeth River sounding their fog horns – it was dreamy.

Also, expensive.

Expense is relative and subject to context and qualifiers, but my pay at aforementioned job covered rent, a few bills, and sometimes some peanut butter. I think that maybe the broke youth can subsist on hopes and dreams and other bullshit – other bullshit loosely defined as bad coffee, rice, and the occasional clove cigarette.

I can recall a Sunday afternoon during fall – a breeze rattling leaves along the sidewalk, sunlight pouring in the large, open windows – and, as charming as all that was in hindsight, I was grappling with the gravity of having mostly bare cupboards and a refrigerator that was full of just refrigerator. And why I always bought oatmeal, but never really liked it. So, I paced around weighing the likelihood of finding change in the cushions or under the car seats, or maybe waiting for the hunger pangs to pass. There was nothing to eat. No change to spend.

There’s always something.

Somethings, actually, and I found them: a carrot in the crisper (wasn’t crisp), an onion in the produce basket (borderline compost bin), partial bag of green beans in the freezer (freezer burnt and solidified), can of tomatoes (dent preventing can opener from opening), a box of jiffy mix (no eggs or milk), a container of grated parmesan (when did I buy this? Can bad cheese smell like good cheese and give you botulism?).

This miscellany could absolutely make way for an improvised minestrone and ghetto focaccia! And because I cannot simply call a recipe a “minestrone-ish bastardization of an Italian classic,” I called it “shit I found soup,” which is way classier.

So, I spent the evening curled up with my cat eating soup that was, quite literally, something pulled from nothing, and sub par focaccia that was more like a parmesan scone brick – and it was amazing. These individual little failures became something much greater and they warmed my chilly bones.

This soup also made tangible an ideology that I’d adhered to, rather subconsciously, for as long as I can remember: every little thing is exactly what you make it. Every situation, everything that is said to you, everywhere and anywhere you find yourself.

Perspective really goes an awfully long way. Misfortune is misadventure if you spin it right. Any disaster is an anecdote if you’re looking hard enough.

Shit I found soup is about finding the punch line, an anecdote, a philosophy and, incidentally, laughter.