Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Scavenging Mothers

I am my mother’s daughter and she is her mother’s daughter and since Grandma was a young mother of the depression, we don’t waste food.  My grandma’s initials were H.G.D. and she once told me, while eating my sandwich scraps over the kitchen sink, that this stood for “human garbage disposal.”  My mother declared it was a sin, to waste food, even though I doubt even she, in her pro-Catholic days, ever confessed as much behind a screen.  So, I blame my behavior on genetics.  Possibly environment.  In any case, I am not completely responsible for my actions, especially concerning almost-wasted food.  Case in point:  today, I finally broke down and ate the organic spinach tofu wrap my visiting daughter forced into the shopping cart (and then forgot about in the freezer) a full year ago.  I microwaved it, took a nose-wrinkling bite, covered it with salsa and proceeded unhappily until my plate was clean.  Unpleasant lunch #8546, known to scavenging mothers everywhere.  Future year-old frozen organic spinach tofu wraps need not apply.  I must learn to draw the line somewhere.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Desert-Island Book

I’m often asked (by students, new acquaintances, dentists with their hands in my mouth), “What’s your favorite book?”  Asking a writer and an English professor that question is akin to asking a chef what her favorite food is.  The answer:  it depends.  Like epicureans with food, readers have many favorites.  A better question, I think, is “Which book would you love to have with you if you were marooned on a desert-island?”  Now, notwithstanding books like “How to Get Rescued from a Desert Island A.S.A.P.,” I’d don’t blink when I answer the desert-island question.  Jane Eyre.  Yes, that’s right.  I wouldn’t take Ulysses (how depressing not to be able to understand it after five, ten, fifteen years!) nor The Bible (perhaps for the same reason as Ulysses), but Jane, oh, yes, Jane.  I’ve read Charlotte Brontë’s wonder many times and have taught it over and over.  I always dive deeper into my favorite parts and am continually amazed to find sections I had forgotten about or had mentally sashayed through before.  Besides, if I were stranded on a desert island, I’d be able to draw on Jane’s survival techniques – forcing myself to eat rancid butter or pig slop, if necessary.  Oh, wait – there might not be butter or slop to be found underneath tropical bushes or amid sandy dunes.  The dash with logic, then – I just love the book.

What's your desert-island book?  Why?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Who is Fanny Fern?

Good question!  Fanny Fern was the most popular, highest paid, most published writer of her era (1850s-1870s).  She outsold Harriet Beecher Stowe, won the respect of Nathaniel Hawthorne and served as literary mentor to Walt Whitman.  She scrabbled in the depths of poverty before her meteoric rise to fame and fortune.  She was widowed, escaped an abusive second marriage, penned one of the country’s first pre-nuptial agreements, married a third man eleven years her junior, and served as a 19th-century “Oprah” to her hundreds of thousands of fans.  Fanny Fern’s weekly editorials in the pages of The New York Ledger over a period of about twenty years helped to chronicle the myriad of controversial issues of her era while her autobiographically-based novels were runaway bestsellers.

Hello, World!

Welcome (Mom, and anyone else) to my blog.  I hope to use these posts to write about writing, to muse about life, to give some book recommendations, and, of course, to op-ed about my literary love – Fanny Fern.  Let me know what you think.  Let me know how you feel.  And, while you’re at it, I am on the hunt for the world’s best apple pie recipe.  So, go ahead and leave that, too, if you are a sharer. 

A toast <glasses clinking> to this beginning!  (Please have some champagne or herbal tea or water from the plant-watering-can now.  Thank you – I feel your support!)

My first Fanny Fern wowza for you:  Fanny Fern is credited with the saying, “The Way to a Man’s Heart is through his stomach.”