Words are where it's at

Sorry I haven’t written. Which of the following do you suppose I have I been doing instead?

  • Making the world safe for art
  • Making back-room deals with real estate moguls
  • Making out with Stephen Colbert
  • Making meringues
  • Making eyes at famous poets
  • Making fun of jackanapes
  • Making love… out of nothing at all

Just about all of the above, really, except for the meringues. I used to stay up all night making meringues when I was in high school. I was a budding insomniac anyway, especially the night before big tests, and so to entertain myself and wear myself out a bit I would make meringues according to the recipe in my great-grandmother’s 1897 edition of Fanny Farmer’s Cookbook.

It was the kind of cookbook that would instruct you to put another log on the fire halfway through the recipe, so you can bet your embroidered handkerchief it didn’t know from a cuisinart. Those meringues were made by hand-whisking for about 45 minutes until the peaks were nice and stiff and all the delicious, pure white sugar had dissolved into the egg white and cream of tartar.

But no, I haven’t been hand-whisking much of anything lately. Mainly because this whole working for a living thing seems to have cured my insomnia. Odd, that.

I did, however, go and see one of my idols read last night. I actually pulled into the parking lot at the same time as she and her husband did, and would have walked into the place alongside her if I hadn’t been too busy walking reverentially behind her like I was carrying her damn train or something.

I saw my old english teacher standing inside through the large picture windows lining the street, and she waved joyfully at me at I gesticulated wildly at the personage in front of me. It was highly dignified behavior. Afterwards I waited in line for the poet/novelist to sign my copy of her latest book for me, and I do believe that is the very first time I have asked an author to sign anything for me. It was mostly so I could look into her eyes and thank her for writing, but, predictably, I just fluttered and stuttered like a swoony teenager as she asked my name and told me it meant “house” in Hebrew.

Huh? I managed to sqeak out, it means wha?

House, she said, a look of quick concern flitting across her face that perhaps I was less than mentally capable. It means house in Hebrew. You didn’t know that?

No! I lied. Actually, I’ve always known what my name meant. I just hadn’t heard her, and now I was making things worse. Glah.

I did manage to thank her for writing, as her poetry and novels have actually meant a lot to me and many of my friends over the years. I wanted to tell her about first reading one of her poems on the corkboard pinned to the door of my neighbor’s room during my freshman year in college. About how I think about certain lines of her poetry while I garden, while I take walks around salt marshes, when I think about the nature of marriage, and when I sleep with my cat. About how certain lines she has written go through my head like songs, which is what they are, really.

I didn’t say any of that.

But I meant it.

I’ve also been fighting off a nasty cold which is currently lodged firmly in the back of my throat, though it is considering opening up a branch office in my sinuses. Just in time for the weekend. Ah well, I must away to work, whence cometh all good things.

Did I already say jackanapes?

Jackanapes.

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