Anyone near Grand Rapids on Friday should stop in to the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters who have been kind enough to host we Made-in-Michigan writers from Wayne State University Press. I’ll be sharing the limelight with M.L. Liebler and Zilka Joseph. Great company…
Does life get any better than this?? I don’t think so. Even sick with a cold and stressed to the max, to have the opportunity to share the stage with Jack Driscoll is a once in a lifetime deal. From the time I first read Wanting Only to Be Heard, I was in love with Jack’s words. The evening was incredible at Peter White Library in Marquette, Michigan. Music and food and good talk about the writing life. For anyone who doesn’t know, he has a new book coming out this spring from Wayne State University. Don’t miss it.
Something from my Woodfire Diaries here shortly…
Any one close should come and experience an evening with Jack Driscoll. It’s something you won’t forget — this night has music and refreshments, but you don’t need any of that if you get to hear Jack–
That day arrived a week or so ago when you know it’s no longer summer; school started at Northern a couple weeks ago and my two Composition classes seem excellent — good to be back after a year away from teaching; the fall harvest and canning has begun — a tomato harvest unprecedented for me here in the U.P.; the hummingbirds have flown south while the ravens and osprey circle in flocks I’ve never seen here at camp.
My father had a TIA the evening of Labor Day.
His function has returned, but the tests ensue to determine if he should have surgery on a 60%+ occluded carotid artery. His Lions are not helping his blood pressure as at this writing the Colts have pulled within 3 after a very good Lions first half.
And with all that, food seems to dominate my thoughts as I endeavor to get back into writing my memoir. A few paragraphs from it:
In the Introduction to my Larousse Gastronomique (which professes itself “the World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia”), it refers to the history of gastronomy as “the story of those who took part in its evolution and [who are] responsible for establishing what is, in effect, one of the cornerstones of civilization. Gastronomy reflects society, and studying [it] provides a glimpse of the history of society itself.” Gastronomy, it goes on to say, “is not static. Like music and the visual arts, it has never ceased to evolve.”
So this memoir revolves around food. The things we did to one another, the tragedies and failures of our lives, the successes, such as they were, revolved around the things we ate. Food kept us together, but maybe as important, the particular likes and ways in which we ate this food and drank our libations — the style each of us chose to prepare food for one another –also set us apart as individuals. It revealed us to one another sometimes in ways we regretted, revealed character in the same way someone’s character is revealed in how they play a poker hand, or the choices they make in appearance—or the music they are drawn to. However, food’s influence and tendency to reveal character is greater than in any other aspect because one can choose to not play poker, listen to music, engage in sexual activities, or even wear clothes … but one cannot choose not to eat.
We weren’t, you know, any of us in my family, responsible for “establishing the cornerstones of civilization” in relation to the culinary arts or otherwise, but it is true that food and drink not only reflected who we were, but, for better or worse, influenced and informed who we became.
Who knows why the pictures suddenly got smaller, but at any rate, you may be surprised to know that you can drag a gas grill behind your RV for several miles, then run over it with that same RV in the campground and still grill chicken breasts on it… Now that is some good manufacturing.
Well, I will have to wait for my friend Charmaine to send me some decent pictures of our trip west since my husband Dick cannot be accused of good photography. Still, the Badlands are pretty and that’s a pretty silly picture of my jeep parked amongst the 600,000 motorcyles that shared our trip west on their way to the Sturgis, South Dakota rally. We’d have to wait forever to pull out, squeeze in between the hogs (not the animals, the cycles). Mostly they were nice but once they yelled at us to get out of their way as we were driving Needles Highway in the Black Hills. I seem to have no pictures of that at all and impossible to describe the needle-like mountain passes and the strange formations that appeared like melting ice cream, so will likely have to do another post to show them and will hope some of the pictures even contain people. But the trip was lovely and it was fabulous to spend time with our dear friends Larry and Charmaine Howell who we don’t see often enough as they moved to Alabama years ago.
There were no lightning storms in the Badlands this trip west, but we had a fabulous sunset and moon over the desert, the absence of trees allowing us to see the moon set over the horizon, something we never seem to be aware of in Michigan. We saw moose, prairie dogs, deer, antelope, longhorn sheep, wild burros, feral horses. No snakes. The campgrounds were all lovely except for the KOA (don’t stay there unless you have to do your laundry), the National Parks fabulous. Teddy Roosevelt National Park was one I had not visited and the “other” Badlands there were beautiful. Little Big Horn and Crazy Horse Monument were moving.
We played many games of euchre, we four, sitting around our camp tables, though I never got my campfire– mostly due to the restrictions in the Badlands and the rainstorm in the Black Hills, but I’m not complaining. Other than to say the trip was too short…
Cool website in California reposted my Stateside Review. I lived in Newport Beach, California for four years in my twenties. Still miss that food….