Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Blueberries, Apologies, Wistfulness, and Some Satisfaction
Three years ago this fall Papa and I went to a junkyard in Virginia for a different engine to put in his tiny little late-eighties hatchback, which he was giving me for my journey West. Oregon, where I was born, has always been Papa's Promised Land, and he was happy to help me get back there. It took some tinkering, but the little car got me all the way out here, mountains, snow, and attractive midwestern boys notwithstanding. I've been home twice since -- the first time for four days, and the second time just now, for a pinched and stretched little week spent scampering from kin to friends.
It was a magical, dense visit. Everyone back home has settled into gracious old houses, and I happily settled myself in their porches and spare rooms, just parched with longing. I changed clothes several times daily -- tutus in the morning, garden scrubs in the afternoon, floaty porch-sitting dresses for the firefly-and-thunderstorm evenings.
Just before we got in the car to drive to the Greyhound station to fly back to San Francisco, I picked a handful of blueberries and promptly burst into tears. I ate them slowly, saltily, all the way across the Blue Ridge mountains.
But for all my homesickness, I've done pretty well by the West. Just two days ago Ken Albala and I submitted our manuscript to our publisher. Our publisher who is Penguin. Do you hear that? I'm not yet 25 and just finished writing (half) a book and managed to get a real-life agent and editor and publisher. I really have trouble connecting my daily laundry-hanging, yogurt-making, fruit-sorting, babysitting, hill-pedaling life with such things as happen to people in books.
It's a grand book we wrote, but it did leave me pretty quiet on the blogging front. No, much more than grand! The duck confit! The beer made from nothing but raw barley and hops! The miso from koji I cultured myself! And Ken -- such bread! and he cured his own salami and olives!
And the West also found me the very best boy ever, and we do get to be car-free and ride our bikes along craggy coasts, and we live in a soaring Victorian flat, and yes, I've met many dear friends and seen many marvels. But oh, meadows and thunderstorms and deep windowsills in old brick farmhouses.
Well, I'll try to blog a little more regularly now. There is, for instance, this bubbling vat of black-purple blackberry wine in my pantry.