Six sentences for Sunday, March 16:
Your mother kept the house, and for the rest of July and August there was always a small crowd of trucks – carpenters, painters – parked in front of your house, always the sound of buzzing and hammering coming from inside. I peered through our curtains, speculating, making up stories to report back to you.
Plumber’s van parked out front 3rd day in a row, I wrote. Possibly CIA surveillance? I felt this was preferable to the real news I could have given you from home. Otherwise, I would’ve had to tell you that I spent most of my time reading everything the library had on code breaking, which wasn’t much, that watching reruns of Get Smart and The Avengers without you next to me on the couch to roll your eyes at Steed wasn’t nearly as much fun.
Six sentences for Sunday, March 9th:
You were Alfa, I was Whiskey. Your Watson, your Moneypenney, I was.
You appeared to me in a dream the other day, unchanged, the very picture of a femme fatale. You said, •••• • •—•• •—•• ———, •—— •••• •• ••• —•— • —•——, as if you’d never left. It seemed to take forever for your message to come through, but when it was complete, I just sat there, my pencil poised above the paper, unmoving. Was it that I couldn’t decipher the code, or that I didn’t want to?
Tonight, let me dissolve into a fug of incompetence, feminist indignation and adoration of Helen Oyeyemi.
Re: the last, an interview with the Guardian:
Do you prefer to write about women?
I sometimes get asked: “How come the men in your stories don’t have such strong characters?” And I’m like: “I don’t care.” I just want to find out about all the different lives a woman can live. But my feminism has never been against men. It’s not erasure; it’s just they’re not the focus. In real life, they’re quite nice.
Six slightly-belated sentences for Sunday, March 2:
The public library in town was one of our only concessions to civilization. I can’t imagine what the librarians thought when we wandered in to return our books, our hair snarled, our clothes rimed with dirt. We must have looked almost feral.
I don’t remember what our parents had to say about our defection into the woods. I remember dad catching me up on my way out the door and kissing the top of my head and calling me ‘beast.’ That was his nickname for me in those days, his wild girl.
An only slightly belated six sentences for Sunday, February 23:
Here, the rain comes in when it storms. The wind plays what remains of the palace like a flute. The weeds creep across the broken marble courtyards and climb up over the statues there, small birds roost in the rafters and little unseen creatures – rats? raccoons? – make nests in the walls, shredding old draperies and books for their beds.
Some might look on this as a tragedy. They might mourn the mildewed portraits in the great hall and the dead leaves that drift in through the broken windows of the ballroom. But to the little maid in her white apron and cap, it is an inconvenience first.
It’s been a very baking-centric fortnight for me.
During the snowstorm last week, I baked three types of brownies, including a version of Alice Medrich’s cocoa brownies. I frequently wind up wanting to bake when I have no chocolate in the house, and cocoa brownies are a delicious solution to that problem — and these brownies were especially delicious.
Then I made a flourless beet chocolate cake as a sort of belated Valentine’s Day celebration. This was ridiculously rich, some unholy hybrid of mousse and fudge — which is to say, as tasty as it was, I don’t think I’d make it again unless I had about a dozen people to share it with.
And this evening, I made flourless Nutella cookies. I didn’t have quite enough Nutella, so I made up the difference with peanut butter, which I have to say was an excellent choice. And, then, in case that wasn’t rich enough, I topped them off with the same chocolate topping I used for the chocolate beet cake. It’s a kind of poor man’s ganache, made in the microwave, and it’s the best luck I’ve had with ganache, which I always kind kinda tricky for some reason. So that one’s definitely a keeper.
And in case you’re worried about my blood sugar after reading all this, don’t worry: I did share — some.
Six sentences for Sunday, February 16:
I was fully twenty-five when we were married and already long acquainted with the silences of empty rooms. In the passing of solitary hours I was well-versed. I sometimes think that’s why he chose me. He imagined that, spinster that I was, I must have learned the trick of loneliness – its mystery, as the secrets of any trade are called. He thought I could be left and returned to with ease. That I would keep.