Having sorted the justified-text bug, I am now on the cusp of uploading new material onto this raw and relatively new site but until then, some Tony Kushner:
His appeal never palls. Assertive, courageous, resourceful, incorruptible, moral, tender and strong, he maintains a hold on the collective unconscious that cannot be exclusively attributed to conditioning. His flaws, too – a temper, perhaps, or impatience – only emphasize his charisma. And, despite our cultural differences, we remain united by our swooning.
WHAT makes a hero? — not success, not fame,
Inebriate merchants, and the loud acclaim
Of glutted Avarice,— caps toss’d up in air,
Or pen of journalist with flourish fair;
Bells peal’d, stars, ribbons, and a titular name —
These, though his rightful tribute, he can spare;
His rightful tribute, not his end or aim,
Or true reward; for never yet did these
Refresh the soul, or set the heart at ease.
What makes a hero?—An heroic mind,
Express’d in action, in endurance prov’d.
And if there be preeminence of right,
Deriv’d through pain well suffer’d, to the height
Of rank heroic, ’t is to bear unmov’d,
Not toil, not risk, not rage of sea or wind,
Not the brute fury of barbarians blind,
But worse—ingratitude and poisonous darts,
Launch’d by the country he had serv’d and lov’d:
This, with a free, unclouded spirit pure,
This, in the strength of silence to endure,
A dignity to noble deeds imparts
Beyond the gauds and trappings of renown;
This is the hero’s complement and crown;
This miss’d, one struggle had been wanting still,
One glorious triumph of the heroic will,
One self-approval in his heart of hearts.
- Sir Henry Taylor (1800–86)
These are my macaroons – baked in cookie, rather than traditional macaroon – shape. And they were, according to Monkey, “super yummy”. Otherwise? I’ve just knocked an interview on the head, am about to file another, and have a book contract to proof. FRANTIC.
After months of barely contained desire, I bought myself a food processor and it’s an awe-inspiring piece of technology. I stared at it in its box for a few days and then, with ceremony, opened the box and, having gingerly set aside the various finger-slicing blades, attempted to set it up. No cigar. Which is when Alex, the resident tech wizard, put the thing together. Gasping with pleasure, I watched as it made almond meal of almonds, cashew meal of cashews, and briskly chopped up dates. Mixing the almond meal with the dates, I fashioned a raw food lemon cheesecake base – thank you, Ani Phyo – and then, finding I didn’t have quite enough cashew meal, compensated with shredded coconut to make the filling (agave nectar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and so on) and it was DELICIOUS. I fed Monkey’s wonderful Seattle-born violin teacher the first slice (before it had set, so it was more like raw food lemon custard), and she, too, gasped with pleasure. And then I served it for dessert, and we all gasped with pleasure – even my salt-and-vinegar-crisp-loving husband, who is ideologically opposed to overtly healthy food. We all had seconds, in order to gasp with pleasure some more. Tart, fresh, textured, and fantastically zingy, it really was a masterpiece of yum.
I made gnocchi for the very first time tonight. Having read various horror stories concerning gnocchi – Stephen King, take note – I approached the task with some trepidation, as culinary horror stories generally hold water. (Anyone for mayonnaise or custard?) But back to the gnocchi. I quickly read a few recipes and winged it. While the potatoes were boiling, I knocked up a rich tomato sauce and had Monkey cut some basil from our little courtyard garden. I then strained, riced, and kneaded the potatoes, and dropped the enormous things – enormous because everyone was, by then, far too hungry for me to fiddle about – into boiling water, praying that they would take, and, to my very great surprise, they did. They were, in fact, completely perfect. Alex and Monkey DEVOURED THEM.
On our way home from Byron last night, I pointed to the line of trees on the horizon. “See the silhouette of the bush against the twilit sky?” I asked Monkey. “Isn’t it beautiful? We should make silhouettes tomorrow.” Once home, she disappeared into her room while I made dinner. And then she put on a show. Having taped two pieces of origami paper to the television, which had been turned on to static (our set is used exclusively as a DVD player), she turned all the lights out, and narrated her story. Mesmerized by the beauty of her theatre, I forgot to listen to the words. All I could do in that moment was see.
I spent the morning making sushi (prawn, salmon, egg) with Monkey. Otherwise? At long last (drumroll), THE SHOP IS UP. Which means that you can buy as many copies of The Eclipse and 3 Weeks in a Television Newsroom as you like. (Need I remind you, the ideal birthday, Christmas, Bar Mitzvah, St. Valentine’s Day, graduation and housewarming gifts?) Which is absolutely glorious, as the designer, application genius and I have worked ourselves into a state of psychosis over a number of weeks fixing the conversion, layout, cover glitches, and so on. (At one point, the text was all listing to the right; at another, great gaps appeared in the text; and at another, the pagination kept changing, meaning that the entire index had to be redone, all of which conspired to make me feel as if my hair were spontaneously departing my scalp.) And yes, The Eclipse has been released on today’s eclipse (lunar, in the constellation of Scorpio), which feels exactly right. The sushi will, of course, be added at a later date.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
- from Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost
I have accepted the offer for my new book. Publication date: March 2014. Wildly excited. This is the year. My little Monkey, this morning: “Mama, this is just so wonderful!”
Who will join me on this journey, I wonder?
It is said that wishes made in a fairy ring under a full moon come true, but do wishes made in a fairy ring a week away from a lunar eclipse come true? I think they must.