Thursday, August 29, 2013

Reading, Writing, and Tuna Noodle Salad

Varda is in a particularly pensive mood; it's raining and that means neither dog is looking forward to wet grass, dripping skies, or giant towel hugs as they eel in the back door. Varda in particular is skilled at escaping the towel and making it to the couch. Right now she could be an illustration for a clever dog in a children's book, watchful and sleepy. She is wavering between the image of the towel and the smell of damp mushrooms as yet undiscovered. The heavier her eyelids grow, the taller the grass becomes and the more enticing the mushrooms.

I am enticed by the idea of first-day-of-school Tuna Noodle Salad, which I tend to make on nostalgic days in honor of my grandmother's friend Aline, who provided me with bowls of it on visits to her house when we were on vacation as kids. Her backyard, visible from the table through the sliding glass door, was a tiny adventure...which seems odd now since it must have dominated by a spinning clothesline and one single large tree. It must have the color of the concrete, the shade, and the sense of getting out from underfoot that provided it with the charm it had. The concrete was the color of the heavy rain clouds outsid and was cool underfoot, even in the heat of summer. Every other stop in Port Arthur was hot--the asphalt motel parking lots, the open driveways and backyards of my cousins, the car as we drifted between all of them--but not Aline's backyard.

That coolness in the midst of heat has become, for me, a good metaphor for what I look for in books. It's what I found in Sabriel, in The Photograph, and in Helen & Troy's Epic Road Quest, all of which are sitting in the Goodreads stack in front of me. The other books in the stack didn't quite form pocket parks for my imagination, either because the story wasn't as well tended (arrrghh Mortal Instruments arrrghh) or because I wasn't a good reader for the subject matter.

It is raining and the couch is warm and well stocked with velvet, snoring dogs. I am full of tuna salad and I am looking for the latch in the glass door.

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